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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
City chiefs in Metrolink summit
Metrolink tram
Lord Rooker said Manchester would get better transport "in due course"
Greater Manchester's MPs are meeting the city's transport bosses later to discuss the government's decision to axe the Metrolink extension project.

There has been fury over the decision, which was taken, the government said, because it was costing too much.

Thursday's meeting follows a discussion between city chief Sir Howard Bernstein and senior officials from the Department of Transport on Wednesday.

In a statement, Sir Howard said the meeting was "amicable".

Dossier dismissed

On Wednesday, Regeneration Minister Lord Rooker defended the decision to axe the extension, which would have created new transport links across Manchester, and a new link to Manchester Airport.

Lord Rooker was in Manchester to launch a housing development in Beswick.

It is not our job as the government to go around making popular decisions
Lord Rooker
He dismissed a dossier of evidence presented to him by deputy council leader Jim Battle which showed why the extension was necessary.

"Well [the scheme] went up from 280m to 520m in a two-year period, all of a sudden more money was needed," Lord Rooker said.

"At the end of the spending review, when all these decisions had to be balanced delicately... you have to make some decisions.

"Not all of them are popular, because it is not our job as the government to go around making popular decisions."

Metrolink 'vital'

"In due course you will get a better transport system."

He did, however, agree to pass the dossier to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Mr Battle said: "The decision to pull the plug has been met with genuine dismay across the region, by businesses and residents alike.

"Metrolink is a vital part of the continuing regeneration of Manchester and the surrounding area and of ensuring that the local economy continues to improve."

Minister defends Metrolink cuts
28 Jul 04  |  Manchester
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21 Jul 04  |  Manchester
Anger after Metro expansion axed
21 Jul 04  |  Manchester
Government scraps trams extension
20 Jul 04  |  Manchester


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