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A75 upgrade flagged in key report

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A75 upgrade flagged in key report

THE Prime Minister has unveiled a commitment for better transport links between Scotland and the rest of the UK - and it includes plans to upgrade the A75 and the West Coast rail line.

Boris Johnson is calling on the Scottish Government to work collaboratively on projects as part of the creation of UKNET, a strategic transport network, to better connect all the nations of the UK.

The recommendations are outlined in the Union Connectivity Review by Sir Peter Hendy.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcomed Sir Peter’s “specific proposals for upgrades to the A75 and the West Coast Main Line”.

He said: “Our task is now to turn the vision into real improvements.

“I urge the Scottish Government to work with us to make that happen so we can deliver the benefits travellers want and businesses need.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “With some of the busiest travel corridors for both passengers and freight, strengthening transport connections between Scotland and the rest of the UK is critical to maximise the potential for growth and jobs.

“Sir Peter Hendy’s review identifies key areas where we can boost rail, road and air links to better support Scottish businesses and communities, and we will work closely with the Scottish Government to take these proposals forward.”

But South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said both governments must stop bickering and start delivering.

He added: “The report is a bit of a damp squib and states the bleeding obvious when it comes to the need for improvements to key transport links, which many of us have been highlighting for years.

“However there is no actual new money for the A75, details of where specifically these improvements should be made and the A77 is missed out altogether in any call for support from the UK Government.

“The constituents I represent in South Scotland don’t care who proposes the improvements or pays for them, they just want them to happen.”

Meanwhile, Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell said the report’s recognition that the current A75 is not fit for purpose is a ‘positive development’.

He said: “This is a strategically important road linking Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK and, after years of campaigning, I naturally fully support Sir Peter’s recommendation that ring-fenced extra funding for A75 upgrading be made available to the Scottish Government specifically for that purpose.

“I’m also delighted that improvements to the West Coast Main Line are proposed, cutting journey times, which would be good news for local travellers, tourism and other businesses.”

And Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell added: “These recommendations leave the ball firmly in the court of SNP Ministers at Holyrood and I’d hope they finally live up to their responsibilities.

“Improvements to transport routes such as the A75 and better railway connections should be a high priority.”

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