AN MSP from the region has called on the Scottish Government to “come clean” on its intentions to improve the A75.
Galloway and West Dumfries representative Finlay Carson has renewed calls for investment in the trunk road.
A nationwide transport infrastructure review published by the UK Government earlier this year said maintaining and improving the route is “crucially and strategically” important towards enhancing connectivity across the country.
During a debate on Scotland’s roads at Holyrood, Mr Carson challenged Transport Minister Graeme Day on the issue.
He said: “Does the minister agree that the Scottish Government needs to put aside its petty and divisive position and work with the UK Government, particularly if the Hendy report recommends major investment in the A75 for the good of the whole nation, and given that my constituents do not really care what purse the money comes from?”
Responding, Mr Day said the UK Government “needs to show some respect for the devolution settlement”.
He added: “We have adopted a focused and rigorously assessed approach to investing in our road network that balances the needs of our people with our climate ambitions, and we will continue to do so.”
The Minister said that following COP26, there is a need for the Government to “shift away from spending money on new road projects” and increase spending on public transport and active travel.
Mr Day added he will set out plans for future investment in Scotland’s transport network in the Government’s upcoming second Strategic Transport Projects Review.
Ahead of the debate, Mr Carson said it would be a “real test” as to where the Government sat on plans to fund the dualling of the Gretna to Stranraer road, adding it was time for ministers to “come clean” on the subject.
But he seemed largely unsatisfied following his exchange with Mr Day, saying: “I think the transport minister needs to remember that Scotland is served by two parliaments – one that wants to invest in improving the A75 because of the significant impact it will bring to the national economy as well as that in the south west corner of Scotland, all too often forgotten by the Nationalist administrations over the last 14 years.
“Instead the other parliament and its ministers would rather play constitutional politics despite the obvious benefits any road improvements would bring to the south west.
“I know that my constituents do not care where the money comes from to upgrade the A75 and A77 as they just want to see the investment going in to sustain crucial routes in this area.”