Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour Net Zero, Energy and Transport spokesperson Colin Smyth has urged the Scottish Government to avoid the “failures of the past” and announce when the projects listed in the recently published Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) report will actually be delivered.

Speaking during a statement in the Scottish Parliament delivered by Transport Secretary Michael Matheson on STPR2 last week, Colin Smyth highlighted the need for action across the south of Scotland.

Colin Smyth said: “The track record of this Government and cabinet secretary on transport projects is one of overpromising and underdelivering.

“With the STPR2, the cabinet secretary might surpass himself by underpromising and underdelivering.

“On new ferries and new trains, we have a strategy that is years late, and there is still no sign of a delivery plan or budget.

“However, what communities already know is that there will be no dualling of the A9 by 2025, as promised in the previous review, and probably no dualling of the A96.

“With regard to this review, none of the modest projects planned for the A75 or A77 will happen in this parliamentary session, and a rail link to Glasgow airport has never been so far away.

“The cabinet secretary knows full well that the routes for the Borders railway and rail in the north-east, which he claims to be outwith STPR2, have no meaningful budget.

“Given this Government’s record on delivering transport budgets over budget and overdue, why should any community believe the cabinet secretary when he finally gets around to telling us when the projects in STPR2 will be delivered? What will he do this time to avoid the failures of the past?”

Speaking after the debate, the local MSP added: “We need a meaningful timescale for when work on the many projects contained in STPR2 are going to be started but also a commitment on the large number of improvements the report failed to even mention, such as re-opening the Dumfries to Stranraer railway or new stations at Eastriggs, Beattock and Thornhill.

“At this point, communities across our area have completely lost faith that this government will ever deliver any transport improvements in their areas.

“We’ve had enough feasibility studies and reports to last a lifetime, what we need now is fewer warm words and more action.”

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