Trams extension ‘too expensive’ and a ‘huge mistake’

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party press office

Thursday, November 19, 2015

FAO: all newsdesks

Embargo: for immediate release

The Scottish Conservatives have blasted other parties on Edinburgh City Council who today decided in principle to extend the Capital’s tram project to Newhaven.

Despite the controversy surrounding the initial phase of the work and the huge public scepticism, every party except the Conservatives voted in favour of the proposals presented by the council administration.

It will cost at least £162 million and take up to six years to complete, while there could be a negative impact on the city’s Lothian Buses service.

The Conservative group’s transport spokesman warned it would cost too much, and that projected costs were already rising.

He added that the city council was not well placed to take on the work given the chaos of the original scheme, adding that it was a mistake to do anything before the findings of the current trams inquiry were published.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman on Edinburgh City Council, Nick Cook, said:

“Conservative councillors have consistently led opposition to the proposals presented to extend the tram line – we did so again today.

“The proposals are too expensive and projected costs are already rising. This is a huge mistake.

“They are based on an extremely high level of assumption and are estimated to take a staggering six years to complete.

“As an organisation, Edinburgh City Council is not well-placed to deliver a project of this scale.

“It has repeatedly refused to take the decisions needed to get its finances in good order and is in the midst of significant restructuring.

“There is the issue too that the trams inquiry remains in its early stages – it is essential this is allowed to report back and that lessons are learned from the original project.”

Ends

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