EDINBURGH'S TRAM developer this week denied claims that project costs had soared and confirmed details of a scheme re-scope.
It said that additional funds had been made available from the Scottish Executive and Edinburgh City Council, allowing it to start construction on two lines simultaneously.
Initial plans involved building the two lines consecutively. The project is being promoted by Tie, which was set up by Edinburgh City Council.
In the first phase it will build 50% of Line One, which runs around the city centre, and 80% of Line Two, which runs from the city to the airport.
'We have actually secured more funding and can build more in phase one than originally anticipated, ' said Tie project director Alec Macaulay.
'Building these sections links the major centres of demand for the lines, creating better value for money early on in the scheme.' More funding was made available for the project after the Scottish Executive agreed to index link its original £375M contribution, bringing the total to £490M. Edinburgh City Council also agreed to invest £45M.
'The underlying scheme costs have been stable. The base costs have not moved, ' said Macaulay.
Overall scheme costs have risen from £437M in 2001, to £714M today. But this is due to inflation and the inclusion of an £80M contingency called optimism bias - an amount included in the project budget for possible cost overruns, said Macaulay.
A requirement to include a sum for optimism bias was introduced by the Treasury in April 2003.