Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 19:03 UK

Bridge payout measures 'standard'

Forth Road Bridge
Ministers said the existing road bridge needs to be replaced

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has attempted to allay concerns over a planned compensation scheme for firms vying to build the new Forth bridge.

Companies who fail in bids to build the £2bn crossing could be reimbursed by up to £5m, or as much as £10m if the construction project does not go ahead.

Mr Stevenson said it was "quite a standard thing" to offer.

His comments to Holyrood's finance committee came as MSPs approved the the proposed scheme.

Labour MSPs on the committee had questioned why there would be a shortage of bidders for the bridge, given its description by SNP ministers as Scotland's biggest infrastructure project in a generation.

If the Scottish Government decided not to proceed with the new road bridge, or if the legislation allowing its construction was voted down by MSPs, ministers would be able to pay tendering expenses back to bidding firms, capped at £10m, with the expectation that only three bidders would make a pitch.

Mr Stevenson said: "To gain support for projects, it is quite a standard thing to be done, in certain circumstances where there are very big projects, and we are looking to do that."

Ministers have insisted the new Forth crossing, to replace the existing 45-year-old bridge, would be delivered on budget and on time, by 2016.

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