It is great to see work on city deals for the Tay and Edinburgh areas progressing, with their promises of vast riches for Fife.
The Tay Cities Deal could see up to 15,000 jobs created, with more than £1.8 billion of planned investment, while the Edinburgh version represents a deal worth £1.1 billion which could lead to 21,000 jobs.
On the face of it, it looked as if Fife was well-placed to get the best of both worlds by being part of a wider “region”, with the Tay to the north and Edinburgh to the south.
However, being stuck in the middle may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Fife will undoubtedly feel some benefit and many projects aimed at accelerating growth in the Kingdom will be in line for a hugely welcome financial boost.
There will be job creation, there will be growth, there will be initiatives to tackle poverty and there will be schemes to promote inclusion.
Nevertheless, there is a growing fear that city-centric deals could see vital major transport improvements fall by the wayside.
And the early signs are not good.
It is nothing short of a scandal that Levenmouth and St Andrews do not have rail links, considering their importance to industry, tourism and education, and these should have been put close to the top of priority lists many years ago. We’re still waiting.
It remains unclear if improvements in west Fife, such as the Dunfermline to Glasgow link, a new rail halt at Halbeath park and ride or even the Rosyth park and choose scheme will receive the fillip they need as a result of the investment proposed.
While we must guard against parochialism, surely there is an argument for better transport links from Fife into Edinburgh being prioritised above the £140 million mooted for the A720 city bypass at the Sheriffhall Roundabout and transport improvements across west Edinburgh.
Fife is ploughing £30 million of taxpayers’ cash into the Edinburgh deal alone, yet it seems the most we can expect are knock-on benefits from things going on over the Forth.
One MSP has suggested the deal favours Edinburgh to the extent that Fife’s place as a “car-dependent commuter belt for the capital” will be cemented. As things stand, it is hard to disagree.