The Ealing & Acton Gazette this morning leads on the Tram. Apparently Transport for London official Pat Hayes has said that local support for the Tram was welcome but not necessary for work to begin. I guess I would be this arrogant too if I was one of TfL’s lords of transport, the 621 TfL managers who earn over £50,000 (see previous posting).
The Tram nutters seem to be intent on proceeding in spite of 59% of the people who responded to the consultation saying no. Neighbouring boroughs Hammersmith & Fulham and Hillingdon are against. If Ealing votes No Tram on 4th May it will be substantially harder for TfL to proceed.
The harsh fact is though that the Tram will only go ahead with government financing and the government is losing faith in these so-called light rail schemes. The National Audit Office quotes the following figures: Croydon Tramlink was 24% behind its passenger projections after three years and Sheffield Supertram was 45% behind after 8 years of operation. The NAO also notes that “Light rail has had limited impact on road congestion, pollution and road accidents”.
So whilst we should not be complacent it is likely that this scheme will fail as Livingstone does not have the money and the government is unlikely to fund it.