The guided bus

As I am sure you know, the Government has finally announced its financial support for the Cambridgeshire guided bus. That financial support is such that the system will be built using only that Government grant and a small proportion of the money raised f

As I am sure you know, the Government has finally announced its financial support for the Cambridgeshire guided bus. That financial support is such that the system will be built using only that Government grant and a small proportion of the money raised from the developers of all new housing schemes. None of our council tax payers' money will be necessary for building the guideway. And the operating and maintenance costs will be met entirely by the bus operators.

The contract with the builders is such that any cost increases greater than 4.75 per cent will be borne by that firm and not by the council. That maximum increase is already built into our cost figures as a contingency.

Thus the costs to the council can be contained to what we have spent so far on the planning process and the public inquiry. But only if we do not go changing the plan once the contract is signed. That is something that I will be watching very closely indeed.

Meanwhile, the final hurdle was the council meeting on July 18.


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That took place after this column was written. I will be interested to see how the opposition live up to their initial reaction to the public inquiry: "Although we were not in favour of the scheme, now it has been given the go-ahead, we are right behind it and determined to make it work as well as possible for the people of Cambridgeshire." That is not a direct quote, but I think it accurately reflects what their press releases said.

So why do I have this feeling that they will find some way of voting against the project being given the go-ahead? Heaven forbid that they might seek to inject some long delays into the scheme to force the price up and make the Council Tax payer have to fork out some money. How uncharitable of me!

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