The long awaited Tay Road Bridge park and ride hit a further setback when £300,000 of funding towards the project slipped through the net.
An interchange on the Fife side of the bridge has been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
It had previously been hoped it would be up and running by 2015.
Now Dundee is set to launch a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the city centre next year, the need for the park and ride is becoming more urgent.
The park and ride would have capacity for around 350 vehicles.
It would provide an alternative to travelling between Fife and Dundee by car for commuters and visitors.
But Transport Scotland says more than £300,000 offered to Fife Council towards the project as part of the LEZ scheme was not used.
Questions over funding offer
Fife Council claimed just £65,500 of the £375,000 offered in the 2019-20 financial year.
And Transport Scotland confirmed there are no LEZ public transport provision grants available this year.
Lib Dem councillor Tim Brett represents the Tay Bridgehead ward in Fife.
He expressed “disappointment” with Transport Scotland.
And he questioned why the funding could not have been carried over.
“In the middle of a pandemic they could have been a bit more flexible with their funding,” he said.
“We were trying to use it but couldn’t.”
It is understood funding is needed to draw up updated plans for the scheme.
But this hit delays during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Councillor Jonny Tepp, Mr Brett’s Lib Dem colleague, is vice chair of the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board.
He said: “We weren’t able to spend the money quickly enough.
“We’re now in a situation where we have to ask for it again.”
Dundee to ban polluting cars
Dundee city centre could be a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) as early as May next year.
The move will ban petrol cars manufactured before 2006, and other vehicles considered too polluting, from an area within the inner ring road.
With full enforcement of the LEZ expected in 2024, there are calls for Transport Scotland to move quickly to fund a park and ride at Tay Bridgehead.
The site earmarked is a field south of the B946 just east of the Tay Bridge Roundabout.
Mr Tepp added: “If they want to keep older vehicles out of that part of the city, it seems sensible to have a plan to improve travel facilities on this side of the water.
“A park and choose will help to prevent vehicles from travelling into Dundee in the first place.”
Talks with transport minister
Dundee SNP councillor Lynne Short chairs the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board.
She said the case for a park and ride is set to be discussed with Scotland’s new transport minister, Graeme Dey.
“I know it’s definitely still on the agenda,” said Ms Short.
“We have a call set up with the new transport minister with that in mind because it’s a very important part of the jigsaw.
“It’s just a case of moving the project on. As far as I’m concerned now is an excellent time.”
Public transport boost
A new park and ride interchange south of the Tay would give bus services more flexibility.
Mr Brett says Fifers currently have to travel to Dundee to catch the Stagecoach 99 service to Leuchars and St Andrews.
The only way to achieve better services was to see a park and choose here.”
This is because the nearest stop for Tay Bridgehead residents is at the Forgan roundabout. Getting to the stop involves crossing the treacherous A92.
Mr Brett said: “Residents in Tay Bridgehead currently have to travel into Dundee to access many bus services to Leuchars and St Andrews.
“Our campaign to stop the 99 bus at the Tay Bridge car park floundered. Bus and bridge operators told us the infrastructure was not suitable.
“The only way to achieve better services was to see a park and choose here.”
‘Significant’ government grants
The Scottish Government says it is providing “significant” funding to the four cities introducing LEZs.
Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are also adopting LEZ schemes.
“This year we have provided capital grant of £722,000 to Dundee City Council to establish an LEZ enforcement system,” said a Scottish Government spokesperson.
Dundee has also been awarded £450,000 for public transport projects associated with the LEZ.