Letter: Called to account

Before pontificating about the greater skills and presumably higher salaries needed within Tie (your report, 3 February), Audit Scotland needs to review the "refreshed" business case for Edinburgh's tram project.

This makes it painfully clear that: 1, nothing can be completed without a lot more money; and 2, there is no extra money.

The business case has been described as "robust", but it has at least two fatal weakness, which any competent auditor should have spotted.

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Firstly, it emphasises time and again that tram passenger numbers will only generate a profit if the service is "integrated" with Lothian Buses, which has a near-monopoly in Edinburgh. So when they say "integrated", they mean "does not have to compete with buses". How robust is that?

Secondly, it overlooks the cost to Edinburgh of the continuing unnecessary chaos on the roads. The cost of delays to buses, cars and commercial vehicles is massive and quantifiable - typically two to four times the construction cost of a project like this. This latter omission is the root cause of the current paralysis; it apparently costs nothing to leave Shandwick Place blocked, the Gogar roundabout strangled, and so on.

What we need now is a team to tidy the place up, sell off any assets and deal with the legal fall-out. The skills required are very different from the ones implied by Audit Scotland, but thankfully won't cost as much.


Craigmount Avenue North


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