Trams in chaos as chairman resigns

The ill-fated Edinburgh Trams project has been thrown into further chaos with the resignation of the chairman David MacKay yesterday, leaving the multi-million pound project’s future in jeopardy.

After his resignation, 67-year old MacKay, who was also Chairman of Lothian Buses, criticised the German company in charge of the project and believes that a Scottish company may have done a better job had they been awarded the original contract, and went on to launch a scathing attack on Bilfinger Berger.

MacKay said: “we found crazy things like wires under Princes Street and cables were not where they should be. It was hell on wheels.”

MacKay, a transport expert, who spent nearly 40 years at distributor John Menzies, as well as working for the Scottish Rugby Union prior to his appointment as also described Bilfinger Berger as “delinquent contractor who scented a victim.”

The £545 million project has currently stalled due to a dispute over money with the German contractors, but Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has said that the project will receive no further government funding, which puts the future of the project in doubt.

At the moment, it is hoped that the project will be finished late next year, but this now seems highly optimistic, with the likelihood that the saga will end in the courtrooms.

Even the deadline set earlier this year of June 2013 now seems to be at serious risk, as the project threatens to spiral out of control.

Upon hearing of MacKay’s resignation, leader of Edinburgh Council Jenny Dawe voiced her thanks for his work, and confirmed the search for MacKay’s successor is already underway.

She said: “We are disappointed to be losing the drive, commercial expertise and commitment which David brought to his Chairmanship of Transport Edinburgh.”

MacKay has now retired, and confirmed he would not be staying on to serve any period of notice following his resignation.

His claims are expected to be refuted by Bilinger Berger, and it remains to be seen if these comments will cause any further damage to an already fragmented relationship between the two parties.