Newslinks | 24th August 2007

Metronet

New York based magazine, City Journal, carries an expertly written account of the Metronet debacle:

The failure of the Tube deal highlights the immutable fact that the public sector can never rid itself of the risks that taxpayers assume on infrastructure projects. A private-sector firm is only as resourceful as its shareholders and lenders allow it to be, and it can walk away from an investment at any time—sometimes at a loss, to be sure. Indeed, part of the magic of our capitalist system is that if companies run into trouble, they can declare bankruptcy, discharge or restructure their obligations, and then start over. British taxpayers, on the other hand, cannot walk away from the Tube, and are responsible not only for the public sector’s mistakes but also, ultimately, for the most catastrophic private-sector errors.

Meanwhile, the FT carries a story regarding the impact of the proposed strike by Metronet workers.

Tube Safety

Contract Journal reports that concrete lining fell from the roof just outside Whitechapel station yesterday, crippling the District and Hammersmith & City lines during the rush hour.

LondonUnlocked hopes that, following the failure of Metronet, and with incidents such as this too common, that the first priority of a new Mayor will be to instigate a full and opensafety review of the transport network.