San Francisco cable car ‘big’ 19 on a test run. (Muni
The £189M Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR) project was told by the government on 22 March that its bid for £36.8M in early funding had been rejected, making it impossible for the first line in the city centre to be ready by 2025.  
VLR had provided the Department for Transport (DfT) with an outline business case, but has been told that a full business case is required, putting the earliest date for completion into 2026. 
It is understood that DfT is concerned whether the project represents value for money compared to a high-tech bus, and whether Coventry is the right place for the starter line. There is some suggestion that they would rather see this in Birmingham than Coventry. 
The decisions are being made against a background of local elections on 2 May. The current City Council in Coventry is Labour run whereas the West Midlands mayor is a Conservative which may be a factor influencing decisions. 
The prototype VLR car is being trialled on a test track at Dudley and it is hoped that VLR will provide a low-cost alternative to 'classic' tramway construction.  
The planned VLR line linking the bus station in Coventry city centre with the railway station (bottom). (Coventry City Council) 
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