NOTTINGHAM'S TRAM extension took a step forward this week after transport secretary Douglas Alexander approved the scheme and announced that the government will put up £437M in funding.
Nottingham Express Transit (NET) Phase Two will extend the network to areas south and west of Nottingham, doubling the number of stops and the size of the tram fleet.
Fears were raised for the scheme after costs soared from £220M to £578M.
Concern about cost increases on light rail schemes prompted the government to cap its contribution at £437M in private finance initiative credits.
Promoter Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council must find the remaining £141M.
This could come from:
sale of council-owned land,
cash from reserves and capital budgets
deductions from future Local Transport Plan allocations
Other government funding sources
the city council's proposed workplace parking levy.
The councils must also win planning permission for the scheme under the Transport & Works Act. This can only be granted after a public inquiry, likely to take place at the end of 2007.
The councils will also have to submit detailed construction design information to the Department for Transport and provide detail procurement costs.
If planning permission is granted and if construction, design and procurement costs are approved, work could start in early 2010 with trams running by 2013.
'We are still at an early stage in the approval process, but we will continue to work with the Nottingham authorities so they can deliver a tram that is attractive to passengers and value for money for the taxpayer, ' said Alexander.