YP Letters: Can we make the Leeds tram a top priority?

From: Tony Young, Cross Bank, Skipton, North Yorkshire.

The blame game over the Leeds trolleybus fiasco continues to polarise opinion.

TOM Richmond (The Yorkshire Post, May 17) blames all the leaders in Leeds for the trolleybus fiasco, with some justification. But he fails to identify the real culprit, namely the then Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling. In 2004 he cancelled Leeds Supertram and tram schemes for Liverpool and South Hampshire as well as all the extensions to Manchester’s Metrolink tram.

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The reason given was indeed cost increases but while Leeds Supertram had gone up by 41 per cent, nine major road schemes had gone up by between 25 per cent and 158 per cent. Mr Darling cancelled all the tram schemes but none of the road schemes. Councillors in Greater Manchester refused to accept his decision and mounted a massive campaign to get the funding of Metrolink extensions reinstated, even hanging banners from the top of town halls “Get our Metrolink back on track!”

Leeds could have had the best tram system in Britain in the late 1940s if it had built the tunnels under the city centre planned by the city engineer. Instead they threw away miles of segregated track worth millions of pounds. Successive attempts to reintroduce trams have all failed. Can they finally grasp the nettle and make a new tram system for Leeds their absolute top priority?