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Edinburgh tram project on track for phase one nancing

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BACKERS OF the Edinburgh tram project are next week expecting to secure funding of £592M for the first phase of the project after handing over the final business plan today.

Edinburgh Council will meet next week to decide whether the gures are realistic and, consequently, whether to release the cash.

Funding for the scheme is split between the Scottish Executive at £500M and Edinburgh Council at £45M, with the remaining £47M coming from developers.

Delivery body Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) head of trams Susan Clark said the group was 'very condent.

'We have put together a strong case. The only price not back from the market is the infrastructure price, ' she said.

Operation, design, construction, utilities diversion and rolling stock contracts are being procured as separate deals. This has enabled Tie to maintain control of the scheme rather than following the PFI route as used in Nottingham and Manchester.

In the past using PFI for trams has forced the private sector to carry the revenue risk, with underperforming schemes a source of concern among private sector firms.

Proponents of axed schemes, such as Leeds, Liverpool and Hampshire blamed this for cost escalations as banks pushed up interest rates to cover revenue uncertainty.

Halcrow and Parsons Brinkerhoff are the designers.

The operating contract was awarded to Transdev, and Alfred McAlpine will begin utilities diversion in the spring. The infrastructure construction contract is out to tender.

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