Ian Gray no more money for Edinburgh tram scheme.


Ian Gray yesterday pledged not to pledge any more money for the Edinburgh trams scheme. Apparently labour who failed to make the business case when they initiated the tram scheme has decided to wash their hands of any responsibility and to blame the SNP Liberal Democrat coalition that now runs Edinburgh City Council. The walking charisma bypass Mr Gray appears to have decided that in order for the Labour Party to avoid taking the highway at the next Holyrood elections they will adopt the transport strategy of a new Forth Road Bridge and the fast train link to Glasgow airport. He has as usual failed to identify how this new Labour Party policy will be funded let alone publish the business case to justify it. It is in fact looking very like the SNP transport policy and is perhaps a move with an eye to the future where the possibility of coalition looms large at Holyrood.

Gordon Mackenzie the Edinburgh council’s transport manager believes that the tram scheme can be delivered ‘ within the current funding envelope’ the realisation that there is 100 million funding gap may require not so much a larger envelope, as a larger packing case and crane to move the required millions into Bilfingers coffers.

The tracks are laid in Princes Street, certainly the one street in Edinburgh that requires no more transportation as every bus route converges on it. Do we now except that the trams are going to be a Princes Street tourist attraction and perhaps regret that the money wasn’t spent on the world’s longest rollercoaster ride for which we could have charged £10 and possibly made this fiasco pay for itself. This solution would have sat nicely with the clowns who populate the circus that is Edinburgh City Council.

While it would be nice to know where to apportion blame the secrecy surrounding the dealings of TIE is likely to continue. It appears to be acceptable to the great and the good that the spending of public monies does not come with accountability. Nice work if you can get it and don’t expect to be better informed come October as both sides will be so busy apportioning blame to the other it is likely that the decisions will be made without the need to explain to the paying public the whys and wherefores.

As previously predicted the Edinburgh city appendages of Leith and New Haven are unlikely to see a tram on tracks, I think we will have to be satisfied with the mock-ups deposited at Ocean terminal and the Kirkgate. We will once again become an important part of Edinburgh city when the bill has to be paid, although many of the businesses that have lost a small fortune in the north of Edinburgh may feel they have already contributed more than their fair share.

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