Fings ain't what they used to be...
The two basic problems with the tram project are that it isn't over and won't be over the day the first tram runs.
Instead of a 'full stop-turn the page' moment the inaugural run with paying passengers will merely be a comma in the rolling disaster the project has always been -- and will continue to be.
The second basic problem is that this slow motion omnishambles will continue to unravel around us all, is because nothing has changed in the most important area of the project...the space between the ears of Waverley Court and City Chamber that makes up the collective mindset of the Council.
The details of the political failures that then fed into a cascade of executive failures are elsewhere on this site and as time passes the predictions made by various people opposed, not to 'The Tram' but 'THIS particular (blighted) tram', are coming true, as the claims and hopes of the Council fall one by one.
- They said they would build it to Leith and regenerate the entire Forth Shore with tens of thousands of commutter homes whose need to cross the city would rpovide the people to travel on the tram------ that has not happened. They were wrong
- They said they would build it, first for £380Million or so, then for £545Million--no borrowing costs----that has not happened the £776Million (again threatening to run out) needed a Pay Day style loan and with the payback costs this has taken the final price to well over £1 BILLION. They were wrong
- They said in 2011 by stopping at Haymarket the system would need £4 million a year in subsidies. They said by pushing on to St Andrews Square they would make £2.5Million in operating surplus rising to £4.5Million a tear------ they are now saying they will need a £3.2Million subsidy a year, for five years.... which on past form means forever. They were wrong
- They said 9,000,000 passengers a year would use the system when justifying the push-on line-- they now say that figure will be 5Million...4,000,000 FEWER. They were wrong.
- They said it is a green transport system even though their own report had told them over 60% of all households in Edinburgh as a whole would experience worse air quality, traffic congestion and noise as indicated by 139,500 households expected to have WORSE air quality IF the tram was built, than would have worse air quality if the Tram WAS NOT built. They are Wrong
- The Air quality figures for Edinburgh, unmentioned in the executive summaries at the head of the most recent report but buried deep in appendices, showed Pollution 14% UP....while traffic is 5% DOWN. The point being that the tram works themselves mimic many of the upheaval effects on traffic---they have allowed us all a taste not of temporary unpheaval, but the 'new normal' post tram. They are wrong
- The report commissioned and then apparently ignored by the Council didn't predict that the bad effects of the tram project would happen completely on the first day, or in the first week, month or year after the tram began running but these will worsen over a period of years until the full effects are felt some 16 years after 'Day One' as the traffic, increasingly congested around the centre seeks routes around the city further and further away the centre They will be wrong.
- The Council said the tram would have no effect on the bus company, it's services, and most acutely the fares it needs to charge on buses to subsidise the constantly loss making tram, and to prevent tram fares looking too high compared to bus fares. They will be wrong.
- The PayDay style loan taken out in desperation to finish not even the whole of line one will weigh on city finances for decades. The things that could have been done with this money won't now be done; the opportunity cost. They will be wrong.
Now a cascade of bad decisions are flowing inevitabley because of the impossibility of finding good ones.
That's what happens when facts remain resolutely unfaced, when officials bravely unthink the thinkable, and when politicans have ambition unmatched by competence.
Until the council face the facts instead of Governance in Public affairs worthy of the City of the Enlightenment we'll continue living in a North Korean style State of Denial.