Leader: Private finance for trams is worth considering

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A WAY must be found to ensure that, so to speak, the end of the line for Edinburgh's troubled trams project is not Haymarket Station. Stopping the service there would, as we have said, leave in place something akin to a very expensive fairground ride. The line must be taken at least to the east end of Princes Street, allowing it to serve businesses, tourism and some of the capital's long-suffering citizens.

So the suggestion the trams enterprise might be turned into a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project as a way of securing the additional funding to run to the city centre is one which deserves serious consideration. Councillors yesterday revealed that "substantially more" than 600 million will be needed to build a truncated line. PFI might be the method by which extra money is delivered.

However, the system has a chequered history. Some schemes have been expensive in terms of the yearly payments required to pay back the capital expended up front, others better managed and so better value. If the council does opt for PFI it must set it up in a way which raises the money but does not leave council taxpayers with huge debts to pay over many years. But after this debacle what guarantee would there be there would be no more nasty surprises?