As an occasional visitor to Manchester I have travelled on Metrolink and can confirm the transforming effect that it has on the city and one's perception of it.
Places which were previously seen as either hopelessly distant from Piccadilly station, or only accessible through a frustrating taxi ride (no outsider ever gets to grips with a city's bus system) suddenly became easily accessible, and fuzzy bits of geography became much clearer. Even the city centre itself looks different when seen from a form of transport which asserts its own rights so clearly.
I was therefore interested to read Tony Aldous' update on the state of play with light rail in Manchester and other cities (AJ 3.6.99), but sad to learn that transport authorities are being driven toward the philosophy that one hundred per cent private funding must be available for anything that is worthwhile.
The private sector so often follows on the opportunities that have been created rather than appreciating them before time, that we need a mechanism for investment coming directly from the centre, to some extent recouped from those who are benefiting or will do in the future.
I believe that it is called taxation.
Martin Arthur, Leicester