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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Tram support in commuter survey
Edinburgh trams artist's impression
A new tram system would link the city centre to the airport
A survey of commuters in Edinburgh has found "significant support" for plans for a tram network in the city.

Current proposals would see the initial route run from Leith Waterfront to Edinburgh Airport.

The cost of the project is currently being assessed by spending watchdog Audit Scotland along with the proposed Edinburgh Airport Rail Link.

More than three quarters of 850 workers and students on the city waterfront said they would use the tram.

We urge the Scottish Executive to ensure that this project now moves forward to completion in the shortest possible time
Ray Harris
Telford College

According to the survey by sustainable transport body Transform Scotland, 77% of students at Telford College would use the tram - and more than half (53%) would leave the car to do so.

At the Scottish Gas headquarters at Granton, 81% of staff said they would use the tram - 63% of whom currently drive to work.

Ray Harris, Telford College principal, said: "This report has confirmed that a tram scheme servicing Edinburgh's Waterfront remains a popular option with our staff and students and we therefore continue to support its development."

Paul Tetlaw, chairman of Transform Scotland, said: "We urge the Scottish Executive to ensure that this project now moves forward to completion in the shortest possible time."

Business case

The Edinburgh Tram and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link projects have been estimated at costing more than 1bn - funding the new SNP-led government committed to redirecting elsewhere in its election manifesto.

Auditor General Robert Black was asked to look into the spending plans by the executive and is expected to report back to Finance Secretary John Swinney by Wednesday.

Green MSP Robin Harper said of the survey: "The response to the tram proposals from those people most likely to use them is very welcome indeed and underlines how strong the business case is.

"The contribution to sustainability that the tram system will make is huge - the damage that will follow if we do not build the tram line is not justifiable in any way."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "Audit Scotland have been asked to review the procedures used to forecast costs for the proposed Edinburgh tram project.

"This work will form part of the review we are undertaking on major transport projects. We are expecting their report shortly."

The tram survey was carried out in January and February and received responses from 862 workers and students.

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