Merseytram debacle continues - four month deadline and little prospect of success
If transport authority Merseytravel has been unable to get funding for Merseytram in the past few years, it would seem unlikely that it could do it in four months.
But that is the task that it has been set by the region's council leaders.
The make or break demand, revealed today, seems to be saying we are happy to support Line 1 from Liverpool to Kirkby, but...
- We don't want to pay for it, so get the Government or the private sector to stump up ÃÂ£450m
- We don't want to sacrifice other schemes to raise the money
- We don't want the on, off, on again, off again, debate to rage forever, so if no money can be found by March then we want to move on
The likelihood of Merseytravel being able to sort out a financing package in four months is virtually zero.
I can't believe that in passing this resolution the six leaders of the Liverpool city region did not know that this was effectively the kiss of death for the scheme.
But what it did allow them to do was show "support" for the scheme, a vital test that the Government set down if it were to finance the project.
Readers will remember that transport minister Sadiq Khan virtually killed off Merseytram last month in a letter to the region's leaders.
He claims his letter was misinterpreted and we await a "clarification" letter.
Merseytram has become a debacle once more. My suspicion has been that Mr Khan's original letter was intended to kill off Merseytram but then inconveniently for the Government it was leaked.
Keen not to appear to be the bad guy, the Government then tried to shift the blame to council leaders in Merseyside.
Now the ball is back in the Government's court, but there is little prospect of Mr Khan being able to find ÃÂ£450m.
We await the "clarification" letter with interest.