Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 16:13 UK

Troubled tram project faltering

Artist's impression of Merseytram
The tram line was intended to open in 2008

Long-running plans to build a tram network in Merseyside may never be resurrected due to a lack of funding.

The Merseytram scheme collapsed four years ago when the government withdrew £170m in funding saying costs over-ran.

Merseytravel, the passenger transport authority, later lost a High Court battle to prove the move was illegal.

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan has told council leaders a funding application deadline has been missed and questioned the scheme's importance to the area.

'No funding available'

The tram line from Kirkby to Liverpool was intended to open in 2008 in time for Liverpool's Capital of Culture celebrations.

Two further routes to Whiston Hospital and Liverpool John Lennon Airport were expected to follow.

Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said for the project to go ahead financial support from the government is required.

But he said the letter from Mr Khan "spells out that the government is not in any position at the moment to be able to fund such a scheme."

This means the five local authorities involved in the plans and Merseytravel will have to consider their position, he added.

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