The SNP “must stop hammering motorists at every turn”, Douglas Ross has said, as he urged the party to drop plans for further taxes and commit to investing in crucial road upgrades.
The Scottish Tory party leader made the call as he visited Argyll and Bute on the local election campaign trail, where he met campaigners who have pushed for the Rest and Be Thankful route to be upgraded by the Scottish Government.
The section is prone to landslides, which often leads to disruption for motorists travelling on the A83 road.
Mr Ross suggested the SNP is “agreeing to the demands” of the Scottish Greens following the co-operation deal between the two government parties, pointing to “back-pedalling” on previous commitments to invest in upgrading trunk roads including the A83, A96, A75, A77, A82, A90 and A1.
The Tory politician also hit out at the number of potholes on roads across Scotland, which he said was the result of “savage cuts” to local authority budgets.
He said councils run by his party would set aside money for a local pothole fund in order for communities to call for repairs, in addition to opposing the introduction of any workplace parking levies introduced for employees bringing their cars to work.
The Scottish Government says the scheme will aid in reducing air pollution and congestion – but those opposed say it will only bring an added expense to workers during a cost-of-living crisis.
Mr Ross said: “The SNP-Green coalition are continuing to hammer the motorist at every turn.
“SNP ministers are now agreeing to the demands of their extremist friends in the Greens by rowing back on previous commitments to upgrade crucial trunk roads.
“They are also happy to hit workers with an extra tax for simply driving to work. We now know they want to go even further in Edinburgh and hit commuters with a levy for travelling into the capital. These attacks on motorists simply cannot continue.
“For many – particularly in our rural communities like the ones I visited in Argyll and Bute – a car is a necessity, not a luxury.”
“SNP-Green ministers are increasingly out-of-touch with these communities who have been crying out for years for roads to be upgraded. On the SNP’s watch roads have been allowed to crumble due to savage cuts to our local authorities during their 15 years in power.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to ensuring continued road access in and out of Argyll and Bute for the benefit of everyone who lives there, operates a business there or wants to visit the region. We are working hard to find the right short, medium and long term solutions.
“Reaching agreement for the use of the Old Military Road (OMR) provides a suitable, short-term solution. It means we can reduce the use of the alternative longer diversion, via Inverary and Crianlarich, saving travellers, especially businesses and hauliers, valuable time.
“We will continue to use the OMR until a medium and long-term solution can be implemented.
“Transport Scotland has spent over £15 million in landslide measures at the Rest and Be Thankful and they, along with the use of the OMR, have meant that the longer diversion has not had to be used since February 2021.”
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