DESPITE being given a high profile as a star project of the present Balearic government, the future building of a tram route through Palma, out to the airport, on to El Arenal and in the opposite direction to Calvia, remains highly uncertain.
From the outset, the financing and construction of the tram has caused much political infighting, with the opposition Partido Popular announcing only last week that if they were to win the local elections in May next year, they would scrap the project and instead extend the already-existing Metro line.
The Majorcan Unionist party (UM), once part of the ruling Socialist coalition but now in opposition, also has a luke warm approach to the building of the tram, especially with the routes currently being proposed by the government.
So real questions are being asked about whether or not, six months away from municipal and regional elections, the project is actually going to go ahead at all.
The point which has given rise to the most conflict and the most unanswered questions is the section of the route planned down the Avenidas in Palma, which according to the planners will be the final phase to be built. Critics of the route are asking where are the municipal bus stops going to be relocated to after the tram stop has been built in Plaza Espanya?
As seen in the mock-up photo of the tram stop, what are currently now the bus stops will be completely eradicated. The City Council, led by Aina Calvo, has still not responded. Transport Councillor Jose Hila has merely said: We've got another four years to come up with an answer. According to the current blueprint for the project, the section of the tram line running between Plaza Espanya and Porta de Sant Antoni will mean wiping out the bus lane and altering the cycle lane so that instead of going down the Avenidas, bicycles will be forced to use roads which run parallel to the Avenidas.
Also making themselves heard in the political row are Palma's taxi drivers who say that the tram project will give rise to unprecedented traffic chaos, especially in the Avenidas. Taxi driver associations are not ruling out protests as the elimination of taxi and bus lanes will seriously undercut their business.