Nearly a year after the publication of the Final Union Connectivity Review, the failure of the UK Government to commit to funding the upgrade of the A75 and A77 is “shocking”, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The local MSP submitted a written question to the Scottish Government asking, “how much funding for the upgrade of the A75 and A77 has been committed by the UK Government”.
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said in reply: “To date, we are not aware of the UK Government committing any funding for the upgrade of either the A75 or the A77. The UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review (UCR) published its interim findings in March 2021 and identified both the A75 and A77 as critical road transport corridors connecting Northern Ireland with Scotland and England.
“At the same time, the UK Secretary of State for Transport announced that a £20m Union Connectivity Development Fund was available for advance design / development on a select number of transport corridors, including the A75. It is not clear if any of that funding has been spent on preliminary work for the A75.
“The Final UCR Report was published in November 2021 and recommended that the UK Government commit funding to support the significant upgrade of the A75. The failure to mention the A77 suggests it will no longer be considered a priority for upgrading.”
Responding to the written answer, Colin Smyth said: “This answer confirms what we’ve all long known: that the south of Scotland is the forgotten region where it comes to improving vital infrastructure.
“For far too long, the south west of Scotland’s roads have been neglected and 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.
“It is shocking that the UK Government has not made any concrete commitments to fund improvement to these roads.
“While the recommendation from the UCR report last year was for upgrades to the A75, we’re almost a year on and nothing has materialised. And at the same time, we are left to conclude that the A77 has been completely overlooked.
“People have had enough, they are sick of being fobbed off and want to see some results.”