South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has described a meeting between local MSPs and the A77 and A75 Action Groups with the new Scottish Government Transport Secretary Michael Matheson as “disappointing”
At the meeting in Stranraer yesterday (Wednesday 22nd August) there were no new commitment of investment for key trunk roads in the region.
Colin Smyth said, “The new Transport Secretary should have accepted that there has been a lack of investment in key trunk roads in the region such as the A77 and A75 and make clear he understood the need to address that neglect. Instead he simply reiterated what we already know, namely that there is a review of transport in Dumfries and Galloway which won’t report until the end of the year. That will then feed into a wider strategic road for the whole of Scotland so the bottom line, is we are still years away from any new major investment in trunk roads here in Dumfries and Galloway and that is very disappointing”.
“The Cabinet Secretary kept saying there could be no favouritism for the A77 or the A75. The reality is- no one is asking for favouritism. What we are asking for fairness. Across Scotland billions are being invested on roads in other parts of the country but there isn’t a penny currently being spent on a single major project on any of the trunk roads in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s time this region got its fair share of investment, and that’s a message we are going to have to keep making until the Government acts”.
“If this meeting was an attempt by the new Transport Secretary to show that he was serious about tackling the neglect towards Dumfries and Galloway’s trunk roads, then I have to say it was a failure. Michael Matheson said he was here to listen but what is it the Scottish Government don’t already know about the lack of investment in roads such as the A77, A75 and for that matter the A76 and A7?”
“There has been no major investment on those roads in the last few years and more worryingly there are no plans to change that in the near future. But what is clear that with active Action Groups campaigning for improvements and growing anger from businesses such as the ferry companies who feel badly let down – we’re not going to go away. There is real momentum behind the campaign for investment on the regions roads and we will keep fighting until that is secured”.