The cost of the inquiry into why the Edinburgh Tram Project’s costs spiralled out of control, has spiralled out of control.
The not-at-all-short tramway line stretches a commendably worthwhile distance of 8.698 miles between Edinburgh New Town and Edinburgh airport, and was predicted to cost £375m in 2003 but ended up at £778 million, plus a further £250m in interest payments. Lord Softie, leading the probe into the Fiasco, said at the launch of his inquiry that the probe would be “timely and cost efficient”, but has today admitted it will in fact be “leisurely and money is no object”.
The inquiry, originally predicted to cost £500 pounds and 3 days, because it’s basically a long-version of a forum post that explains what went wrong in less than 50 words, will now in fact cost at least £3.7m, and be released whenever they get round to it, “but it’s definitely coming.”. Pressed for further answers, Lord Softie gave some insight into how the inquiry is shaping up, “We feel £21,000 per foot of tramline is on the high side”.
The inquiry is also set to criticise the very existence of the project, as it was chosen over a number of other competing projects. One notable competitor was Scotland’s own version of the Apollo missions to the moon. We spoke to astrophysicist Angus McSporran, who said “A Saturn V rocket in the 60s cost $255m in 1968, which in today’s money $1.6bn or £1bn, exactly the same as the cost of the trams, but agreed by everybody to be far more cool. Also, if it turns out to be shit, we can just fire it into space and forget about it, which is much more difficult with a tram.”