Thursday, 11 December 2008

Trams on track ... to break the bank

The new heid honcho at the Tram project, David MacKay has admitted that the budget for line 1a is a ba on the slates, as I have been saying.

I was much exercised by the quote:
"I take the view that one should be looking at a range of numbers. I have no fixation in my mind about one certain number. There will be further amendments, inevitably, as we get closer to the end of the project. I would love to think the cost could go down, but one has to be realistic. We never started with a fixed budget, because the design changes as you go along."

I've been saying that for ages! £750 million is about where it would come in - except there's no more Government cash (no, not even for the £50 million they want to run a business case for line 3), and there's no way this can go down as prudential borrowing. Who thinks that the tram lines will finish half-way up Leith Walk?

You won't hear it yet, even if you submit an FOI request they'll tell you that the figures aren't final yet, but I'd give you odds that the utilities diversions have eaten into the contingency quite severely. Fixed cost contract - except for where they found unexpected things (pipes in strange places, cables where they shouldn't be, etc) and the utilities companies were called in. They managed to cut through utilities and disturb the foundations of buildings, and they found lots of stuff underground in Leith Walk that they weren't expecting.

They'd spent a third of the budget before any construction started, as well. Trams? Broke.

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