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The MSP whose campaign secured the Transport Summit for Dumfries and Galloway has called on all parties to work together to determine priorities for the region.
Joan McAlpine, who made the Transport Summit a key pledge in her “Dumfriesshire Manifesto” for the Scottish Parliament election, said there was a danger of the Summit being used as a political football.
Under the SNP Government more money has been invested in road upgrades in the south west than under the previous Labour administration, despite the fact that Scotland’s capital budget has been slashed by the Tories by 25%.
During the election, Ms McAlpine pointed out the regional transport strategy was out of date and that clear and ambitious new priorities needed to be set.
She said local political leadership has lacked ambition and pointed to other rural areas such as the Borders and the Highlands who had campaigned for decades for projects such as dualling the A9 and the Borders Railway.
“I called for the Transport Summit to define new priorities that would result in real economic advantages for Dumfries and Galloway and the regional capital of Dumfries in particular.
“Dumfries needs a fast link to central Scotland – so a faster rail link and improved access to the M74 would be my priorities.
“I am also very supportive of campaigners urging upgrades to the A75 and have met with them several times – including over the summer. I was delighted when the Transport Minister agreed to meet with them at my request.
“The Scottish Government has shown good faith in working closely with the local authority om this Summit. Labour and Tory politicians locally should not squander this opportunity by making cheap political points.
“However, if we work together to set long term priorities and ensure these are fully researched then we can hopefully make progress to better link Dumfries and Galloway with the rest of Scotland, as well as improving internal links within the region.”