For those of you who don't know about the Edinburgh tram saga, here is a brief history. In 2004 the Scottish Parliament passed a Bill for two tram lines, one to Edinburgh airport, through Edinburgh. The SNP were always against this proposal as they felt the money could be better spent on other projects throughout Scotland and when they became the government in 2007 they offered alternatives to the Parliament and Alex Salmond also promised a full review of the scheme.
Meanwhile the building work continued and by this time the two lines had been reduced to one and £79m had already been spent on the project.
In June 2007 the SNP government declared they would continue to oppose the trams and the rail link to Edinburgh airport but at a vote in the Parliament the unionist parties united and defeated the government. The vote in favour was 81 to 47 and following the vote the Scottish government declared that they would support the scheme but they would not foot the bill for any extra cash should it be needed. The total cost was estimated to be £498m - £47m less than the £545m available (£500m from the Scottish government and £45m from Edinburgh council).
Engineering work, diverting electricity, gas and water supplies before the tram tracks were laid, began in July 2007.
Since then the price has increased, the project brief altered to omit part of line one and the centre of Edinburgh has become a building site. Lengthy delays caused Princes Street to be closed for months and extra money had to be spent re-opening it during August for the Festival visitors.
On 20 June this year the Edinburgh Evening News stated: 'If nothing can be done to catch up, the Edinburgh trams are not expected to start operating until Spring 2012 and are very unlikely to be delivered within their £545m budget'.
The latest news from the tram saga is that water bills are set to rise for customers across Scotland because of Edinburgh's tram project. There will be a hike in prices for the next five years to help pay for work being carried out by Scottish Water on Princes Street to divert underground pipes.
The Water Industry Commission for Scotland today said it was "unfair" that "unexpected" additional costs were being picked up by the public and not by the tram project. It seems Scottish Water have decided to replace pipes during their divertion works with the excuse they were in a worse condition than anticipated.
MSP for the Lothians Shirley-Anne Somerville, an outspoken tram critic, said: "This is another additional cost of the tram project that people have not been aware of in the past. What else is still out there that we don't know about?
"People in Edinburgh and across Scotland will be angry about potential rises in water bills for a project that is so unpopular in the city."
I have only met one person who is in favour of trams in Edinburgh and her reason was because she lived at the terminus and worked at a bank which was served by the line.
What a cheek to expect people, most who will never see a tram far less ride in one, to cough up towards the cost. Edinburgers who wanted this line should pay for it themselves. They are acting like Londoners who arrogantly expect the rest of Britain to pay for their fancies - one example being the Dome.
For those interested in Edinburgh trams there are a few sites around but this one was my main source. Calum Cashley has followed this project closely and also has some excellent posts.