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An Awesome Foursome of Tram success??


It's often the case that in Regional media stories about the tram the interesting parts are not in the headline, or intro praragraphs, but are buried a little more deeply within the story.

In this latest one the 'awesome foursome' of tram project achievements 'returning to glory' the city aren't that interesting, given that any project, however badly managed will eventually reach some kind of completion (especially if £231Million gets chucked at it).

Two contributions shed a bit more light on things than the rewritten Press release sections of the story.

One from Joanna Mowat, a long serving councillor on the Transport and Environment committee, and before that the TI&E committee, revealed she hasn't any idea how traffic will be managed post tram around the crucial Haymarket-Shandwick Place area, long identified, because of it's former busyness, complexity and the further need to accomodate more traffic light intervals, for the tram, as a major concern.

That this is the case ten years after planning first began on the project is ...well, lets just say 'surprising'.

If she doesn't know then one presumes her Committee Convenor, Lesley Hinds, doesn't know either.

Which means either nobody knows, which is worrying, or only the 'faceless bureaucrats', to use Lelsy hind's phrase for the people who have 'run the project for too long' must know, and they're still not telling the elected representatives---which is even more worrying.

The second contribution is from the Green party's Cllr. Steve Burgess and worth quoting in full,::


Green group leader Councillor Steve Burgess said: “The problem is originally the system was going to be much larger and at much less cost.

“Yes, in principle I’m supportive of having trams in Edinburgh. I just wish that it was going to be not just what we see as an airport link.

“The usefulness of that to people of the city is questionable whereas the original scheme was to have at least to the airport and then that linked up by Granton to Haymarket and then there was talk of even a third tram line towards the Royal Infirmary.

“We just wish that it was a system that met the needs of residents and also that wasn’t over budget by half as much again. We have to remember the history of this thing.”

We have criticised the Greens for supporting this project, often apparently simply because it is called a 'Tram' ----- without (we feel) looking at the realities of the effects it is creating for the people who live in the city, and will create for decades ahead.  

Indeed we have crticised all the political parties for their inability to provide any coherent opposition to the project at all---thus leaving opposition to come from outside the political structure. 

For this reason Councillor Burgess' contribution is welcome as a sign that the 'one party othodoxy'  on this project is perhaps beginning to change.

It needs to. because the original project master document (Stag 2003) showed that the problems with the project do not end on the day the first tram passenger boards the first tram; some of the most difficult to solve problems only just begin on that day.

Unless  facts are faced,  the woeful history of 'this thing' (as Cllr Burgess calls it) to date will merely be the prologue for even worse.

Councillor Burgess's contribution is important because until the facts of the problems facing the city are recognised they can't be faced up to, let alone solved.  If the Greens can look beyond  'the label' at the realities beneath then perhaps others can start to do so as well.