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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
£1.2m a year North-South air subisdy is ‘financial outrage’ claim critics

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/nor...nancial-outrage-claim-critics-55578-27765588/
quote
Dec 4 2010 by Tom Bodden, Daily Post
THE rising subsidy to maintain the Anglesey to Cardiff air service came under fire from opponents yesterday.
The Welsh Assembly Government announced that the support for the route run by Manx2.com would increase from £800,000 to £1.2m a year for four years.
But Clwyd West Tory AM Darren Millar protested that the money could be better spent on road and rail transport.
The weekday flights have been nicknamed ‘Ieuan Air’ by critics because they link deputy first minister and Ynys Môn AM Ieuan Wyn Jones’ constituency with the capital.
Mr Millar said: “Ieuan Air is now costing taxpayers over £3,000 a day. Enough is enough.
“Despite the continued cost and criticism, the Deputy First Minister continues to open the national wallet for this service, without properly exploring the alternatives.”
He suggested North South air links could be operated on a smaller subsidy, possibly from Liverpool to Cardiff.
“We should also be looking at extra rail investment to shorten journey times between the North and South.
“Ieuan Air clearly needs an urgent rethink and other options should be given careful consideration.”
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Jenny Randerson condemned the decision of the Labour-Plaid Assembly government to renew the subsidy as an ‘environmental and financial outrage’.
She said: “At a time when families and business are cutting back, it beggars belief that the Labour-Plaid government can waste another £4.8m of taxpayers’ money subsidising the Ieuan Air air link. It is an environmental and financial outrage.
“This controversial air link not only pumps thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere but has already cost the Welsh taxpayer £3.2m in subsidy. The renewal sees the subsidy rocket from £800,000 a year to £1.2m a year and will take the total bill to £8m.
“The decision to sign a contract that binds a future Assembly government for the next four years is simply scandalous and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will now look to see what can be done to ensure a future government is free to scrap this wasteful and polluting subsidy.”
Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “We have been determined to maintain this important connection which has proved very popular with passengers and has contributed to linking up the country with both social and economic benefits.”

One has to wonder who likes this service - certainly anybody in government or who has regular dealings with the Assembly and is resident in the north will do - but is it sustainable in the long term? Could this money not be diverted to the much talked about but little acted upon upgrading the Chester Saltney Wrexham line so that trains from Holyhead to Cardiff could make the trip connecting up the major Welsh border towns on thew way to Cardiff. After that the funds could be used to electrify Wrexham to Chester to enable the latter to enjoy links to London, the North Wales Coast Line and then Wrexham, Shrewsbury, Oxley and on to Birmingham. The Welsh Assembly needs to ensure that the newly converted bi-modal Voyagers are allocated to these services in the interim - before other avoricious eyes are cast on them. I appreciate that the air subsidy won't match the capital costs of the rail improvements, (especially with Network Rail,doing the costing) but over time the subsidy per passenger head on thge air route will just get bigger and bigger - the question is which is the best way of spending the money. Why not let Wales decide?
 

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Arriva Train Wales got £114.6m in subsidies in 2009. I doubt they'd even notice if they got an extra £1.6m if the airlink was scrapped.

This is a big political argument (Tories vs Plaid) and not really a transport one.
 

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How many yards of railway will you electrify for £1.2 million?

In any case, the railway capital budget is not devolved, it's Westminster's job.
it costs £800,000 per mile in the south east of england due to our insane need for network rail to compensate the franchises if the trains aren't running - even though they benefit from the upgrades! if you do it on less busy lines it's cheaper. £8 million = 10 miles at least if it is intercity. putting that in perspective, all the stations and railway in cardiff is 20 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How many yards of railway will you electrify for £1.2 million?

In any case, the railway capital budget is not devolved, it's Westminster's job.
Bearing in mind that I am talking £1.2m per year and rising. I was not thinking of electrification at the Cardiff end. I was thinking of the electrification of the line from Chester to Wrexham (coupled with the already planned and presumably funded upgrade) - if the insertion of a pantograph car goes ahead on the the Voyagers - why not split a 12 car from Euston into two 6 car sets at Chester with one proceeding as a diesel to Holyhead and the second proceeding to Wrexham - roughly in the way TPE combines and splits trains at Preston. The next electrification step would be Wrexham to Shrewsbury - together with English wires from Oxley. After that proceed in incremental steps eliminating as much diesel under the wires as possible in each new link.

The railway capital budget is not devolved - yes - but it should be. Under the new franchising regime this could well come to pass.

As to all the assembly members and civil servants flying from Rhoose to Valley - Wales should become the leading country in the world to master teleconferencing - who says face to face is always necessary
 
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