A LACK of infrastructure investment has left Dumfries and Galloway as the “forgotten region,” South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said.
During a debate on South West Scotland’s transport infrastructure at Holyrood, he called on the Government to make a commitment to invest in the area’s roads and rails.
Among his demands were the improvement of local roads such as the A75 and A77, increased rail links between Dumfries and Lockerbie and the re-opening of train stations at Eastriggs, Thornhill and Beattock.
Mr Smyth, right, talked of a “growing anger, that the south-west is the forgotten region of Scotland when it comes to investment in infrastructure.”
He added: “It is no wonder—of the £10.5 billion that has been spent by the Scottish Government on road upgrades since 2008, just £70 million has been invested in the south-west.
“There is now a genuine worry that the emphasis in the Government’s national transport strategy and draft infrastructure plan on repurposing what we have—after the Government has committed to spending £3 billion on dualling the A9 in the north but not a penny more on roads in the south-west—will mean that the region will lose out once again. If it does, not only will we continue with substandard infrastructure, but the already fragile local economy will be weakened. It is not just an issue about roads or other forms of transport infrastructure; it is fundamentally an issue about the economy.
“Political leadership from the Government will be required to make it happen, but, so far, the omens are not good.”