Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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19 November 2008

Strategic Transport Projects Review

Ministers today set out a multi-billion pound transport blueprint to grow Scotland's economy.

The details were announced in the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), which sets out the future investment programme for transport in Scotland over the next 20 years - the biggest and most ambitious Scottish transport plan ever published.

29 major transport investment priorities across Scotland have been identified as supporting the future growth of Scotland's businesses and communities including:
  • A new strategy for a toll free £1.72-£2.34 billion replacement Forth Crossing - delivering a £1.7 billion reduction on original cost estimates.
  • The existing Forth Bridge will be made a dedicated public transport only corridor.
  • A new rail station at Gogar created to integrate with the Edinburgh tram network and provide onward connection for passengers using Edinburgh Airport.
  • Ambitious proposals to revolutionise the rail network including:
  1. Electrification of rail network.
  2. Major enhancements to Edinburgh-Glasgow line reducing journey time to 35 minutes, with 13 services per hour (from current 5-6 per hour).
  3. Key components of Aberdeen Crossrail scheme to be delivered. Improvements to the services between Aberdeen and Inverness will give consideration to a station at Kintore.
  4. Glasgow rail improvements, including construction of new city centre stations linking the rail networks to the north, south and east of the city and the development of a Metro / Light Rapid Transit network across Glasgow, improving access to areas of economic activity and key public services, such as the new Southern General Hospital.
  5. Faster, more frequent rail services linking Fife, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow - reducing journey times between Inverness and central belt by up to 30 minutes and by up to 20 minutes between Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
  6. Upgrade of Haymarket Interchange.
  • Upgrades to the A96, including dualling between Inverness and Nairn, new Nairn bypass, new Inveramsay Bridge, and new connection between A9 and A96 providing relief for the Raigmore Interchange.
  • Programme of improvements for A9 including upgrading to dual carriageway standard between Perth and Inverness.
  • Upgrades to the A82, including measures such as road widening at selected locations between Tarbert and Inverarnan and between Corran Ferry and Fort William, as well as climbing lanes and overtaking lay-bys, road alignments, junction improvements, hard strips.
  • Package of improvements to the A90 between Aberdeen and communities in the North East, building on existing plans to dual the Balmedie to Tipperty section.
  • A75/A76/A77 all to be upgraded to boost economic and tourism links with port of Stranraer, including dualling A77 around Ayr and Dalry bypass.
  • Proposals for new Dundee city bypass or upgrade of the Kingsway.
  • Strategy for new national park and ride sites serving Aberdeen at Dyce and Charleston, Dundee, Edinburgh at Pitreavie and Halbeath, and Glasgow at Bargeddie, Fullarton and Bannockburn.
  • Plans for a new national integrated ticketing scheme allowing people to travel across all public transport using just one ticket.
  • Rail and road infrastructure improvements to improve freight links from our major freight terminals of Grangemouth, Mossend and Coatbridge to key points across Scotland and into England.
The STPR is the first nationwide, multi-modal, evidence based appraisal of Scotland's current transport system and as forecast over the next 20 years.

During his statement to Parliament, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson also signalled progress on fast-tracked STPR projects - the Forth Replacement Crossing and the Edinburgh-Glasgow Rail Improvement Programme, the Highland Main Line between Inverness and Glasgow/Edinburgh via Perth and rail services between Aberdeen and Inverness.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Good transport infrastructure is vital to delivering increased sustainable economic growth.

"This STPR is at the leading edge of transport planning at a national level, it is ambitious and it delivers for the whole of Scotland.

"The programme I am announcing today identifies how we can improve the existing infrastructure we have, as well as targeting future transport investment priorities across Scotland over the next twenty years.

"We are already fast tracking key infrastructure projects such as the Forth Replacement Crossing and the Edinburgh to Glasgow rail improvements programme - projects vital to Scotland's economic growth. But the STPR identifies investment priorities across the country - from upgrades to key Highland routes like the A9, A96 and A82 to improvements to the rail services between central Scotland and our northern economic centres of Inverness and Aberdeen.

"The plans I have set out today clearly identify where we as a government see the priorities for investment against a backdrop of increasing pressure on our budget. This is a significant programme of prioritised schemes for delivery and the whole of Scotland is set to benefit.

"The Scottish Futures Trust will be central to securing maximum value for money for the public purse. As a centre of expertise which facilitates project collaboration, it will help release up to £150 million a year in extra investment in the fabric of Scotland's public services.

"To ensure effective delivery, we will take forward an action programme with key delivery bodies in the New Year. "

Mr Stevenson confirmed the Forth Replacement Crossing project will be taken forward via a Parliamentary Bill by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the design and location of the new station designed to integrate with the Edinburgh tram network and provide onward connection for passengers using Edinburgh Airport have been revealed. The £37 million station is to be built on the existing Fife line immediately to the north of the A8 (Gyle) roundabout. The station is part of the ambitious Edinburgh Glasgow Rail Improvement Programme announced last September and represents more cost-efficient alternative to the discontinued EARL project.

Mr Stevenson added:

"The Forth Replacement Crossing will be the biggest transport infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation. The serious doubts surrounding the future resilience of the current crossing to general traffic are now well understood. The need for a new bridge has not diminished and progress has and will continue to be made.

"I am therefore delighted we are now in a position to not only set out the next steps for this vital economic lifeline for the East Coast but also, as our work becomes more detailed, identify how to deliver this project as efficiently as possible."

Today's STPR announcement sets out future transport investment priorities for Scotland's strategic transport networks and which will open up business opportunities and deliver sustainable economic growth.

Today's STPR announcement sets out the investment priorities for Scotland's strategic land-based (road and rail) transport networks.

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency responsible for trunk roads, rail and national concessionary travel. It is an Executive agency directly accountable to Scottish Ministers and came into effect on January 1, 2006.

The STPR was carried out by Government agency Transport Scotland, which is already delivering major schemes such as the rail links to the Borders, Glasgow Airport and between Airdrie and Bathgate. Among a number of road improvements, it is also delivering the M74 Completion, Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and last month opened the Clackmannanshire Bridge across the Upper Forth.

By 2011, Transport Scotland will be well on the way to delivering £12.5 billion of net economic benefit for Scotland and will have supported more than 13,000 jobs across the construction, road maintenance and rail industry in the last year.

Stewart Stevenson
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fiosZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

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