MANCHESTER is extending its Metrolink tram network from 37km to 97km at a cost of £1.5 billion. The expansion is being paid for by both central and local government, and a £500 million loan from the European Investment Bank.
Whilst Manchester forges ahead, here in Leeds, the council is making no attempt whatsoever to get the city a tram system. Following the refusal by Alistair Darling in 2005 of funding for Supertram, it appears they decided there was no point applying for funding again. At last week’s meeting of the council’s Executive Board, Councillor Andrew Carter said: “NGT was not our preferred option. We tried and failed for more than 20 years to get what we wanted – a tram system like other European and British cities” (YEP, June 25). And Coun Richard Lewis said: “We all have to compromise.”
I have news for the Executive Board councillors. Alistair Darling ceased to be Secretary of State for Transport in 2006. And since 2010, we’ve had a change of government. Just because one government or one particular transport minister said no to funding for a tram system, is no reason to suppose that all future governments and transport ministers will also say no.
Councillors should stop wringing their hands over past failures, stop pursuing the trolleybus scheme which Councillor Carter admits is “not our preferred option” and get on with the job of getting this city a rapid transit system.What we need are dynamic people in charge of the city who refuse to accept second, or in this case third best. But what we have at the moment is a council of despair.
Kim Cowell, Ring Road, Farnley