Local MSP Fergus Ewing has welcomed further progress on the A9 dualling programme.
His comments came after the Scottish Government announced the appointment of an engineering consultant to design the Luncarty to Birnam section of the route in Perthshire.
Transport Scotland announced that Jacobs will start developing a detailed design for the five-mile stretch of the A9 between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam, one of the seven sections of single carriageway earmarked for dualling.
Mr Ewing said: “I welcome the further progress on the A9 dualling programme.”
He added: “I am especially pleased to see this work given the financial pressures that we face , with a three billion reduction in our capital programmes from Westminster. This and this alone has prevented us from making even more progress.
“We are still and repeatedly making representations to the London Treasury that they should inject spending into capital projects to give the needed boost to the construction sector and I hope that they will, despite their failure and refusal to date, reconsider their approach to these representations from the Scottish Government.”
The Scottish Government says that following the public consultation earlier this year, engagement with communities in the Luncarty to Birnam area will be ongoing and there will be a further public consultation, before the final proposals for the scheme are announced in early 2014. Subject to all statutory processes being completed, construction is due to start in 2017.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This Government is committed to connecting Scotland’s cities with a high quality transport system that will generate economic growth. The A9 is a vital link in this network and this is the first Government to commit to dualling this route.
“The start of the design process for this stretch of the road continues the momentum for our £3 billion A9 dualling programme. It sets us on course for construction starting on this stretch in 2017 while the Kincraig to Dalraddy scheme is expected to start even earlier, in 2015.
“We have already invested £50 million on improvements between Perth and Inverness since 2007 and dualling the route will act as major catalyst for growth in these cities and bring real benefits for Scotland’s tourist industry.”