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Highland MSP slams Greens for seeking end to A9 and A96 dualling, citing 'vital' improvements

By Scott Maclennan

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Jamie Halcro Johnston.
Jamie Halcro Johnston.

Highlands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has warned SNP ministers not to give in to pressure by the Scottish Greens to scrap the dualling of the A9 and the A96.

Co-leader of the Greens Patrick Harvie’s party wants free bus fares for young people and believes the scheme could be funded by cancelling major motorway projects.

Two of those that could be in line for cancellation should the Glasgow MSP have his way are the dualling of the A9 and the A96 – both long-awaited projects for those in the north.

When they were announced, business leaders lined up to underline the economic importance of the development to the Highlands while locals were delighted that the dualling would make travel to the central belt safer and faster.

But with the SNP needing the support of at least one other party to pass its budget, Highland Conservative MSP warned the government not to give in to the Greens' demands.

Mr Halcro Johnston said: “The dualling of the A9 and the A96 are vital projects for the Highlands and Islands.

“They are the arteries of our region and these projects will help boost our local economies, improve safety for road users and increase connectivity for communities across the region.

“They are vital parts of our future transport infrastructure and local people, businesses and those who visit our region will expect the SNP to deliver on their promises to dual the routes.

“With the SNP government already proposing to slash the budget of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, whilst also leaving councils across the region struggling to maintain vital services, we cannot afford any more bad news or u-turns from the SNP.

“SNP ministers must not allow themselves to be held to ransom by a party with just six MSPs, only one of whom actually represents the Highlands and Islands.

"The SNP must stand firm against these demands and push on with getting these routes dualled.”

Related article: Scottish Government transport minister Michael Matheson tells Highland business leaders and politicians government is still "committed" to A9 and A96 dualling projects

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