Bring back Tbilisi tram? Too expensive, says City Hall

by | Jul 15, 2016
Dmitry Yermakov

Dmitry Yermakov

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Hall is not planning to bring back the trams in the capital, despite a call from a member of Tbilisi City Council. City Hall will only considers it in a long-term perspective.

Aleko Elisashvili, independent member of Tbilisi City Council, recently said it is necessary to have a tram system in the city because it is the most comfortable, fast and ecologically clean form of transport, and will contribute to solving the problem with traffic jams.

But City Hall is not considering building a new tram network, DFWatch was told by a spokesperson.

“It is too expensive to organize a tram network. It will cost more than USD 300 million. One of the most active lines is Delisi-Ortachala, which would go through capital’s central districts. It would cost more than USD 140 million. The project is too expensive and we don’t have resources for this today,” Deputy Mayor Irakli Lekvinadze said.

The Tbilisi trams date back to December of 1904, but were preceded by horse-drawn tram, mostly known as konka. In the late 1990s, tram lines were reduced and finally removed in 2006.

The French company Sistra prepared a plan in 2012. The length of the first tram line would be 14 kilometers. It started from the university campus Maglivi and ended in Ortachala, passing through the Vake district. But the project was halted.

Irakli Abesadze, member of the City Council from the National Movement, who used to be the deputy of Mayor Gigi Ugulava in 2012, told Fact-meter that the reason for halting the project was financing. He said that it is not easy to carry out this project now.

“Preliminary works expenses were one million euros, which we received as a grant from the French government. This amount included works like questionnaires, technical issues and risk measures. The project was finalized for beginning construction work, but we had to stop, because it would cost about 500 million euros to carry out the project and we thought that it was too much and Tbilisi’s budget wouldn’t be enough for that,” Abesadze said.


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