This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Transport funding for South East Scotland
SESTRANS was today awarded £4.5 million to fund improvements to public transport in South East Scotland.
The Minister was speaking at the SESTRANS conference in Edinburgh on the proposed transport agency for Scotland and new regional transport partnerships of local authorities. This is part of a series of conferences being held by the voluntary regional transport partnerships to discuss how best to deliver services in their area.
Mr Stephen said:
"We must focus on improving public transport and that is frequently best achieved by a co-ordinated regional approach. Today I am awarding £4,501,751 to improve public transport in South East Scotland. I want the regional bodies and local authorities to work together to use this money to secure improvements, for example, to the bus infrastructure, such as bus stops, better bus information, park and ride facilities, bus priority measures and projects to make cycling and walking more attractive.
"We can help build strong communities and tackle poverty by connecting people to each other through better transport links. The key to this is joint working between local authorities and transport providers and that is why this funding will be distributed to projects through the regional SESTRANS partnership.
"One of the biggest challenges we face is the need to make public transport more attractive, safer and more sustainable in order to promote economic growth and to connect our communities.
"Scotland's local authorities will play a vital role in delivering better transport services. We have the resources in place - with spending on transport rising to £1 billion a year by 2006 - we must now agree the best way forward to deliver the benefits this investment will bring.
"By setting up an agency we can better integrate the way services are delivered and improve the quality of people's journeys. I want a framework that allows people to deliver to the best of their ability and regional conferences will help in agreeing how that framework might look.
"Working together will be crucial to our success. Local authorities, the regional partnerships, transport authorities and the Executive will all have an important role to play in bringing these improvements forward."
The transport agency will help deliver significant investments to secure improvements such as extending concessionary fare schemes, supporting direct air routes to Scotland and integrating improvements to roads and public transport.
The regional conferences began last week in Glasgow, with events held in Aberdeen and Nairn yesterday. A national conference to be hosted by the Scottish Executive will be held in Glasgow at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on November 25.
Scotland's Transport: Proposals for a new approach to transport in Scotland was published in September and the consultation will close on 17 December 2003.
The £4,501,751 in funding comes from the Other Public Transport Budget
SESTRANS is a regional transport partnership responsible for private and public transport as well as transport infrastructure in South East Scotland. It is a joint committee made up of nine local authorities in the region, as well as the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA).