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Liverpool and Hampshire tram schemes axed

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES reacted with fury this week after the Department for Transport once again swung its axe over light rail and cancelled schemes in Liverpool and South Hampshire.

Transport secretary Derek Twigg said that neither scheme would go ahead after failing to tackle escalating costs.

'On 13 June this year I said that the £170M government funding that had originally been approved for Mersey am remained available if the scheme could be delivered at that cost.

'Unfortunately the required assurances have not been forthcoming, ' said Twigg.

It is understood that arguments between the five local authorities involved in the scheme prevented agreement about who would pay for cost overruns (NCE 23 June).

Liverpool City Council acting leader Paul Clien said: 'Liverpool City Council has backed Line 1 to the hilt. We were fully committed to the scheme and are bitterly disappointed that it will not now happen, ' he said.

In South Hampshire Twigg said that the planned line linking Fareham with Gosport and Portsmouth was still 50% more expensive than the £212M originally estimated.

'I am devastated to hear of this news, ' said Hampshire County Council leader Ken Thorber.

'We are now trying to understand the government's figures.

'We think that the government is simply using inflation, much of which was caused by its delays, to justify dropping the project on the grounds of cost, ' he said.

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