The City of Edinburgh Council is to decide next Thursday (30 June) on the future of the controversial tram project connecting the airport to the city’s waterfront.
Councillors must decide whether to continue with the project – which has been plagued by setbacks since it began in 2008 – or to scrap it altogether.
Doing away with the project completely would end up costing €845 million, councillors have been told, whereas continuing with a shorter line would cost a minimum of €789 million.
The original cost of the project – to create a line from the airport to Newhaven in the north of the city – was set at €614 million.
According to the council, one option is to complete the initial phase of the tram line from Edinburgh Airport to St Andrew Square in the city centre, which will cost €868 million – just €23 million more than cancelling the project altogether.
The cheapest option available to council members when they have their meeting next week is to build the line only as far as Haymarket, which would cost the least amount at €789 million.
Construction began on the tram project in 2008, and the work was initially due to be completed in February this year.
However, three years of legal disputes between the council’s tram development company TIE and the contractors Bilfinger Berger has pushed the project over budget and behind schedule.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government has capped its investment in the project at €563 million with the city council paying the rest – according to a report published by the council today €528 million of the €563 million awarded has already been spent.
Sue Bruce, chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "This really is the critical juncture for the project.
“We will be working closely with the Scottish Government in coming months to look at the various funding options that we may need to progress based on the decisions taken by Councillors next week.
"The officer recommendations are designed to ensure that we secure a return on the substantial investment made to date and, at this time, progressing to St Andrew Square and generating revenue appears the sensible way to ensure this happens."