Magazine article Public Finance

PAC Warns of Overstated Eurostar Forecasts

Magazine article Public Finance

PAC Warns of Overstated Eurostar Forecasts

Article excerpt

The Commons' Public Accounts Committee this week warned that taxpayers' money could still be called on to plug financial gaps in the construction of the prestigious Channel Tunnel Rail Link because of train operator Eurostar's inaccurate passenger forecasts.

Although revenues from Eurostar UK have increased, they remain below forecast levels, and it is likely that the Department for Transport will have to lend more than the currently estimated £260m to contractor London & Continental Railways to cover future cash shortfalls.

PAC chair Edward Leigh said: 'The Channel Tunnel Rail Link is undoubtedly a magnificent project and a boost to our national prestige, but the economic justification for it remains marginal.

'The link has been bedevilled from the outset by inaccurate forecasting of the number of passengers likely to use Eurostar and the amount of revenue this would generate. …

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