THE Scottish Government has no excuses not to deliver now on the future upgrade of the A75, insists Finlay Carson MSP.
He argues that it needs to come forward with committed timescales for delivery of STPR2 recommendations on the A75 and A77.
The Galloway and West Dumfries MSP believes all the “economic and social arguments” have already been undeniably made in favour of urgent improvements.
And he has urged the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee to hold Ministers to account and make good previous commitments.
In a written submission to the committee, Mr Carson said: “I would urge the committee to request that a stakeholder meeting is held in Holyrood, or preferably in Dumfries and Galloway to hear firsthand from the Transport Minister and Finance Minister, their timescales for implementation of the improvements.
“It is my understanding that this was a previous request made from the committee. It is time for them to press the Scottish Government for committed timescales for delivery of STPR2 commitments on the A75 and A77.”
He explained: “Both roads contribute enormously to both the local, Scottish and national economies, yet they have been starved of any significant investment despite repeated commitments by the Scottish Government.
“Promises have been made but failed to be delivered, leaving motorists and hauliers who use this road that serves the ports at Cairnryan, both frustrated by its reliability, resilience and safety record.
“In the past five full calendar years there have been seven fatal collisions on the A75, the most recent being only a few weeks ago. At the same time there have been countless accidents that have resulted in serious injuries.”
Mr Carson revealed the road has been closed on 18 occasions in 2023 for unplanned incidents, road traffic collisions and flooding.
It has also been closed 13 times for planned road maintenance works which adds further to the poor reliability record.
Highlighting the growing need to improve the A75, the MSP pointed to various economic reports that show the route transports £17 billion worth of goods annually.
He continued: “The UK Government has committed to providing £8 million to the Scottish Government to develop options to improve it – and has promised further funding to deliver targeted improvements to alleviate pinch points as well as bypassing the villages of Springholm and Crocketford.
“This is a welcome move and it remains imperative that the Scottish Government works collaboratively with its UK counterparts to ensure progress is, at last, made in improving a road often described as a goat track.
“The UK Government funding commitments in relation to the A75, which strictly speaking is a devolved funding responsibility, will have a knock on effect of reducing the STPR2 budget commitment made by the Scottish Government.”