FOR a city such as Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, to be in such a state of financial chaos that it can actually contemplate spending money that it does not have on an extension to its recognised "vanity project" is simply unbelievable ("Plans to extend the capital’s tram network gain approval", The Herald, November 20).

Why on earth is Edinburgh City Council even thinking of borrowing yet another large sum – £145 million – on a project that lacks credibility and for which the financial business case has been drawn up by those who backed the previous disastrous plan? This ended up 50 per cent over budget and with only a line from the airport to York Place.

By extending the line to Newhaven the council will fulfil the scathing pollution forecasts in its own Mott MacDonald report on the consequences of the tram project. It commissioned the report in 2003 and then chose to ignore the findings as it did not like the adverse predictions that 139,500 households (at least 280,000 people) would suffer worse pollution. By grouping the successful Lothian Buses in with the tram under Transport Edinburgh this allows the council to raid the bus surplus and use projected receipts to finance its latest crazy scheme ("Plans to put profits into trams angers bus workers", The Herald, November 19).

There will be only one transport area to suffer under this new plan and that will be the buses. What will happen to the updating and replacement plans? Will green buses be purchased in line with the previous replacement plans? There must be grave doubts now about this.

With the city council already borrowing £1.4 billion and trying to service this loan, it is little wonder that the city roads are in such a dreadful state and that attempts are being made to save money in every area – the latest being a suggestion that all lighting in communal stairs will be taken on by the tenants. This is yet another penny-pinching scheme which will doubtless cost the council more in legal costs than it will save.

Perhaps the council is trying to be known throughout Scotland as not only anti-car, but also anti-pensioner and anti-disabled.

Allan Alstead,

49 Moray Place, Edinburgh.