Stricken by short-term thinking
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.