Letters: Tram funds won't even get the project to Haymarket

Your article "Hate to say we told you so" (News, December 11) rightly highlights the dubious information coming from TIE and Edinburgh City Council with regard to the tram project.

The much hyped "Revised Business Plan (RBP)" is confusing in that most of it is written around the benefits of a completed Phase 1a. It has redacted cost and revenue tables for both scenarios; it comments that the foreshortened tram line will be in profit after the first year.

This should be taken with a large pinch of salt. The costs are stated in the 2007 final business case; the revenue can be extrapolated to show that there is next to no drop-off in patronage if the line terminates at St Andrew Square. The original Final Business Case had the patronage figures, TIE should disclose these current ones to prove its claims.

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The RBP raises the dispute with the contractors; dispute has now been prefixed by the word "commercial", and the report no long exclusively blames the contractor, deciding instead to list design changes as the cause of the increased costs.

It also highlights that the on-street utilities are far from complete. A real rib-tickler is that TIE has decided to apply lessons learnt on Princes Street to these remaining sections.

The report makes mention of a benefit cost ratio of 1.77 which was done for the whole of phase 1a and in a time where there were plans for substantial developments at Leith, Granton and Newhaven.

It seeks to reassure the reader that even if the price increases by 25 per cent the ratio is still above one. But the cost has doubled, and if this is applied to their heavily massaged ratio, the figure is well below one, with the corresponding conclusion that the project should be abandoned.

There is no mention of the 29m contribution from Forth Port Authorities, is this still forthcoming?

As your article alludes to, Councillor Mackenzie has doubts about the cost and getting beyond Haymarket. These could easily be removed if TIE published the estimates it demanded from its contractors for terminating at Haymarket and St Andrew Square.

My information tells me these estimates prove conclusively that 545 million will not even get the project to Haymarket.

John R T Carson, Kirkliston Road, South Queensferry

We are better off without council

AFTER reading "Dig it yourself" (News, December 10) all I can say is save a fortune and fire all the useless upper echelons of the council.

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So we dig ourselves out. We empty our own bins. Mine have not been emptied for three weeks! Nor has the area been gritted.

We get the trams running ourselves because they never will! What a total waste of time and money they are.

Thanks for nothing, Edinburgh City Council

Jef Urquhart, Chesser Loan, Edinburgh

Not one politician could have coped

CHRISTMAS came early for the Tory, Lib Dem and Labour parties last week, with an opportunity to bash the SNP Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson after the snow storm.

But did any of them say how they would have handled the situation? Not really, it was all criticism and none of it constructive. When the worst snow storm in decades hits the Central Belt it doesn't matter how much warning you have, you either stay put or take your chances.

There isn't a politician alive who could have prevented the disruption that took place.

Gordon Wright, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh

Pooch poo on the path is snow joke

IN Elphinstone, dog owners have stopped being careful since the snow arrived. Many owners seem to think as the snow melts the poo will magically disappear, but it does not.

Our once clean village is now disgusting, all pavements and paths are covered with dog poo. There is no excuse as it is easier to pick up from snow than a tarmac surface.

R Phillips, Duries Park, Elphinstone, East Lothian