>> 6 April 2010

SNP Gordon Westminster Candidate, Richard Thomson, has questioned Lib Dem proposals to remove billions of pounds from the UK roads budget, and demanded to know which road projects in the North East they would like to see cut if the policy were to be implemented north of the border.

Pledging the ‘biggest expansion of the rail network since the Victorians’, the Lib Dems are proposing to establish a ‘Rail Expansion Fund’ of £3bn, to be paid for by cutting the major roads budget by an identical amount. However, if the policy were to be implemented in Scotland, it would see over £300m removed from Scotland’s major roads budgets.

A cut of this nature would have a significant impact on the ability to pay for road repairs, and could significantly set back new road schemes, such as improvements to the A96, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the Balmedie-Tipperty by-pass.

Mr Thomson said:

“For years, the North East has been left behind when it came to investment in transport infrastructure. Fortunately, since the SNP formed the government in Edinburgh, that situation has started to change, with significant improvements to the North East rail network and the progression of long-delayed road projects like the AWPR.

“Routinely, Lib Dem transport spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP calls for increased investment in road and rail. However, if this plan were to go ahead, there would be a lot less left for much needed road projects and their upkeep.

“The Lib Dems can’t have it both ways. Before casting their votes in this election, people deserve to know: is this a pledge which is ‘except for viewers in Scotland’, or are the Lib Dems seriously proposing to put lifeline road investment in the North East at risk?”

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