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24/08/2016

Dumfries and Galloway lobbies for transport investment

Words: Huw Morris

The Scottish Government has been urged to “break down the barriers” to transport investment in Dumfries and Galloway to tackle major economic challenges in the region.

At a transport summit of ministers and the council this week, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s economy, environment and infrastructure committee chair Colin Smyth cited the lack of highly skilled job opportunities in the region due to poor transport infrastructure.

He claimed current government criteria for funding major projects are “stacked against us”.

Smyth added: “Vital projects such as a proper link road from Dumfries to the M74 or the re-opening of railway stations are always deemed by the government to be economically unviable due to our rurality and low population. The Scottish Government must reconsider its criteria to enable Dumfries and Galloway to access investment infrastructure. That will open up economic opportunities for the region whether that is supporting the ferries in the west or new railway stations in the east.

“Put simply better infrastructure is required to deliver a better economy, which is our council’s number one priority.”

Among the transport projects the council highlighted are:

  • Better and faster road connectivity between Dumfries and the M74

  • Improvements to the A75, A76, A77, A7 to ensure better connectivity north into the rest of Scotland, south into England, and east-west across Dumfries and Galloway

  • Improved rail links, including considerations of the re-opening of stations in the region to improving connectivity to Edinburgh, Glasgow, the north of England, London • Integrated transport services that involve road, rail, ferries

  • An end to cuts to the council’s funding from the Scottish Government, which is putting subsidies for local bus services at risk

  • Improved digital connectivity Smyth said the region needed equity with the rest of Scotland in the next round of transport investment.

“Current national policies disadvantage Dumfries and Galloway and our region repeatedly misses out. The Scottish Government needs to break down the barriers to transport investment.”

Image credit | iStock

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