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All Aboard The Edinburgh Tram Gravy Train: Taxpayers Fund Lawyers And Bonuses

AS Scotland cheers for independence, Richard North looks at the Edinburgh tram system that is costing British taxpayers lots and lots of money to build and will cost millions more to run. Nrok looked at the looming mess back in 2009:

Part of the attempt to brighten up and rejuvenate the old grey lady of the north was to put a brand-spanking-new tram system through the centre of Edinburgh.

For months the good burghers and bailees of the Scottish Capital have put up with appalling hold-ups and traffic tailbacks. Scenes equivalent to Bangkok (in happy/rush hour while armed Thai police quell anti-government riots) are common. The City is regularly brought to a gridlocked standstill. (Photo: City Engineers were particularly helpful to commuters with this sign which was spotted on day two of the Princes Street closure.)

SO, what are we to do with the news that the cost of the Edinburgh tram system is now going top £1 billion, by the time it is complete – if it ever is – more than double the starting estimate?

Originally, it was intended to run for twelve miles from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven via central Edinburgh, including a stretch on Princes Street. The 23 stops on the route were to be served by a fleet of 27 low-floor trams. Now there is doubt that it will do even that.

However, even a truncated scheme will cost £773 million – £273 million more than the budget for the entire project – and the limited service then offered would not be viable. It would need a subsidy of some £4m a year: there is no prospect that the short route would ever make a profit. And scrapping the whole scheme entirely would still end up costing £750 million.

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Posted: 27th, June 2011 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment (1)