A clear timetable has been set for the reopening of the Waverley line linking the Borders and Edinburgh.
The Borders link to Edinburgh should reopen by 2011
Campaigners had hoped that trains would be running on the route by late 2008 or early into 2009.
The announcement of Scotland's major transport initiatives by minister Tavish Scott looks to have established the opening date in 2011.
Confirmation of the £151m project has been welcomed but there has been local criticism of the time schedule.
Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale's Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis was happy with the commitment given to the project in the minister's announcement.
"The Borders railway is now one of the key transport projects in Scotland and the focus must now be on delivery," he said.
South of Scotland Tory MSP Derek Brownlee, however, was critical of the projected opening date.
"Given that trains were supposed to be running on the route by 2008, many people will wonder whether the executive is waiting until the election is out of the way to kill the project, like it did the A7 upgrade last time," he said.
In confirming the executive's transport priorities, Mr Scott said the moves - including the Waverley reopening - would boost the economy and increase travel choices.
"We have set ourselves an ambitious programme of delivery, one the envy of Britain, and we remain on target to deliver our programme of improvements to Scotland's transport infrastructure by 2011," he said.