The argument has been going around for years that for some reason the costs of the trams will over run. People bandy about the figure of £1billion.
The SNP, arch opponents of the tram system clearly fell for this, using it as an excuse to scrap the whole project. To give a veneer to their opposition, they commissioned Audit Scotland to look at the tram project (and the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link) to assess the finances. Read about that decision on the BBC. Strange how they didn’t commission similar reports into the projects that they supported, such as the M74 and the Aberdeen Western By-pass, and how they scrapped tolls on the Forth Bridge without looking at the cost implications.
As widely anticipated, Audit Scotland’s report gave the tram project a healthy bill of health. It is coming on on time and on budget.
The whole report can be found here. The bit about trams starts on page 10.
If you want to just read the press release outlining the main findings, click here.
But the main findings were:
• The current anticipated final cost of Phase 1 in its entirety is £593.8 million and estimated project costs have
been subjected to robust testing.
• The Scottish Executive has committed to provide up to £500 million for Phase 1a of the project and City of
Edinburgh Council a further £45 million. Funding for Phase 1b has yet to be confirmed.
• A total of £79 million was spent on the project up to the end of May 2007, which includes £17 million to take
the project through the parliamentary process.
• Some slippage in the project has occurred but transport initiatives edinburgh (tie) is taking action aimed at
ensuring that Phase 1a can be operational by early 2011.
• Arrangements in place to manage the project include a clear corporate governance structure, well defined
project management and organisation, sound financial management and reporting, good risk management
procedures, and a procurement strategy aimed at minimising risk and delivering successful project
This is all fairly conclusive. The SNP now have no reason to cancel the trams. They commissioned the report, they have to accept its findings. Fore more about tram costs, read this.
Shame about EARL though…….