Scotland Tram Issue Needs Addressing

The tram program in Edinburgh, Scotland, is chaotic to say the least. The local council is unable to deal with it so it is time for the big boys to handle it. Councillor Andrew Burns,transport spokesman for the Labor party, has apologized for the embarrassing mismanagement of the program. Alex Salmond MSP, the First Minister of Scotland known for this can-do approach, has called for an inquiry.

Scottish taxpayers have provided the trams with £440 million, courtesy of the government. Despite government involvement in this manner, the junior partner in funding has been calling the shots. Politicians may have appreciated the Edinburgh council in this role but Scottish citizens did not. With projects like dualing the A9 put on hold for the Edinburgh tram program, tax-paying citizens have a vested interest in what happens.

The Council could have elected to finance the trams if construction was linked to congestion charges. Commuters could then have proudly viewed themselves as financiers of the new trams. However, the Labor party elected to get the cash without seeing the approval of citizens in Edinburgh. The truth is, many did not want the trams, partially due to their love of Lothian Buses.

As the only publically controlled bus company outside of London, Lothian Buses are a classless public transportation method. Council leaders believe that sophisticated drivers will ditch car loans in favor of trams. Residents of Edinburgh do not agree, feeling instead that additional busses will relieve the increase in congestion.

With a £700 million tram system, people expect more than a single stop on Princes Street and lack of changeover hubs at key junctions. A system of trams and busses will displace eco-friendly cyclers. The Scottish government, which opposes the plan, is being called to take action. If Alex Salmond decides to take over the issue, things should move from mess to success.