Innovative ideas for new funding models
In my regional paper, the EDP, I wrote today about how we must not let a crisis go to waste. By that I mean that challenges often lead to radical innovation and we cannot afford this reforming opportunity to pass us by.
In the piece, I use the example of my home county, Norfolk, to highlight the need for improved infrastructure to unlock our science and innovation potential for regional and national growth. Norfolk has excellence in key sectors like food, energy, biomedicine and high performance engineering, but is sadly held back from trying to build a 21st century economy by its frankly 19th infrastructure. I fear other parts of the UK are just the same.
So the challenge is that we desperately need rail and track upgrades to connect our science ‘clusters’ across the UK, like Norwich and Cambridge in my region, but the Government, despite its commitment to infrastructure as a priority, simply doesn’t have the money to upgrade everywhere.
What I then put to you is why don’t we think creatively and come up with innovative new funding models?
In my article I propose a Regional Rail Company, linking development with infrastructure, bringing track and train under one roof, and funded through local pensions whereby rail users and the taxpayers of East Anglia can have a stake in it. In fact as with most things it’s not even that new an idea. The Victorians had a similar model which helped them build the thousands of miles of railway we have today.
So this week as the Government has published its response to the McNulty Review of our rail, I’m calling for fresh thinking to unlock new investment and leading the charge for a bold new approach.
I hope you get the chance to take a look over the piece, you can view it in the 'Libraries' tab on this blog, or go directly to the link here: http://www.georgefreeman.co.uk/pdf/An-East-Anglian-rail-company.pdf