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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
'Less money' for north transport
A passenger boards a train
Better links between Inverness and Edinburgh have been proposed
Edinburgh's trams project will proceed at the expense of transport plans in the Highlands, north Nationalist MSPs have claimed.

The Scottish government backed down over its opposition to trams after suffering its first major Holyrood defeat on Wednesday.

Highland SNP MSP Rob Gibson and Dave Thompson said it will mean less money for other road and rail improvements.

A 15-year plan was recently drawn up setting out hopes for major upgrades.

Mr Gibson accused Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative MSPs of selling the Highlands and Islands short following their backing of the city's trams project and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (Earl).

The scheme was voted through by 81 votes to 47 after parties joined forces against the SNP.

Mr Gibson said: "By voting for the Earl and trams in Edinburgh they have taken the biggest projects which are going to concentrate on the capital and denude the chance of having major transport infrastructure in the north."

A9 upgrade

He said the result of the vote was particularly bad news for projects proposed by Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership in Scotland (Hitrans).

The statutory body agreed a strategy aimed at improving road, rail, air and ferry links over the next 15 years in March.

It included upgrades to the A9, A96 and Inverness-Edinburgh rail line.

The first phase of improvements would cost 168m.

Mr Thompson also said he was disappointed with the opposition's support for trams and Earl.


SEE ALSO
Climbdown after transport defeat
27 Jun 07 |  Edinburgh and East
A9 move 'not immediate priority'
30 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Transport plan for next 15 years
23 Mar 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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