Council bid for transport cash

The council is calling for more investment in the A75.

The council is calling for more investment in the A75.

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The Council’s response to the Dumfries and Galloway Transport Summit stakeholder engagement will be considered by the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure (EEI) committee on 15 November.

The Scottish Government’s summit was held on 22 August 2016.

Councillor Colin Smyth, chairman of the EEI committee, was one of the three key note speakers at the summit.

He said: “I am very clear that the summit is really only the start of the conversation we need to have with the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland, to break down the barriers to transport investment in Dumfries and Galloway. Our Council’s number one priority is building the local economy. Crucial to achieving that is the Scottish Government investing in our region’s transport infrastructure. However, the criteria it currently uses to assess infrastructure funding mean that, due to our rurality and low population, the odds will forever be stacked against our region and we will continually miss out. Vital projects, such as a proper link road from Dumfries to the M74 or the re-opening of rail stations, are always deemed to be not viable economically based on the Government’s criteria. Our key message in our submission is the fact that needs to change. We can talk all-day about the need to dual the A75 or improve the A77, but until the Government changes its criteria when deciding where transport infrastructure investment takes place, then it simply won’t happen. Investing in our infrastructure would open up economic opportunities for the region. We face major economic challenges relating to the lack of high skilled jobs in our region, partly due to poor transport infrastructure. So, we must receive equity with the rest of Scotland in the next round of transport investment.”

During the summit Dumfries and Galloway Council made the case for a review of funding criteria, to ensure peripheral regions such as Dumfries and Galloway gain a fairer share when it comes to road, rail and active travel projects; Better and faster road connectivity between Dumfries and the M74; Improvements to the A75, A76, A77, A7 to ensure better connectivity; Improved rail links, including considerations of the re-opening of stations in the region to improving connectivity to Edinburgh, Glasgow, the north of England and London and integrated transport services.