South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has said it is time for action to address transport issues in the south west of Scotland, following the publication of the South West Scotland transport study yesterday (January 28).

The report highlights more than 20 options to improve connectivity in the south west of Scotland. These options will now go through to a national assessment of future transport interventions for further consideration.

Just some of the recommendations for further appraisal include:

  • The reopening of the rail links between Dumfries and the West Coast Mainline and between Stranraer and Dumfries and a new line from Stranraer to Cairnryan
  • A continuous programme of improvements for the A77 and A75 including partial dualling, bypassing and other upgrades to replace existing low-quality stretches of the road with higher quality, more efficient and safer alternatives and improvements to the A76
  • The development of better freight facilities, especially to support the timber industry in the area.
  • The reopening of railway stations including Thornhill, Eastriggs, Beattock and Dunragit.
  • Increased rail services on the West Coast Mainline

However, while Colin Smyth has cautiously welcomed the publication of the report, he believes it is time for action, rather than more warm words regarding transport issues in the south west.

Colin Smyth said: “Our region’s transport system has been neglected for far too long by the Scottish Government and the economic impact of that neglect is there for all to see.

“There has been a sustained lack of investment in key trunk roads which make them a real risk of serious accident, to say nothing of 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.

“While I cautiously welcome the recommendations in the report, it is now time for action. The people in the south west of Scotland want to see real changes to address the very serious transport issues they face on a daily basis. This can’t just be a wish list of projects that sit on a shelf gathering dust.

“It will also be a source of frustration for local people that the full dualling of the A75 and A77 has not been considered, while the SNP Government presses ahead spending £3 billion to dual the A9 from Perth to Inverness.”

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