§ Mr. McLoughlin
I am today writing to Councillor Harkin, chairman of the Greater Manchester passenger transport authority, to say that I am approving phase I of the Manchester Metrolink project for grant under section 56 of the Transport Act 1968. Grant will be paid at 50 per cent. of eligible costs within a cash ceiling; borrowing approval will be available for other eligible costs.
I welcome this important and innovatory scheme, which is the first new street-running light railway in this country to be approved for many years. It will link Manchester's main railway termini, and will provide much-improved services to Bury and Altrincham. The scheme will also bring a new form of private sector involvement: it is to be designed, built, operated and maintained by a single consortium, the GMA Group. The net capital cost is expected to be about £110 million.