Edinburgh pols debate link between trams, economic growth.

A study backed by Edinburgh’s city council says trams will be “‘key’ to unlocking the full potential of regeneration areas across the capital,” according to this report in today’s Scotsman newspaper.

As explored in that article and this companion piece, council leader Jenny Dawe argues that the trams will spur development, while the city’s economic development leader, SNP councillor Tom Buchanan, disagrees.

As quoted by The Scotsman, Ms. Dawe said: “Major developers have already committed to several sites along the tram route, and the interest shown by others continues to be strong.”

Mr. Buchanan responded: “I didn’t write this report and haven’t read it in any detail, but I don’t believe the premise that the tram is vital for the growth areas of Edinburgh to meet their potential. … No-one has ever said to me that a particular development or scheme is more viable if the tram goes there.”

And so it continues, as project costs spiral and the extent of the project contracts. Completion of even one line — of what was once envisioned to be a three-line system — remains mired in controversy as the city’s tram company is embroiled in a dispute with the project’s key contractor. Even that single line has been scaled back (now it’s probably only going to run between Edinburgh Airport and the city centre) as described here.

Writing this as an American in America, naturally I am not fully versed in the political nuances of this ongoing imbroglio. For an interesting political analysis, check out this March 13 post on Munguin’s Republic.

My post on Edinburgh tram developments earlier this month can be found here, including a list of links to related resources.

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