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Letter: The trolleybus millions

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UNDOUBTEDLY Leeds transport needs have been ignored completely by successive governments for many years.

Compared to London (and the south east) Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield, government support has been non-existent until Deputy Prime Minister Clegg dangled the carrot of a government hand-out toward a potential trolleybus scheme, submitted by Leeds City Council in 2012.

Total cost was estimated at £250 million but of that some £70+ million would have to be found from council funds.

This grossly imbalanced funding offer was apparently accepted by Councillor Wakefield, (leader of Leeds City Council – labour majority) despite savage budget cuts of £100 million and more over two years, with more on the horizon.

Since then, the council have carried out a campaign to convince Leeds tax payers that a new trolleybus service will fulfil transport requirements throughout the Leeds and district area, starting with Holt Park-Stourton route. This may be open by 2016.

Readers may recall news of a recent release by Leeds City Council of £19.2 million from an obscure reserve fund to finance preparatory work on this initial trolleybus route.

Also, I remember 2005, when around £20m was expended by the council on ‘preparatory work’ on the Supertram project rejected by government as ‘too expensive’.

In addition to Holt Park and Stourton, Leeds has at least 14 other major roads to the suburbs and towns adjoining. Are all these included in the trolleybus plan?

With the shortage of money in Leeds and the rest of the country, is this the right time to install a new transport scheme, decided solely by councillors without reference to, or agreement from, the council tax payers, who must eventually pay for it?

John S Slater, Otley