A new report from local councils across South West Scotland which claims dualling the A75 and A77 could bring the local economy £5bn of “positive benefits”, exposes the contempt by Government for the region’s economy according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The study was commissioned by councils in South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Mid and East Antrim at the request of the A77/A75 campaign group, which local MSPs including Colin Smyth are members of.
The Group brings together the local councils and representatives of the ferry firms at Cairnryan with local MSPs and other stakeholders to campaign for improvements to the key trunk roads to Cairnryan.
The report – which was originally requested in 2021 by members of the group- looks at seven options – from bypasses of key towns and rail improvements to full dualling of the A75 and A77. It urges the UK Government to offer the Scottish Government the funding needed to upgrade the A75 and calls on the Scottish Government to improve the A77.
Commenting on the report South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The report really does expose the contempt for the economy of the south west that’s been shown by both our Governments with their lack of investment in improving the A75 and A77.
“This report shines a light on the clear economic benefits of upgrading these vital trunk roads, yet the UK Government’s Connectivity review just proposed another feasibility study into improving the A75 and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Review suggested little more than tinkering on both roads. Clearly, the economy wasn’t an important factor for both Governments.
“Given it has taken two years to bring forward the outcome of this study, and the Scottish Government are just weeks away from publishing their delivery plan for their transport review, I suspect the report may be too little, too late to have any influence. However, it is clear evidence that improving our region’s infrastructure will improve the local economy and it is very frustrating that our Government’s fail to grasp this”.
“We need an urgent rethink that puts improving the A75 and A77 at heart of both our Government’s plans for investing in Scotland’s transport infrastructure”.