Nothing short of embarrassing Sturgeon mocked as SNP plan destroyed after ferry fiasco

Nicola Sturgeon brutally skewered over '£250M' blunder

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SNP councillors are planning to push ahead with the scheme – should they come out on top in next month’slocal elections – that would include an upcoming manifesto commitment to develop two new extensions of the existing line. One would head northwards from the centre of Edinburgh to Granton and the second will initially lead south-east towards the Royal Infirmary and the BioQuarter research district, with the possibility of this later being extended. 

The SNP insisted current construction of the line to Newhaven is on budget and is set to meet the opening date of spring 2023, adding eight new tram stops and providing densely populated areas of Edinburgh with tram services.

But the party has come under pressure over delays to the two CalMac ferries being built at the Ferguson Marine yard in Port Glasgow, which are five years late and cost at least £240million and which could surge to £400million.

Edinburgh’s trams launched in 2014 but were three years late and massively over budget.

Rival Scottish Conservative council candidate Iain Whyte raged: “People living in Edinburgh will be frankly astonished that the SNP are talking up more tram lines.

“The SNP’s track record on trams is nothing short of embarrassing yet they are asking voters to trust them to deliver this.

“The SNP council are currently claiming that current works are on time and on budget, but they haven’t delivered.

“Passenger numbers simply aren’t there, yet the SNP want to chuck more money onto the project.

“This is continuing to let down residents and businesses who have had to endure endless delays while works have taken place.

He added: “It also signals quite a remarkable about turn, given the SNP wanted to scrap the trams when they got into office.

“Whether it’s trams, ferries or trains, you just can’t trust the SNP when it comes to transport infrastructure. These sort of plans will only deliver more misery for our capital.”

Adam McVey, leader of the SNP Group in Edinburgh Council, insisted the project is still on course to be completed on time.

He said: “By keeping the Newhaven extension on time and on budget we’ve shown that, under the SNP, tram works can be delivered well.

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“Even the pandemic hasn’t knocked the project off course.

“Now it’s time to turn Edinburgh’s tram line into a network worthy of a modern European capital.

Mr McVey added: “We will take the time to plan this properly, just as we did for the Newhaven extension, to minimise disruption as far as possible and ensure the new routes are deliverable.

“To tackle climate change, we have to provide people with low carbon alternatives for getting about the city. Trams are a proven way of doing that.

“Linking up parts of the city with fast, efficient transport supports residents to switch from car to public transport for those journeys.

“When the trams started running they carried millions of passengers – and bus passenger numbers also increased.”

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