Letters: Latest in a line of disaster projects

WHILE I can understand the reasoning in these financially straitened times behind your editorial admonition (News, 9 July) that any cross-Forth ferry "must only happen if the project can attract enough passengers to work without money from the public purse", it has to be said that this doesn't apply to the other modes - road and rail - by which folk cross the Firth.

Indeed, whilst rail is at least reasonably environmentally friendly, the Scottish Government is intent on spending over 2 billion on a new and unnecessary road bridge which will, if and when it opens, attract 40 per cent more traffic over it than is the case with the existing crossing.

Perhaps if the News is worried about the public purse, it ought to challenge the idea of a new bridge paid for out of general taxation before it gets too bothered about a far smaller sum which might be required for a ferry.

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Lawrence Marshall, Chair, ForthRight Alliance, Rose Street, Edinburgh

Latest in a line of disaster projects

Your article "Bridge repair is ruled out" (News, 10 July) states that the Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has ruled out repairing the existing bridge because it would have "severe" economic implications.

The recent Scottish Parliamentary inquiry into the second Forth crossing heard that building a new bridge, in particular the interchange section north of the bridge, would result in severe disruption to traffic over a three-year period, roughly the same period for severe disruption that the FETA report predicted for cable replacement on the existing bridge.

Not surprisingly, though, Transport Scotland and its consultants valued the economic impact of these closures at a fraction of the FETA report for what will be a very similar disruption.

In any case Mr Stevenson should wake up and smell the coffee; there is no money left to build his vanity project.

The French have successfully re-cabled two of their suspension bridges without excessive lane closures or damaging their economy.

The cost of replacing the cables according to the report is less than 200 million against a base price of 2.4 billion and with inflation, the new bridge may well end up over 4bn for effectively the same facility.

Here comes the next parliament building, the next Edinburgh trams and the inevitable public inquiry.

Do politicians ever learn?

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John R T Carson BSc CEng FICE FCIHT, Kirkliston Road, South Queensferry

Crumbs from the rich men's tables

YOUR reporter does not press Graeme Bell, of the Chamber of Commerce, (News, 9 July) as to what he means by "The economy is a trickle down thing".

This is a favourite canard of the Right.

"Trickle down" is an economic theory, not a fact. It is a component of the disastrous neo-liberal economic experiment visited upon this country since 1979. It's been a roaring success, hasn't it?

What Mr Bell is actually saying is that a minority have made themselves rich through the hard work of the majority, but the majority should be humbly grateful for the crumbs which the minority magnanimously sweep from their table.

David Millar, Tytler Gardens, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh

Thanks to police for quick action

The other day, the mobile phone I was using was violently snatched from my hand while I was walking alone through the Murrayfield area of town.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the police who responded quickly and not only put my mind at ease but through their great efforts apprehended the culprit (despite the fact that I hadn't even seen his face) and recovered my phone.

I would also like to thank the anonymous member of the public who, through their contact with the police, aided in this successful resolution. It is encouraging to see the lengths the police are going to to tackle the problem of antisocial behaviour in our community.

Name and address supplied.