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Light rail potential lost by funding process

ICE news

MODERN LIGHT rail schemes are still not being properly embraced in the UK as cities fail to appreciate how new technology can deliver affordable and sustainable public transport.

'We are so far behind the rest of Europe that it will take decades to catch up, ' light rail consultant Tony Young told the ICE transport board meeting in Belfast.

Despite several high profile new schemes in Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham, Young said that it still takes too long for the UK to plan and raise finance for these public transport schemes. As a result they are often discounted as a serious public transport alternative to buses.

'A major difference between the UK and the rest of Europe is that virtually all European projects are funded wholly by the public sector, ' he said. 'Procurement in most cases is by conventional contracts and PFI is not used. As a result some projects have been implemented in much shorter timescales - and perhaps at lower cost - than in the UK.'

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