Plans originally floated in 2007 to sell the UK’s US$8.4bn construction cost Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS 1) will be put into action this summer after the HS 1 this week invited banks to provide financing to facilitate the sale, which is worth a reported US$2.9bn. The sale is expected to be complete within 12 months with proceeds used to start up a ‘green investment bank’ that will be used to invest purely in the low carbon sector.
Owners, London & Continental Railways (LCR) and the Department for Transport are looking to distribute a sales document before the 22nd June’s emergency budget.
As LCR is government owned the US$2.9bn will be a very small start in their attempt to claw back the UK’s US$242bn debt.
Are you registered for BTS 2018
Potential buyers include Channel Tunnel operator, Groupe Eurotunnel, SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, and Network Rail, which owns most of Britain’s rail infrastructure and will see HS1 as a gap in its portfolio.
Director-general of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Tom Foulkes, said in the UK press: “A £2bn (US$2.9bn) green investment bank (GIB) is certainly a good start. We have been calling for new thinking on how to unlock the long-term sources of funding needed to finance infrastructure for some time.
“However, as Infrastructure UK has acknowledged, the UK will need to invest £40bn to £50bn (US$58bn – US$72bn) per annum in infrastructure, so, with a starting fund of only £2bn (US$2.9bn), clearly there is some way to go.”