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!
January 2005 - Still Waiting For The Money
Since the DfT announced approval for Merseytram Line One in December, the Government have been ominously silent about the promised £170 million funding. Am I being overly pessimistic or does this suggest that they are not going to pay up? Without this money, the scheme - even with half of the city centre loop cut out - is dead.
29th May 2004 - Public Enquiry Completed
So, what did we learn from four weeks of hearings? I did not manage to attend, so I can only go by what was published in the media, from which I would say we didn't learn anything. Merseytravel promised that the trams will be built on time and will be wonderful; bus operator Glenvale disagreed. As Mandy Rice-Davies might have said "Well they would, wouldn't they?" Meanwhile Liverpool Council nit-picked and fiddled as only they can, before finally withdrawing their objections.
Now we have to wait until August to find out what the inspector thought of it all.
13th February 2004 - A Question Of Priorities
The collapse of talks between Liverpool Council and Merseytravel has put the whole Merseytram project under threat. It would seem that the Council do not wish to risk having an unfinished system when the visitors for Capital of Culture 2008 arrive - but having no system is apparently perfectly acceptable.
It is very disappointing, but perhaps not very surprising, that the Council is putting the interests of a few art critics, junketing eurocrats and tourists above the transport needs of local people.
A similar attitude does not seem to apply to other big projects, with the Fourth Grace scheduled for completion in March 2008, followed by the Grosvenor development in June 2008.
4th February 2004 - Is it all over?
I learned today that Merseytram has postponed the bidding process so that the final bids can be for constructing both lines 1 and 2.
The Government have already stated that there will be no funding for new tram projects, so it would seem that we are unlikely to get any money for line 2.
So, what are Merseytram playing at? Maybe they believe funding for line 2 will be forthcoming and are hoping to save some money by putting both lines into one contract. Or perhaps they think the project is doomed and want to make sure they can say it failed because the Government wouldn't put up the money. I reckon it's the latter - let's hope I'm wrong.
Even if I am wrong, this delay must surely ruin any chance of the system opening in time for 2008.