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Scotland's Transport Programme
The new Scottish Government will move forward with a transport programme that will be 'ambitious, achievable and value for money', MSPs were told yesterday.
The Government accepted a parliamentary vote to proceed with the Edinburgh Trams project within the budget limit set by the previous administration.
It also agreed to report back to Parliament in September on the governance defects identified by the Auditor General in the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) project and to make no new financial commitment to the project in the meantime.
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson used the debate to set out a programme of major transport projects which include:
- Commitment to the Airdrie to Bathgate rail link
- Support for the Borders Rail Link subject to funding conditions being met
- Commitment to proceed with the Glasgow Airport Rail Link
- Completion of the current Waverley Station improvements
- An improved project structure to take forward work on the Stirling- Alloa- Kincardine rail line
- A decision to begin a programme of public information exhibitions on the proposals for a bridge option close to the existing Forth road bridge and a tunnel up stream from the existing bridge for the Forth Replacement Crossing
Mr Stevenson said:
"We believe that all transport projects must be founded on sound justification, and robust business cases. We presented to parliament today a programme of investment that met those conditions. As part of this prudent approach, I announced Cabinet's decision to begin a programme of public information exhibitions on the proposals for a bridge option close to the existing Forth road bridge and a tunnel up stream from the existing bridge. A decision on the preferred option will be taken in the autumn.
"The Auditor General's report on the Trams and EARL projects utterly vindicated our decision to review these projects. The Auditor General identified issues with the projected timescales, no clear governance framework or procurement strategy in place for EARL and a funding shortfall for Trams.
"We have been asked to take significant risks with Scottish taxpayers money on 'all or nothing' projects. Despite the significant issues raised in the Auditor General's report, parliament has voted to continue work on Trams and not to make any new financial commitment to the flawed EARL project pending a report back to parliament in September.
"In accepting the decision of parliament we will continue to act prudently in the management of public money and ensure that, as far as possible, checks and balances are in place to protect taxpayers in the delivery of these risky projects."
"For roads our priorities are firstly maintaining and operating the existing network safely and efficiently. Secondly, managing demand to reduce congestion at key locations to minimise impact to the economy and finally, investing in new capacity where it has been demonstrated through robust appraisal that it is appropriate to do so."
The Minister set out the following priorities for roads:
- A commitment to complete the M74 extension
- To complete the missing gap in the M80 between Stirling (Stepps to Haggs)
- A commitment to complete the key link between the M8 at Baillieston to Newhouse
- A commitment to proceed with the delivery of the A90 Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route