With the crucial Council meeting tomorrow (Thursday 30th June) on Edinburgh's Trams the members of the Council are still in the utterly ridiculous situation where they are being denied the facts on which to make a decision concerning what is probably the most complex engineering project in the United Kingdom at this time. Unless they sign a confidentiality agreement they are barred from seeing the figures behind the recommendations - and these figures are so distorted that they have provoked an outcry right across the city.
Furthermore the Council Environment Department has refused to divulge the figures for pollution for the last six months when they were releasing them previously. One must ask, "what do they have to hide?"
The figures obviously cannot support the case for the diversion of traffic from the main roads to residential areas, otherwise they would be out in the public domain. If pollution levels do rise sharply - and the evidence is that they are - then the city could be facing a mountain of claims for causing ill-health which will go on for many, many years.
Sadly no one believes the Council any more since so many sets of erroneous figures have been produced over the years that anything the Council says is treated with unbounded scepticism.
There is every chance that they will make the wrong decision which will bankrupt the city and leave it with unending debts for years to come.
What a sorry mess to leave behind from what should have been a potentially positive scheme.
The councillors should refuse to sign, they a have statutory right to see all information needed to make a decision. Sue Bruce is totally out of order in her approach, she forgets that it she who works for the councillors not the other way round.
I believe that Sue Bruce is behind these grossly adjusted costs in the report, she wants the reputation of sorting out the trams. That's all we need another person who wants to spend our money to protect or promote there reputation. This has been the downfall of this project in the past with Mackenzie and Dawe leading the charge.
The cost to termniate is £150m too much, the Haymarket price is inflated by £100m and the St Andrew Square price of £770 is atleast £100m understated. The contractor has given Tie a termination price withing the £545m, a fixed price to Haymarket of around £600m and a target price which is clearly not fixed in the region of £700-720m. This price does not include any service diversions or the delays involved in dealing with them. There are 300 fibre optic cable, Tie have no idea of how to deal with them, they estimate that Shandwick Place will have to close for 18 months but it could be considerably longer. These cables belong to numerous disparate telecom companies, they are protected by law with no obligation to divert them and only they can do so.
There are numerous other services still to be diverted, I suspect Haymarket is still incomplete, there are no service diversions done in N and S St Andrew Street, nor the Square, nor that part of Princes Street without rails. I believe Tie also want to terminate at York Place at £70m per kilometre
These service like the others already diverted will add eronmously to the £700-720 m price offered.If you add in the yet undeclared intension of going to York Place you could be looking at a cost of approaching £1.0 Billion.
Let's face it nobody believes the figures they have been given--not the people of Edinburgh and not the councillors either.
They can troop in and out being given these figures in a different way each time, and the 'basis' upon which they have been built, but the fact is they no longer believe their own officials are acting impartially.
If the people producing the advice themselves already believe that come what may the way forward MUST include the tram---as presently designed ... then what faith can there ever be in the impartiality of reports supposedly presenting other ways forward as realistic alternatives.
Really this is the core of the problem now the people we elect to do their best for the city no longer believe what they are being told by the small circle of senior managers and officials supposedly offering impartial advice upon which the best decsions can be made.
This goes far beyond differences of opinion and fact that may well exists, indeed do exist, over both the costs as presented and the pollution data now being actively suppressed. It shows how this project has itself now become a toxic baccillus rotting the whole fabric of the Body Politic in Edinburgh
Well we have the decision that we could have expected given the blatent distortion of costs presented to the council and the determination to hide the truth.
Of course no one in the council wants to admit that the tram project managed by TIE was doomed to failure, the business case has been over stated and costs and management of the scheme have been bungled beyond belief. Far better to get something from the disasterous situation than admit to total incompetance and defeat so we are stuck with a white or should that be a green elephant that the people of Edinburgh will be paying for for years to come.
Far too many councillors and Transport department officials have had their snouts in the TIE trough to allow any objective appraisal of the scheme. Do they really expect the people of Edinburgh to believe that the cost to scrap the scheme would be greater than partial completion. That is simply not credible.
Roll on the Public enquiry and let us hope that those to blame for this fiasco are brought to book and that TIE is disolved before it can do any more damage to Edinburgh. We need the lies and deceptions used to veil this fiasco to be removed once and for all.