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Guided Bus will cost over £106 Million

Date Issued: Thursday 19th May 2005


County Council's claim of £86.4 Million continues to mislead public about the true costs

In a document deliberately withheld from the Guided Bus Public Inquiry by Cambridgeshire County Council, the Department for Transport has confirmed their assessment of the total capital costs of the scheme to be £106.3 Million.

The DfT's 'Cambridge Rapid Transit Project Review', completed in November 2003, states, "...we would expect that this scheme will cost £106.3 Million to deliver in total. The promoters [Cambridgeshire County Council] perhaps conservatively have assumed that the developer contribution is fixed at £7 Million, so we estimate that the Department's contribution will turn out to be £99.3 Million".

The report was written at a time when the Council's own estimate of the capital cost of the scheme was £74.3 Million. They have subsequently increased this estimate in public to £86.4 Million. However, they already knew of the 2003 report and its findings, but refused to make it available to the Public Inquiry.

"This smoke-and-mirrors treatment of information and public money is nothing short of scandalous", says Tim Phillips, chairman of CAST.IRON, the Cambridge And St. Ives Railway Organisation. "The Council has continued to claim, at the Inquiry and subsequently, that the costs would be lower than they really will be even though they were already fully aware of the DfT's assessment.

"Despite repeated requests, they refused to make the report available. It is only thanks to the dogged determination of one of our members that we were able to obtain a copy on 23rd December last year, twenty days after the Inquiry closed."

The Council's £86.4 Million public estimate is confirmed in a letter to another CAST.IRON member from Bob Menzies, Head of Delivery for the Guided Busway, dated 22nd April 2005.

"Even without the benefit of this report, a number of objectors put it to the Inquiry that the scheme would be more expensive than the Council's claim, yet they were systematically put down by their outrageously expensive team of London barristers", said Mr Phillips.

"It is now clear that ordinary people, armed with common sense and intelligence, are perfectly capable of professional analysis in the face of wanton political and career ambition; and the Council's only defence was to throw money at silks. Truly this is a pig's ear of a project'.


EDITORS NOTES

  1. The capital costs do not include a further £14.8 Million for on-street improvements (bus lanes etc.), which are essential for the scheme.
  2. The total costs of the Public Inquiry and other advance work, not included in the £106 Million, total £3.1 Million.

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