After listening to a radio interview recently involving a local conservative MSP, I feel compelled to attempt to put the record straight.
It was yet again implied that the government funding that is earmarked to build the new Borders Rail Link could somehow instead be transferred to SBC to improve the borders roads network.
This is not the case and repeatedly making inaccurate comments in an attempt to discredit this £300million Borders transport investment, is not helpful to anyone.
It was also indicated that the completion date “could” be delayed by one year or even longer. I have checked this out, the programme of works is going well and the track laying will begin soon with 2014 still the target date.
Sadly this doom-and-gloom tactic appears to be having a negative effect on Borders residents and, in simple terms, I would like to offer my more positive view as an SBC councillor in an attempt to put minds at rest.
Scotland’s share of the railways budget from Westminster will be used to fund the lion’s share of the project. SBC will contribute about 10 per cent spread over a long time, and this funding will be progressively collected from developer contributions.
At the moment, we have two main transport arteries into Edinburgh, the A68 and the A7. This project will increase the number of routes to three and Borders council tax payers will not have to personally foot the bill.
We should also remember that Waverley Station does not have to be our final destination. As in most other regions of the UK, we will be able to travel by rail the length and breadth of the country and beyond.
I think the team at SBC and the Scottish Government have done a fantastic job and look forward to making use of this long overdue project.
Politically, the Borders Party has been forced to accept that it will happen. I suggest that the Conservative Party also come off the fence and back the scheme.
I’ll finish by saying to the people of the Borders: don’t listen to this party-political nonsense. We deserve our railway; it will once again allow the Borders and its residents to stand up and be counted as an integral part of the UK.
Cllr Jim Brown
Jed & District