The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition running Birmingham City Council is plotting to sabotage expansion of the Midland Metro tram system, it was claimed.
Labour accused the coalition of time-wasting, by delaying a decision on the city centre metro extension in the hope that the project would be dropped by the Government.
The claim was levelled after Transport Minister Tom Harris admitted that no decision on funding metro lines in Birmingham and the Black Country would be taken until the end of 2008, a move that could put back completion of the £400 million project to 2014.
Coun Kath Hartley (Lab Ladywood) claimed the coalition had deliberately delayed for two years submitting an outline business case to the Department for Transport, while wasting time and money on investigating an unachievable underground railway.
She added: "Far from the Government being to blame for the metro extension hitting the buffers, it is the delays and incompetence introduced by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats that have jeopardised the metro extensions.
"This two-year delay raises the suspicion that council politicians have attempted to sabotage the scheme."
Her claims were dismissed as "naive" by Len Clark, the council's lead member on Centro-PTA, the passenger transport authority.
Coun Clark (Con Quinton) pointed out that the Government had recently rejected tram schemes in Leeds, Liverpool and Portsmouth.
"The notion that had we put in a bid a year earlier it would have been subject to some miraculous approval process belies the facts," he added.
"There is £16 billion earmarked for Cross-Rail in London and £7 billion transport infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games. That is more than £20 billion and none of it going north of Watford."