Detailed negotiations are taking place with Network Rail to try to ensure a rail link to the Borders is completed on time, MSPs have been told.
Alex Neil, the Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, insisted the Government was committed to finishing the project by the end of 2014. He said the railway line, which will run from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, was an “essential part of the jigsaw” for the economic future of the region.
He spoke out after it was revealed last week that the line, expected to cost between £235 million and £295m, would be delivered by Network Rail. That happened after two of the three bidders for the work pulled out of the fight for the contract.
Mr Neil told members of Holyrood’s infrastructure and capital investment committee that the SNP administration remained “very committed” to the scheme going ahead.
He said: “We maintain our intention to complete the Borders railway by the turn of 2014-15, because we regard the Borders railway as an essential part of the jigsaw of maintaining high levels of economic activity in the borders region of Scotland.”