Tram project down to its last £20million with a year still to go


New Edinburgh tram due to be unveiled tomorrow on Princes Street.TRAM bosses have revealed they are down to their last £20m with a year still to go to finish the controversial project.

Latest accounts show £756m has already been spent on the scheme since it began in 2009, leaving just £19.3m in the coffers.

The biggest fees included £230m on contractors, £86m on management and a massive £3.5m on advertising and PR – with “just” £62m was spent on the actual trams.

Critics said the project had already taken “far too long” and warned the £776m budget may not be enough to finish the project by next summer’s deadline.

The financial figures were revealed in a report by Edinburgh City Council chief executive Sue Bruce.



Of the total costs £230m (32%) was spent on contractor costs with a further £116m spent on “off-street infrastructure”.

Other astronomical fees include £86.1m on project management and staff, £85.7m on “utilities” and £62m on the design, construction and delivery of the trams.

“On-street infrastructure” accounted for £38.5m with land and property costs reaching a total of £34.7m.

Further design fees totalled £26.7m along with £7.4m on legal bills and £8.8m on “readiness for operations” such as installing ticket-issuing machines and training drivers.

The official figures reveal that chiefs have already spent £728m of the £742m “base budget”.

There was also a second “contingency fund” of £34m set aside for added costs but only £5.3m of this remains.

Simon Johnston, editor of Tramways and Urban Transit magazine, said it should be possible for bosses to complete the job with £20m as the highest expenses are now out the way.

He said: “Quite possibly, completing the rest has already taken into account with money that’s already been spent or allocated.”



Michael Apter, chairman of Edinburgh’s West End Association, said: “It’s taken far too long – we need to move on as quickly as possible and remind people that we have got a beautiful city that we’re privileged to live and work in.”

Edinburgh City Council said the only remaining work that needs to be carried out is the installation of underground and overhead cables.

Transport convenor Lesley Hinds said: “I’m pleased to report that by June much of the road and track work will be complete.

“This means we can push on with a significant programme of work to install overhead and underground cables.

“The project remains in line with the revised budget and many sections are now ahead of schedule.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown added: “I hope the local business community can now plan ahead with confidence and also look forward to seeing further evidence of key aspects of the project coming to fruition over the coming months.

“While the project has caused disruption their patience is at long last starting to pay off.”

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