Stricken by short-term think­ing

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - EXCLUSIVE -

SCOT­LAND’S ex­pe­ri­ence with man­ag­ing ma­jor trans­port projects makes for de­press­ing read­ing.

The £1bn Ed­in­burgh trams de­ba­cle, the can­celled Glas­gow Air­port Rail Link, de­lays to the Queensferry Cross­ing and the on­go­ing prob­lems with elec­tri­fy­ing Scot­land’s busi­est rail­way line leave a sense of end­less frus­tra­tion for com­muters and pas­sen­gers.

To­day’s rev­e­la­tions about the “white ele­phant” Ed­in­burgh Gate­way sta­tion re­veals a dif­fer­ent type of fail­ure – a strate­gic fail­ure.

In fair­ness, it is not just the cur­rent govern­ment that has presided over trans­port in­fra­struc­ture fi­as­cos – these things go back decades.

But Ed­in­burgh Gate­way was al­ways some­thing of a po­lit­i­cal fix, thrown in to lessen the blow of can­celling the Ed­in­burgh Air­port Rail Link in 2007, but the orig­i­nal price tag of £20m meant it was palat­able.

When plans to con­nect the sta­tion to rail ser­vices from Glas­gow were dropped in 2013 the plug should have been pulled on the whole scheme. But as with many com­plex is­sues in Scot­land which need long-term, strate­gic think­ing, it was short-term, po­lit­i­cal think­ing that won the day.

Now we are left with a de­serted sta­tion, a £41m bill for the tax­payer and, worst of all, still no di­rect rail link to the air­port.

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