South Scotland

Urgent south west Scotland transport investment plea issued

A75 Image copyright Peter Mackenzie
Image caption Routes like the A75 were highlighted as being in need of investment

A cross-party call for urgent investment in key transport routes across south west Scotland has been taken to Holyrood.

The debate was led by south of Scotland Conservative MSP Brian Whittle.

He highlighted concerns about the road and rail network - including routes like the A75, A76 and A77.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish government recognised the importance of the network both to the region and the country as a whole.

Mr Whittle said there had been a "chronic lack of investment" in the infrastructure in the area and many routes "long ago became unfit for purpose".

Image copyright Humphrey Bolton
Image caption The condition of the A76 was also flagged up in the debate

"We are beyond debate and discussion," he said. "The south west needs investment and it needs it now".

Fellow south of Scotland MSP, the SNP's Emma Harper, echoed those concerns.

She said it was important that all parties worked together for constituents across the region and that the transport situation was causing much "upset, dismay and frustration".

Labour's Colin Smyth said the area was the "forgotten part of Scotland" when it came to road improvements.

Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption Concerns about rail services were also debated at Holyrood

However, he stressed the issue went "beyond roads" and highlighted concerns with rail and bus services.

Mr Matheson said a strategic transport project review had started and was "moving forward at pace".

He added that the government had a duty to look at the whole of the country.

"We will continue to do what we can to get the right investments in our transport network right across Scotland, including the south west," he said.

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