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£25b transport bid to get Scotland moving- Daily Mail

Daily Mail, 26 June 2009

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A road, rail and air hub should be built as part of a £25million transport revolution to help Scotland compete with other nations, according to a new report.

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The transport hub, named Grand Central, should be set up around Edinburgh airport and linked to cities north and south of the Border by high-speed rail lines, said independent think-tank Reform Scotland.

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The body’s Power to Connect report also called for improvements to the trunk road network, recommending that the A9 and the A96 be upgraded to full dual carriageways.

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The researchers said there should be further investigation into how road pricing initiatives such as tolls or congestion charges might be carried out north of the Border.

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But they added a Scotland-wide road pricing scheme would have to be an alternative to existing methods of paying for roads through fuel and vehicle excise duties and not an additional means of raising revenue.

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The think-tank said Holyrood would need greater tax-raising powers to implement its recommendations.

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The report authors added: ‘A transport system that maximises our potential for faster economic growth will not come cheap but it is an investment in our future prosperity.’

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Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson claimed the hub and a high-speed link between Edinburgh and Glasgow would cost £3billion, adding: ‘An integrated transport strategy is vital if Scotland’s economy is going to compete with the best in the world.’

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