This is the part of mersey-tram.com where I am allowed to express my opinions, pass on
unsubstantiated rumours and generally editorialise. After all, what is the point of running a web site if you can't use it
as a soapbox?
You have been warned!
30th November 2005 - The End
So it's all over. A disaster for Liverpool which only serves to strengthen our reputation as a second class city, and condemns our pedestrians to many more years of inconvenient road crossings and pollution-filled air.
Who is to blame for this loss? The immediate cause must be the Labour Government's unwillingness to spend any money on transport projects outside the M25, since London won the 2012 Olympics. Their raising of ever-more-difficult hurdles culminating in a requirement which it would be illegal for Liverpool Council to meet was a shabby dishonest way of killing a project they had no intention of paying for.
However, we must look deeper to find the true culprits in this loss for the City. The finger points firmly at the officials and elected representatives at Liverpool City Council. If the Council had been solidly behind Merseytram from the beginning it would be half-built by now, with most of the £170 million of funding already contracted or spent. Instead, everything has been delayed while the Council fiddled, objected, and argued, before finally coming up with a grudging support for the project only this year.
22nd October 2005 - Still Dragging On
Did I really write "last ditch" back in July? Here we are in October and the project is still stalled, but not quite dead yet. Merseytravel have arranged a £40 million loan from tunnel revenues to help resolve the funding shortfall, and hopes are high that Liverpool and Knowsley councils will agree a £25 million contingency fund soon. Meanwhile 2008 gets closer and closer.
I notice that, as I write, the "Latest News" on the official web site is dated 27 June.
13th July 2005 - Together At Last
This week's news reports that Merseyside's local authorities are, at last, standing together in a last ditch campaign to save Merseytram. I can't help thinking that if the project had had their support two years ago construction would be well under way by now.
Instead, however, Liverpool Council have, for reasons which are not clear, fiddled, prevaricated and generally sabotaged the project from the start. It is only the realisation that they will be blamed for £200m of funding going elsewhere that has brought them to their senses. Let's hope it's not too late.
22nd April 2005 - "Get Stuffed", Says Councillor
They're at it again: Three Lib-Dem councillors have submitted a motion calling for Liverpool City Council to refuse to sell off any part of Botanic Park to Merseytram. Options for the route of Line Two call for the trams to run through parts of the park. "We are saying that is not acceptable - frankly they can get stuffed," said Councillor Frank Doran, obviously a student of the Prescott School Of Political Oratory.
Why are Liverpool's Lib-Dems trying to sabotage our tram system? Because they can, perhaps.
Is this the same Liverpool Council that has approved the construction of an enormous football stadium on a local park when there are plenty of suitable brown-field sites available? No protection of green spaces there!