We all know that sinking feeling when we open our credit card statements and wish we hadn’t made that impulse purchase. Velez-Malaga council know the feeling well, having spent €35 million on a new train set back in 2006 which ran from Torre del Mar on the coast, to just outside Velez-Malaga – a total distance of 4.7km. In June 2012 the council was finally forced to stop running the tram service, having racked up unpaid bills of €2.5 million with the train operator.

Now in a another attempt to get the tram running again, the council are asking the regional government of Andalucia to fund half of the running costs of the tram system. This would amount to around €1.5 million a year and Velez-Malaga council argue that other similar public transport systems in Spain are subsidised this way by the regional governments. The Andalucian government has its own problems though. Last month ratings agency Moodys, downgraded Andalucian government debt to junk status, making it almost impossible for Andalucia to borrow money on the international money markets to fund its existing deficit.

The other option being considered by Velez-Malaga is to rent the three trams, that the council purchased at a cost of €8 million, to Sidney in Australia. The company that built the tramway, CAF, has written to the council asking them if they would consider this option, rather than leaving the trams to deteriorate, unused, in storage.

A second phase of the tram line was due to open three years ago, with a further 1.2km of track bringing the tram into the town centre. However due to the financial problems this final section remains closed and the three trams will remain idle, until a solution can be found.

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