Huw has written to Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb to ask whether the electrification of the rail network to Swansea will be delayed, following the shock news of rising costs for the project.
The powerful Public Accounts Select Committee in parliament was told on Wednesday 21st October that the estimated costs for the project had risen from £874m to £1.5Bn, and that there was now no form completion date even though it was originally scheduled to be completed by 2018.
Philip Rutnam, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport told the committee “It is clearly highly likely that there will be delays against that schedule and I’m afraid I’m not in a position at the moment to give you a new schedule.” The Secretary of State for Wales has added that completion dates were now depending on a review of affordability by Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy.
Huw said “The rising cost projections are clearly unacceptable, and the UK government need to get a grip on this. Talk of possible delays contrast with the bold words from the government before the election that electrifying the Great Western line was a “top priority”. I am worried that UK Ministers are already losing control of this project, to the detriment of the people and economy of South Wales.”