#AskFabiani – on the new Forth Bridge

Question:

Why are the Scottish Government wasting £2.3 billion on building a new Forth Road Bridge – should we not just repair the existing and use the money to protect public services?

Answer:

I am sure you will be glad to see that the cost of the bridge has come down significantly since it was estimated at £2.3 billion.

This has allowed the Scottish Government to release £250 million to invest in other infrastructure and policy priorities.

That is the way public procurement should work – where projects are costed with contingencies allowed for and these are then eliminated or built into the cost.

Under Labour, public procurement – from the Parliament building, to the Edinburgh Trams, to the Glasgow Airport Rail Link – was often badly conducted, leading to final costs far in excess of earlier estimates.

I don’t believe a credible argument has been made that we should leave north-south traffic on Scotland’s east coast dependent on a bridge that even the questioner recognises as needing significant repairs.

Linda Fabiani
May 2011

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