Edinburgh Council’s SNP group are set to try again to ditch the city’s troubled trams project.
Searching questions have been asked by the group over the future funding of the trams. SNP councillors have been told that it would cost more to cancel the project than to complete it – figures of a final cost of £800 million to cancel and £700 million to proceed have been mentioned, and the group is seriously querying these estimates.
The first project estimate was £375 million, later increased to £545 million, of which £440 million has already been spent. The first trams were supposed to run in February, but massive construction problems have led to the proposed network being cut to a single line due to open next year.
Trams company TiE and the construction consortium BSC are still disputing several issues. Newsnetscotland.com has learned that an expert mediator, Michael Shane, spent “more than 100 hours,” according to a council source, in trying to bring the two sides together. An agreement is expected.
A senior Scottish Government source has confirmed to newsnetscotland.com today that there is “no prospect” of any further funding on top of the £500 million grant which was opposed by the SNP and voted through Parliament by the other parties.
The extra £200 million or £300 million will need to be borrowed by the council and come out of its funds if the severely truncated project is to be completed.