Scottish Ministers have been urged to seize the chance presented in the UK budget to look at upgrading the notorious A1 road.
The budget put forward an offer to extend a feasibility study on possible improvements to the A1 north of Newcastle further north into Scotland if the Scottish Government provided match funding to cover the cost.
Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said he would reveal whether the upgrade in England would go ahead after the feasibility study is published in autumn.
But he warned: “If the Scottish Government don’t play ball, we can’t do the north of the border bit by ourselves, because they are responsible for roads.”
However, Transport Scotland said its objective was to promote a “continuing reduction” in accident rates rather than exploring dualling.
A spokesperson said: “Two thirds of the A1 between the Borders and Edinburgh are already dualled and it is safe, efficient route with very few reliability issues. We are engaging with the department for transport on their study.”
Councillor Michael Veitch, East Lothian Council’s transport spokesman, argued: “The time is right for the Scottish Government to commit to a feasibility study and take an important step forward in ensuring the long overdue upgrade of this important route.”
East Lothian MSP Iain Gray said: “The budget presents a new opportunity for the Scottish Government to listen to the widespread concerns expressed about this section of the A1 and rethink its stance.”
Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “An upgraded A1 will make the road safer, and it will have a positive economic impact across East Lothian, Edinburgh and Borders.”