Councils should not take on large public procurement projects like the trams, Edinburgh's former transport convenor has told the tram inquiry.
Gordon Mackenzie said they create too many opportunities for division and divulging information which may disadvantage the public purse.
Mr Mackenzie said the national transport agency should be in charge, backed by the Scottish government.
The inquiry is examining why the tram system was delivered years late.
It is also looking at why the project was £400m over budget and mired in legal dispute.
Mr Mackenzie said, when the trams project began to go wrong, political parties within City of Edinburgh Council used the problems to their political advantage rather than acting in the best interest overall.
He said a lot of it was hot air which did not affect decisions but he did not think local councils should take on these projects.
There were also too many opportunities to divulge commercially sensitive information which might cost the public purse more.
Mr Mackenzie cited the Irish example, arguing the national transport agency should be in charge, backed by the Scottish government as they had more power, experience and financial muscle.
The inquiry, before Lord Hardie, continues.