Local MP Gavin Strang yesterday welcomed a major investment announcement in UK transport system from the Government.
Transport Minister Alisdair Darling announced that £5.5bn would be invested into the UK’s road, rail and bus infrastructure.
Concerns had been raised by environmental groups though, that an increase of investment in road building would lead to increase use of the motorway network instead of public transport such as rail.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday Gavin Strang asked:
‘I recognise the point my right honourable friend made about the strategic road network carrying two thirds of our freight, but will he reaffirm the Government’s commitment to major investment in rail freight? Will he confirm that the Government will continue to invest and take all measures that they can to get freight off the road and on the railways?’
While Mr Darling responded that rail freight had increased 28% over the last five years Mr Strang, speaking this week, still has concerns.
‘There is no doubt that this investment in UK transport infrastructure is to be welcomed, but I will continue to pursue the issue of increased capacity on the UK rail network. I still believe that rail provides an invaluable alternative to roads, for both passengers and freight, but investment is crucial.’
‘The rail network in Edinburgh East and Musselburgh needs important investment if it is to increase its capacity still further. I will continue to press the Government and the Strategic Rail Authority on the issue of railk freight and issues such as the Musselburgh Parkway Station as a means of providing an integrated transport network for East Edinburgh and the Lothians.’