Call to ditch Edinburgh tram project

Image caption,
The tram project is already well over budget

A Lothians MSP has said Edinburgh should consider scrapping its over-budget trams programme.

Independent MSP Margo Macdonald said she believed it could be time to call a halt on the project amid reports its £545m budget will be exceeded.

The call comes after it emerged on Friday that Edinburgh City Council is drawing up plans to borrow another £55m to help fund the scheme.

It is also considering replacing current contractor Bilfinger Berger.

Ms Macdonald told BBC Scotland: "Because of the economic downturn, lots of big projects are being closed down.

"I think we wouldn't lose as much face as was once feared if we had to say that we have spent too much on the trams and we will have too much to spend in the future before they would make any money for us.

"I think we might conceivably see the project come to an end."

Major problems

A report, due to go before councillors in Edinburgh next week, will confirm that tram bosses are discussing whether to end their contract with Bilfinger Berger.

The tram project is already behind schedule and over budget.

The report says there are still major problems, most notably the dispute with the German firm.

Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh's transport convener said the final cost of the project depended on the details of any separation from the contractor.

He has also claimed that it was still possible for a "properly performing" contractor to finish the project by the end of 2012.

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