Letter: Trams follow UK's overpricing trend

Graham McLeod (Letters, 4 November) suggests that the contractors probably underbid to get the tram contract. When Melbourne can build 3km of tramline for £13.5 billion I doubt that.

The problem is that British public work projects routinely cost 13 times what they do elsewhere in the world and no politician is willing to say a word in opposition or even explanation.

Although the contractor has come in for public criticism - to which it is unable to reply because TIE wrote a gagging clause into the contract - it is a matter of record that under mandatory mediation, TIE was found to be responsible for 90 per cent of the cost overruns.

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I agree with Mr Inglis's admirable listing of conditions to be satisfied before undertaking expensive projects (Letters, same day) but would like to see a thorough regulatory stable-cleaning to allow them to be done at the same sort of costs that the rest of the world manages.

Neil Craig

Woodlands Road


Can anyone answer what seems to be a constantly recurring question: why, whenever the public sector undertakes a project, as sure as night follows day does it end in an over-budget shambles?

There never seems to be a referral to previous disasters, just in case something from that experience may benefit future planning.

No, they repeat the same mistakes, signing costly, binding contracts, it would appear, without either the skill or the wit to really understand the true implications of their actions.

For this sort of performance in the private sector, the responsible parties, every last one of them, would have been fired.

Keith Nairn-Munro

Forthview Walk

Tranent, East Lothian

Whatever the outcome of the "hell on wheels" trams project, (your report, 3 November), Lothian Buses must not suffer. That company provides excellent services with skilled drivers who are patient and helpful to their customers.

Councillors will not be forgiven if they attempt to meet the cost overrun on the trams by adopting proposals that would reduce Lothian Buses' services or raid their finances. If they do, they will face another hell on wheels - at the polls.

Ronnie Cramond

Oswald Road


One should judge aspiring leaders by their track record. And it was none other than Iain Gray, then transport minister, in March 2003, who first committed 375 million of taxpayers' money to Edinburgh City Council to build tramlines to serve the north and west of the city with the first "to be running by 2009".

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Mr Gray also said the money would pay for "at least the North Edinburgh Loop".

Should anyone in Edinburgh now trust him with Scotland's finances?

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road