Friday, 4 February 2011
Edinburgh's White Elephant
The Edinburgh tram project is once more in the news. Audit Scotland reports the company constructing the controversial tram line is at risk of lacking the skills and experience to finish the project. I do wish they would tell us something we don't know.
The city-council owned developer TIE's chairman stepped down with immediate effect in November branding parts of the project "hell on wheels". A new chairman was selected last week. Is it any wonder? 99% of the infrastructure construction works should have been completed by the end of last year. In reality the figure was about 28%.
Audit Scotland also said that 74% of the available funding had been spent by the end of December 2010.
Mediation talks are due to take place soon but Edinburghers - and those from further afield - know that there's been far too much talk and not enough action. Talk, in this type of situation, isn't cheap.
Audit Scotland say the project cannot be completed within the present budget. They say TIE isn't up to the job. What is the agenda here? Does the council want rid of TIE? Is TIE's continual bleating about the incompetence of the council an excuse for more money?
Whatever it is, for the next few generations this one tram line through a small part of the city will be Edinburgh's white elephant. I certainly agree with Audit Scotland insofar as they suggest the Scottish government should now intervene and knock some heads together to ensure one of these gliding feats of engineering decorates the once-upon-a-time delightful Princes Street.