This myth is kind of true, but not really.
To see this in context, we need to compare the tram project to the M74 (as an example).
For the M74, the Executive said “go away and build a motorway, don’t worry about how much it will cost”. For the trams, they said “here is £500 million, go away and build a tram network. If it costs more than that, tough cookies”.
Very much double standards for the tram project.
The entire costs of building lines 1 and 2 (excluding the extension to Newbridge) is about £650m. However, unlike for other transport projects where there is no limit on how much can be spent, the Executive has given the council a fixed amount of £500m. The council itself has put in £45m (much of this has come from developers as planning gain).
This means that there is currently only a budget of £545m. So at the present time only one section of the 2 routes is being built. They have chosen to build in the first instance only the route that is predicted to be the most heavily used, ie. on the currently very congested route that roughly mirrors the number 22 route.
Just as soon as more funds are available, the rest of the network will be built.
This sounds sensible to me.
Ironically, the same people who go on about it being a tramLINE and not a network are often the same ones who scream about costs spiralling out of control.
The truth is, the council are only building what they can afford to at the moment.