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Leeds slashes risk in fight to save Supertram


PROMOTERS OF the Leeds Supertram said this week they were working on a radical shake up of risks on the project in a bid to slash the estimated £500M budget by £100M.

They will also propose the axing 7km of the 28km scheme to generate another £150M of savings.

Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Passenger Transit Authority hope the move will persuade the government to reverse its decision to withdraw funding.

They will officially present the plan to transport secretary Alistair Darling in three weeks.

'Originally the two consortia were bidding to design, build, maintain and operate the scheme for 30 years, ' said a West Yorkshire Transport Authority spokesman.

'This meant that they had to anticipate 30 years worth of risks to do with operation, ' he said.

'Rather than make them a certainty in the contract, the bid would be to design, build and maintain the tram with the operational risk shared between the bidder, the city (of Leeds) and the Department for Transport. This would be reviewed every five years, ' he said.

Proposals include the city and the DfT sharing the risk of making up shortfalls in ticket revenue, a similar idea to that adopted by Manchester's Metrolink extension (News last week).

The Leeds scheme was officially axed by Darling in July along with those in Manchester and Portsmouth.

Backers of the Leeds tram scheme have been working on a cost cutting plan ever since concerns about cost overruns first surfaced in January.

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