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Liverpool juggles cash to fill Merseytram funding gap

NEWS

LOCAL AUTHORITIES on Merseyside were this week exploring ways of saving Liverpool's troubled Merseytram project by switching regeneration cash into the scheme.

Council leaders were looking at the availability of funds from locally held regeneration budgets and from the European Union's Objective One budget for reviving deprived regions.

Merseyside's ransport bosses were shocked last week when transport secretary Alistair Darling refused to increase the government commitment of £170M, originally made in 2002.

Passenger transport executive Merseytravel said that £204M was needed from government to deliver the troubled light rail scheme.

Last week, local government offi als on Merseyside held urgent meetings to discuss ways of boosting local contribution to the project.

Liverpool City Council cabinet member for regeneration Peter Millea said: 'We are doing everything humanly possible on a Merseyside-wide basis to put forward a fi nancial package.' In the meantime, Merseytravel personnel are still lobbying the Department of Transport in London.

Millea said: 'If we are still round the table, it shows there's still something to be discussed.' A Merseytravel spokesman added that a speedy resolution is necessary so that the project can be ready by 2008, when Liverpool is European Capital of Culture.

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