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Edinburgh slashes tram plans as costs rocket

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EDINBURGH CITY council was expected to confirm today a massive scaling back of its planned tram network because of soaring costs.

Only one of the three lines is now expected to be built before 2010.

The surviving line will be the 16km route linking Leith and the city centre with the airport.

Most of a proposed northerly loop from Princes Street to Granton and Leith is to be shelved along with a spur from the airport to Newbridge.

Costs for the two lines have soared from £473M in 2001 to £634M today.

The Scottish Executive is expected to provide £490M and the council is finding £45M from taxes on developers, leaving the council with a £99M funding shortfall.

Council officials believe that the core link to the airport can be built for £484M. A £75M spur between Princes Street and Granton Square will be added only if the first phase is built to budget.

Councillors were to vote on the proposal today although the outcome is not expected to affect the progress of enabling legislation, currently working its way through the Scottish Parliament.

Council executive member for transport Andrew Burns said that the new plans would ensure that the main thoroughfares in key employment and development areas between the west of the city and Leith are served.

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