LOCAL MP Alister Jack says he is encouraged by the ‘constructive tone’ of a letter he has received from the Scottish Government’s new transport Minister on improving the A75 and A77.
The Scottish Secretary welcomed the reply to a letter he wrote to Kevin Stewart, who was appointed to the transport portfolio in First Minister Humza Yousaf’s devolved SNP-Green administration.
In his initial letter, Mr Jack highlighted a comprehensive report commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Council and partner local authorities in Ayrshire and Northern Ireland, which outlined an economic imperative to improve the two routes.
He pointed out the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review had earlier highlighted the fact the A75 was a crucial freight link carrying two in every three heavy goods vehicles making the crossing between Northern Ireland and the Cairnryan ferry ports.
Mr Jack said: “My constituents in south-west Scotland have waited too long for these roads to be upgraded and I was delighted that in last year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced development funding for options to improve the A75, pending a business case from the Scottish Government.”
In his reply, Mr Stewart outlined work that the Scottish Government had previously done to identify strategic transport investment priorities for Scotland, culminating in the publication of a second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) in December 2022.
He wrote: “This could include, but is not limited to, enhancing overtaking opportunities, widening or realigning carriageways and improving junctions.
”I am pleased that both the Scottish and UK Governments agree that investment is needed on the A75 to improve safety and reliability, ensuring that the main route between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is fit for purpose.”
Concluding his letter, Mr Stewart added: “My officials at Transport Scotland are continuing to work with the UK Department for Transport on the proposal to access this funding.”
Mr Jack added: “I have long been clear that the way to improve the A75, a road I travel frequently, is for the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government. I am glad the new Holyrood administration has moved away from previous resistance to joining forces.”