Costs were bound to rocket

I see that the Scotsman has kicked up another storm in a teacup over the Borders Railway. I don’t remember “Scotland’s national newspaper” getting quite so excited about the rocketing costs of the M74 northern extension or its additional burden on the taxpayer, so why such a fuss about the railway to Gala and Tweedbank?

We live in difficult economic times, and virtually all major infrastructure projects end up costing significantly more than originally forecast.

The key point about reopened railways in Scotland is that they have all performed far better in terms of passenger patronage than the original estimates – and there is no reason to suppose the Borders will be any different.

The bidding consortium and Transport Scotland understand railways – and may need to be imaginative and innovative to keep the project within budget – so we should be encouraging them from the sidelines, not constantly trying to find the most negative possible angles on the story.

Instead of the Scotsman cravenly restricting its commentary to anonymous “industry sources” who have a downer on the project, why didn’t it speak to a proper cross-section of experts and observers?

The Borders Railway deserves everyone’s support – after 42 years as the only region of Britain without a rail service, it’s time for some regional economic justice.

David Spaven

Merchiston Mews, Edinburgh