MARK Ruskell MSP has called on the Scottish Government to commit to funding feasibility studies for Stirling and Alloa to Dunfermline rail projects through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City-Region deal.

Ruskell questioned Economy Secretary Keith Brown in the Scottish Parliament on October 5 on funding for this rail project.

The Scottish Government announced last month that it would provide feasibility funding for the Levenmouth rail project in Fife.

Ruskell said: “The city deal should be a strong driver for investment in low-carbon infrastructure and the proposed Stirling and Alloa to Dunfermline rail project certainly fits this bill.

“This project has the potential to be transformational. The cabinet secretary indicated that the Scottish Government would give full consideration to any proposals put forward by councils, it is therefore vital that Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils put their weight behind this project.

“Now that Longannet is closed there is an opportunity to improve connectivity between West Fife and Central Scotland, and replicate the success of the Stirling/Alloa/Dunblane reopening.”

He proceeded to ask Mr Brown if he could see opportunities to deliver feasibility work on the Stirling to Dunfermline route through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire deal.

The cabinet secretary responded by saying something must be on the table before it can be considered.

He told parliament: “We have to look at the deals that are proposed to us and decide which ones we will support. If the council does not put forward the projects that the member is talking about, they cannot be considered.

“My colleague Humza Yousaf has already spoken about the different ways in which the Levenmouth rail link could be taken forward and he has addressed the chamber on the issue.

“As for the other deals that Mark Ruskell mentioned, whether it be St Andrews, or Alloa to Dunfermline, it is down to the councils to bring them forward,” he added.

“Even if they do so, we cannot guarantee to fund them, but we can guarantee to look at all the projects that are submitted.”

Meanwhile, Mr Brown has confirmed that Stirling and Clackmannanshire will definitely benefit from a City Region deal.

Confirming the move, he said: “City region deals act as enablers to drive inclusive economic growth by enhancing alignment between national, regional and local ambitions, strategies and resources.

“They bring in crucial investment and engagement from the private sector and pave the way for regional economic partnerships, focused on delivering long-tern economic growth.”

He continued: “Having committed over £1billion over the next 10-20 years for city region deals, it is now time to expand our regional economic policy to deliver a transformational city region deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

“We have already seen how transformational city regional deals can be in galvanising regional partners to drive productivity and economic growth, and I want Stirling and Clackmannanshire to benefit from such a deal.”