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FIVE MAJOR SCOTTISH TRANSPORT PROJECTS ANNOUNCED

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Five major transport projects - stretching the length and breadth of Scotland - will benefit from£28.5m pound of a...
Five major transport projects - stretching the length and breadth of Scotland - will benefit from £28.5m pound of additional funding as winners of The Scottish Office's first Transport Challenge Funding competition.

Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth said that the successful schemes - in Kelso, Edinburgh, Angus, Mull and Achnasheen - were due to commence in 1997-98.

Mr Forsyth said: 'I am pleased to be able to announce that this, the first of our Transport Challenge Fund competitions, will result in almost £30m of additional funding going to the five successful projects beginning in 1997-98.

'The five winning projects include the Kelso Bypass and Hunter Bridge scheme being promoted by Scottish Borders Council, which will receive an additional £6.5m over two years, and the exciting City of Edinburgh Rapid Transit Guided Busway, with funding of £15m over the next three years.

'The other successful applicants are Angus, Argyll and Bute, and Highland Councils for roads projects between Dundee and Arbroath (A92), Salen and Tobermory (A848) on Mull and Achnasheen to Glen Carron (A890).

'This additional funding will allow a number of long-cherished projects from a wide variety of locations in Scotland to proceed. My announcement today demonstrates that the Challenge Fund concept which I have introduced can deliver positive results for applications which are well-researched, financially sound and show they can produce considerable benefits to the local community.'

Details of the five winning projects are:

-- The Kelso Bypass and Hunter Bridge project - Scottish Borders Council

-- The City of Edinburgh Rapid Transit Guided Busway - Edinburgh Council (the additional funding offer is conditional on some details being sorted out on this project)

-- The upgrading of the A92 between Dundee and Arbroath - Angus Council. This project is expected to be largely financed through the PFI

-- Improvements to A848 Salen to Tobermory road in Mull - Argyll and Bute Council

-- Improvements to the A890 Achasheen to Glen Carron route - Highland Council.

The Challenge Fund concept is aimed at providing an element of mobile funding which would help councils in undertaking proportionally large capital projects which an authority typically would otherwise be unable to afford.

An important element of the assessment process involves an analysis of the appraisal evidence submitted by the council in support of the project delivering value for money. The 1997-98 competition was also aimed at encouraging joint venture PFI projects and two such projects are winners (The CERT guided busway and upgrading of A92).

Successful councils will be required to submit action plans implementing their proposal taking account of the levels of additional consent offered. These extra allocations will be on top of the block allocation to be issued to each council as part of the agreed distribution process.

The short list for the 1998-99 competition will be announced separately in the near future. A finaldecision on winners in the 1998-99 round will be taken in March next year.

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