The Scottish Government’s ‘petty attitude’ in failing to engage in the UK Government’s connectivity review means the A75 and A77 could lose out, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The local MSP was speaking during a debate on road infrastructure in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
Speaking in the debate Colin Smyth said: “At a time when the Government is still committed to investing £3 billion to dual the A9 from Perth to Inverness—a proposal that was supported by the Greens when they backed the budget—there is real anger in the south-west of Scotland that, of the £10.5 billion of investment in road infrastructure from the Scottish Government between 2008 and 2020, just 0.4 per cent went to the A75 and the A77, which are key trunk routes.
“When asked about the upgrading of the A75 and the A77 in Parliament just 12 months ago, the current Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport said that ‘the financial constraints within which the Scottish Government must operate limit our options when it comes to major capital investment’.
“However, the Scottish Government’s petty attitude, sadly shown again by the minister, meant that it failed to engage in the UK Government’s connectivity review, even if that includes the offer of investment in those key roads.
“I appeal to the minister: if the Scottish Government is not prepared to fully upgrade the A75 and A77 as part of the strategic transport projects review, will it engage with the UK Government and support the investment?
“My constituents do not care where the money comes from to upgrade those roads; they just want to see the investment going in to sustain crucial trunk routes for the area.
“For far too long, the south-west of Scotland’s infrastructure has been neglected. For the safety of roads users, and to support the local economy, that has to end.
“It is time to recognise that the upgrading of the A75 and the A77 is a strategic priority for the whole of Scotland.”
Speaking after the debate, Colin Smyth added: “The fact that I have to keep raising this issue again and again in parliament is completely ridiculous and yet more proof that the south west is the forgotten region of Scotland where governments are concerned.
“People have had enough, they are sick of being fobbed off and want to see their Governments work together to produce some results.”