Date set for Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond at A9 inquiry

Dates have been set for Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon to answer questions in front of a committee examining the SNP government’s failure to dual the A9.

Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee previously heard from former transport ministers including Alex Neil, who was in charge of delivering the government’s roads policy after the SNP won the 2011 election.

Mr Salmond will appear on May 8, followed by Ms Sturgeon on May 29.

Inverness MSP Fergus Ewing wants them to provide clarity on where the money has gone.

He told The Press and Journal: “I was pleased that colleagues on the petitions committee agreed that we should hear evidence from the two first ministers with regards to what happened to the failure to deliver on the pledge to dual the A9 by 2025.

“The reason why this is so important is this – the committee has taken evidence from Transport Scotland, the industry and the current and previous transport ministers.

“But we do not feel that we have got to the bottom of the questions of what happened to the money which Alex Neil said was there to pay for the work.  And why was it not applied to dualling the A9?

“It is our job to seek answers that the public wish to know; as well as to make recommendations about what needs to be done in future to see the project completed as quickly as possible.”

Jackson Carlaw MSP

The SNP government now says it will complete the work by 2035.

Committee convener Jackson Carlaw said the probe would help to ensure there was no “backsliding” on the latest pledge.

He said: “Having taken evidence from a wide range of stakeholder and previous transport ministers, there are still fundamental unanswered questions around why the A9 dualling project was allowed to fall so far behind the originally promised completion date and where responsibility for that failure lies.

“As former first ministers, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon can hopefully shed some light on the governance and decision-making processes at the very top of government during their time in office and help the Committee to understand what needs to change to ensure there will be no backsliding on the new 2035 anticipated completion date.”

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