The Scottish government has threatened to withdraw £72m of funding from the scheme

Crisis talks will take place on Friday to decide the future of Edinburgh’s beleaguered tram scheme, after the Scottish government threatened to withdraw £72m of funding when last week councillors voted to slash the scheme in half.

A committee meeting convened by Edinburgh council will examine ways to salvage a plan for an 11-mile tram link, after councillors voted to back a shortened route last Friday.

As part of a rescue package, Turner & Townsend, which will take over management of the project from Transport Initiatives Edinburgh in the next two weeks, is understood to be considering setting fixed price contracts.

The tram project has been plagued by cost overruns since work began in 2007, with projected costs for the original plan almost doubling from £545m to £1bn in four years.

Last week, councillors voted to downscale the project to a shuttle service from Haymarket, in the west of the city, to Edinburgh Airport. The council’s city development department claims this shortened route will be loss-making.

The decision means the line would terminate 11 stops short of its original destination and a mile from the city centre.

David Thompson, managing partner of Edinburgh-based consultant Robinson Low Francis, said: “This scheme has been a complete and utter embarrassment. The disruption and amount of retail businesses that have gone under because of the tram works along roads where the line may now not be used is incredible.”