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Trams still viable, says local transport minister

New tram lines could still be constructed in this country if capital costs can be reduced, local transport minister Norman Baker said today as he published a new report on light rail.

Despite cost overruns on the Edinburgh Tram, the latest Department for Transport (DfT) study, titled Green Light for Light Rail, found that trams have the potential to provide high capacity transport in and around major conurbations.

However, high building costs mean that even where passenger forecasts may justify tram line construction, light rail has often not been seen as an affordable option for local transport authorities. The DfT will now hold a series of summits in the light rail sector to agree a sector-led implementation plan to bring down costs.

Recommendations from the review for local authorities and industry include:

  • To implement a new project design of light rail systems which is uniform across the industry
  • To look at lower cost schemes overseas to see whether they could be adopted in this country
  • To set up a “centre of procurement excellence” to advise on the best procurement options

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