Spending more money on Edinburgh’s trams is hardly what you might describe as a vote winner.
Its well-chronicled construction problems - coupled with the city’s first class bus service - mean many are still opposed to extending the line. That’s easy to understand.
But there are a lot of good reasons why taking the line out to the Waterfront - whether to Newhaven, or Granton via the “line 1b” spur - makes a lot of sense. It would offer a quick, efficient, environmentally-friendly link between the city’s most populated area around Leith Walk and many of our biggest employers in the west.
It also makes sense from the perspective of the affordable housing crisis. For years we have wanted developers to build more homes on brownfield land at the Waterfront. Extending the tram line would make the idea far more attractive to housebuilders. And building infrastructure that would encourage new private investment was one of the key principles of the City Deal.
Given the SNP Government’s previous opposition to the trams, the decision smacks of politics rather than practicality. It will be diappointing if there is no other ‘big ticket’ transport project in the deal.