Don't let us have a North/South battle

The suggestions (probably mischievous) that the Scottish Government is planning to ditch the massively expensive plans for trams and a rail link to Edinburgh Airport in favour of dualling the A9 road to Inverness have been orchestrated to try and create conflict. The schemes should be looked at on their merit.

Here in the Aberdeen we are surely quite dispassionate on the merits of the A9 dualling. A lot of us seldom use the road and are much more animated about the desperate need to dual the A96!

But, from this dispassionate stance, it seems to me that the A9 offers massive and obvious infrastructure benefits of national significance. There is also no question that it would reduce the terrible human cost of this sub-standard road link.

On the other hand we have the tram scheme for Edinburgh. That could be a huge benefit to the people of Edinburgh, visitors and tourists. But is its national significance as great as putting a adequate "spine" road up the middle of Scotland to connect the Central Belt with the North? I don't think I need to answer that.

dual carriageway
One of the few sections of dual carriageway on the notorious A96

Next the airport. The plan is to spend hundreds of millions on connecting Edinburgh Airport to the rail network. Here the benefit is said to be for people around Scotland to get to the airport.

I can count the number of times I have used, or wanted to use, Edinburgh Airport on the fingers of one hand.

I simply cannot see it being of huge national significance that I could get a train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh Airport when I can hopefully fly most places I want to go out of Aberdeen! Even if I did decide to go to Edinburgh Airport, am I likely to want to spend three hours on a train getting there, when I can drive there in two?

And even if you put on your environmental hat, if I fly from Aberdeen the chances are that I am reducing my carbon footprint compared to travelling to Edinburgh before even stepping aboard the aircraft.

On a final note. I was reading this morning about the network of wonderful new motorways we are paying for in the new EU countries.

Should the EU not be funding at least a chunk of the cost of the A9 AND A96 dual carriageways?
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