South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has said the findings of a new transport study which were publishedon 27th June 2019 expose the “utter neglect” of the region’s transport network.
The new Report “South West Scotland Transport Study Initial Appraisal: Case for Change,” which was commissioned by Transport Scotland consulted with communities and businesses across Dumfries and Galloway and parts of South Ayrshire. It forms Part 1 of the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) for the projects included which is the required process to receive project agreement and necessary funding.
The Report highlights;
- The ill feeling from communities across the region who feel that Dumfries and Galloway is a forgotten region when it comes to transport and infrastructure investment.
- In the Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey that the maintenance of roads in Dumfries and Galloway across all road classifications is worse than the Scottish average.
- That in all but a few cases it is cheaper to drive to a destination in the study area, or further afield to Glasgow and Edinburgh than to take public transport.
The Report recommends that 23 projects are taken forward for further appraisal, however, this will not include the full dualling of the A75 and A77 or a new link road between Dumfries and the M74. A further consultation period of two months will be held over the initial findings in the Report.
Colin Smyth said, “This Report lays bare the utter neglect by the Government of our region’s transport system for far too long. From the lack of investment in key trunk roads which make them a real risk of serious accident to the fact that bus and rail fares are simply too high to make them an affordable alternative to the car, people in our region are being badly let down. There is little in the report that will surprise anyone as far as the suggested projects are concerned although there will be anger that the full dualling of the A75 and A77 and a new link road from Dumfries to the M74 motorway has not been recommended, while at the same time the SNP Government are pressing ahead with spending £3 billion dualling the A9 to Inverness from Perth.
However, what will frustrate people most is the fact that there will be a further two months of consultation on the proposals and then it will simply form part of the national strategic transport projects review which won’t report for a long time. We know there is little chance of the SNP Government taking forward all the projects in the study but what people want them to do is get on with some of them as soon as possible. We are sick and tired of our region being forgotten about when it comes to transport spending”