Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil has written to Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, demanding that a share of the North Sea oil revenues be earmarked for investment in Ayrshire's road network.
Mr Neil said priority should be given to upgrading the A76 to dual carriageway between Kilmarnock and Dumfries and the A77 from Ayr to Stranraer should also be dualled.
In written answers to parliamentary questions Mr Neil was told that the cost of making the A76 a dual carriageway would be £500 million, excluding VAT. The cost of upgrading the A77 would be £450 million.
Mr Neil said:
“These figures sound a lot but when you consider that the Treasury will be raking in £12 billion a year for the next few years because of the huge increase in oil prices, it is only fair that some of this money is invested in Ayrshire.”
“We have one of the highest unemployment figures in Scotland and if we are to attract new jobs and industry into the county then we need a decent road network. Without first class communications to the north, east and south it will be very difficult to attract new investment into the area.”
“Indeed undertaking two big projects like these over, say, a five year period would directly create hundreds of new jobs and offer many of our young people the chance to learn new trades in the construction industry. A dualled A76 and A77 would also boost the Dumfries and Galloway economy, which is another part of Scotland desperate for new jobs and industry.”
“Funding these projects from the oil revenues over 5 years would only use up 1.5% of the total oil monies available to Scotland. In the longer run they would pay for themselves over and over again as new investment is attracted into the area.”
“It is time we were much more ambitious in Ayrshire. We need to think big if we are to create an Ayrshire economy which can grow and provide decent jobs for the next generation of youngsters.”
“£1 billion investment in our roads would be a good start.”