The Scottish Government must deliver on its promise to the people of the Highlands to make railway travel to Inverness competitive with road travel according to the Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP.
Both the Welsh and Scottish Governments have recently declared climate emergencies and this week the Welsh Government announced it has scrapped plans to build a new motorway.
Mr Harvie highlighted this at First Minister’s Questions this afternoon, asking that since the FM insisted, “Everything is under review” whether the government would look again at the A9 and A96 dualling projects and instead redirect public expenditure from road building to a modern affordable and efficient rail network.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“More than ten years ago an SNP First Minister made a promise to the people of the Highlands that rail travel would become competitive with road. In the meantime, little has happened on the rail front, while huge investment has been committed to the A9 and A96 dualling projects.
“If these projects continue as planned this would mean that there were effectively four lanes of road heading to and from the Highland capital, but only one lane of rail.
“This week we’ve seen a welcome u-turn from the Welsh Government, scrapping its plan to build a new motorway in the face of the climate emergency. If the Scottish Government’s climate commitments are to be taken seriously, it must too rethink its polluting road plans, and instead invest in reliable alternatives.
“Dualling and electrifying the Highland Mainline could be done at a fraction of the cost of the road projects, and would bring huge environmental and economic benefits to the region. It’s time for the Scottish Government to deliver on its promises and provide a modern, affordable and efficient rail network which is fit for the 21st century.”