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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 20:01 GMT
Legal threat after tram plan axed
Artist's impression of Merseytram
The Merseytram was intended to open by 2008
Merseytravel is to take legal action against the government after it pulled the plug on a Merseyside tram network.

Transport Minister Derek Twigg said last week 170m would not be released because local councils had not agreed to fund any shortfall.

Merseytravel chief executive Neil Scales said a judicial review could be heard before the end of February 2006.

The passenger transport authority also wants to recoup money it has already spent on the project.

Unanimous vote

If the judicial review is successful, construction could start in March with completion in 2009, Mr Scales told fellow board members on Monday.

He said a letter of intent would be sent by the board, which voted unanimously to take legal action, to the Department of Transport before the end of the week.

The government will have seven days to respond before action begins.

It had been hoped that the first tram line from Liverpool city centre to Kirkby would be in place in time for Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The estimated cost was 300m but the government refused to release its lump sum after Liverpool and Knowsley councils said they would only fund 24m of any budget overrun.

Merseyside tram system plan axed
29 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Government delays cash for trams
17 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Blair asked to approve Merseytram
06 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Councils agree to underwrite tram
04 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Authority wants more time on tram
28 Oct 05 |  Merseyside
Trams 'will run in culture year'
08 Sep 05 |  Merseyside

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