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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Backing for capital tram system
CAF tram
Councillors voted in favour of the final business case for trams
Plans for a 500m tram route in Edinburgh have been approved by councillors.

A large majority voted in favour of the final business case for a system running from Newhaven to the airport.

The laying of the track will start in February 2008, with the first trams scheduled to be running by spring 2011.

The councillors also backed Spanish firm CAF to build and maintain the trams and German consortium BBS to construct the network infrastructure.

The system will include 11 miles of track, 22 stops and a depot for the trams.

Work to relocate pipes and water mains along the route has been taking place since April.

Some business leaders have raised concerns about the impact of the route, claiming that local traders were already losing money as roads were dug up.

'Financially stable'

However, Phil Wheeler, Edinburgh City Council's transport convener, welcomed the vote to back the final case for the 498m first phase of the network.

"This is a great day indeed for those of us who wish to see the tram project come to fruition," he said.

"The papers that were before councillors today outline just how solid the case for trams is and also how financially stable the process currently is and how well it is being managed."

Willie Gallagher, chairman of council-owned Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie), said: "This is the right decision for the capital.

"As well as voting for a tram scheme, Edinburgh councillors were deciding on how Edinburgh is going to grow and develop in the future."

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