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03 November 2005




End of the line for Leeds Supertram

  The Government has announced that it will not be supporting proposals to re-instate the Leeds Supertram scheme put forward by West Yorkshire PTE following the withdrawal of funding for the tram proposal in July 2004.

In a statement, Alistair Darling, Transport Secretary said: "I withdrew funding for Leeds Supertram in July 2004 because the costs of the scheme had escalated considerably.

"It is clear that the tram scheme is still very expensive and the costs remain much higher than originally planned. Latest proposals show the costs are nearly 40% higher than originally planned.

"The value today is £486m - compared with the approved figure in 2001 of £355 million."

Mr Darling explained that, in cash terms, the cost to Government had almost doubled, from £664 million to £1.3 billion, over the 40-year financing period.

"The new proposal is also for a reduced scheme in which greater risks are borne by the public sector.

"Clearly it does not represent the best value for money for the people of Leeds or the best use of public money - particularly when compared to the alternative proposals put forward by West Yorkshire PTE for top of the range rapid bus scheme.

"Such a scheme would involve superior quality vehicles, high frequency services and some dedicated busways to ensure efficient journey times.

"A recent review by consultants Atkins suggests that such a scheme could deliver majority of the benefits of the tram at only half the cost.

"This would deliver significant transport benefits locally and be an opportunity for Leeds to develop a first of its kind, showcase bus system that could lead the way for other cities.

"My Department will continue to work constructively with West Yorkshire PTE, and I am very keen to pursue this top of the range rapid bus scheme with them.

Mr Darling added that while he understood the support for the tram he couldn't approve schemes at any cost.

"I want to be clear - money will be available for good schemes where they are the best solution and where costs are under control. This year we are spending £156 million in the region - more than double what was spent in 2000."

However, a furious Metro Chairman Cllr Karam Hussain responded to the news by  by saying,

“This is a disgraceful decision which reflects the Government’s lack of any clear policy on transport or on the development of the cities and regions outside London and the south east."

The Concervative Shadow Transport Secretary Alan Duncan said:

"The Leeds Supertram scheme has finally hit the buffers but not before millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has been spent on it by the Government.

"The Department for Transport says it wants to deliver light rail solutions to cities across the country but Manchester has already had it's expansion effectively cancelled and now Leeds is going to miss out altogether.

"The Government has wasted four years and millions of pounds. The people in West Yorkshire deserve better.

So now it looks like all the hard work and money invested so far in the Supertram project for Leeds will sadly have been for nothing.




    More than £40million has been spent on the project so far  

The supertram dream for Leeds started back in 1991


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