Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has said that he is now deeply concerned that the SNP Government will miss their 2025 deadline to complete dualling work on the A9.
The Scottish Conservative MSP was speaking after Transport Secretary Michael Matheson wrote to him conceding that the SNP’s promise to complete the work between Inverness and Perth by 2025 would be ‘very challenging’ to meet.
Mr Halcro Johnston had raised the schedule of both the A9 and A96 at a meeting of Holyrood’s Rural Economy Committee, and then highlighted concerns over the timescales with the First Minister herself at FMQs where she failed to rule out any delay.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “I have been increasingly concerned that the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering these vital improvements to our road infrastructure is weakening."
“Coming so soon after the First Minister failed to assure us that the deadlines will be met, Mr Matheson’s admission that the targets to complete the A9 are “very challenging” is far from encouraging. This all rather feels like the SNP rowing back on their pledge to complete the work, with ministers now fearing the worst and desperately trying to manage expectations."
“It cannot be overstated how important these transport improvements are, and we simply cannot afford any more delays, especially with the Highlands and Islands trying to recover from the dreadful economic impact of the pandemic. The Scottish Government should be prioritising these schemes, not getting its excuses in early and leaving the Highlands and Islands in limbo."
“Improving these roads is an investment in communities across the region and the SNP must meet its own commitment to deliver this work and deliver it on time”.