Wednesday, 30 September 2009



Commenting on reports from sources close to the tram project that the scheme could end up being between £100 million and £200 million over budget and not be completed until 2013, Lothians MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

'This project was never going to be delivered on time or on budget. The business case never did stack up. That is why the SNP voted against it in the Scottish Parliament and within City of Edinburgh Council.
" With over 400 potential disputes yet to be resolved, it's clear why TIE can't give a firm answer on costs and timelines. They have promised councillors that they will have a better idea in January 2010 but with so many disputes still outstanding it is difficult to see how they can deliver.

" In the meantime the council are being asked to write a blank cheque for this project at the very time when financial resources are under pressure.

"With years of construction still to run I do fear that what we know to date is the tip of a financial iceberg. It's time that the MSPs and councillors who voted through this project take some responsibility for their decision. The Scottish Government has made plain that they will not put a penny more towards completion. It is up to those who insisted we press ahead with this ill-thought out scheme to say where the money is going to come from and to admit that to the people of Edinburgh.

"My main concern is that public services in Edinburgh don't suffer as a result. We need a cast-iron guarantee that no money will be diverted from schools and frontline services to pay for trams."

"Glasgow should also look to Edinburgh and learn from this city's mistake. The other political parties seem content to vote through large transport projects even when there are warning signs about soaring budgets before the work has begun. They did so for the trams and now they want to do the same thing with GARL.

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