SNP ministers have included a Glasgow metro system, potential tram extensions for Edinburgh and replacing some island ferry routes with bridges or tunnels in their ambitious 20-year transport investment vision.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson unveiled his blueprint for future transport investment, but concerns have been raised that there are no set budgets or timescales for any of the projects, with Mr Matheson only able to commit to projects being brought forward in the next 20 years.

The Scottish Government’s second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) includes 45 recommendations which ministers hope will make transport in Scotland more sustainable.

Thae strategy includes mass transit systems, including the Clyde metro for the Glasgow region and regional transport plan for Edinburgh and south east Scotland which could include further tram extensions and a rapid transit system for Aberdeen.

The blueprint also includes “the investigation of some potential fixed link connections (bridges or tunnels) at the Sounds of Harris and Barra, and between Mull and the Scottish mainland”.

The document admits that “the current ferry routes on the Sound of Harris, Sound of Barra and between Craignure and Oban face a number of issues and challenges”.

It suggests that “replacing ferry services with fixed links (bridges or tunnels) can improve reliability, connectivity, capacity and crossing times”.

It proposed a Sound of Harris fixed link to improve connectivity between the Uists and Lewis/Harris and a Sound of Barra fixed link between Barra and the Uists.

It adds: “The provision of these fixed links would allow for the reconfiguration of transport provision between the Outer Hebrides and the mainland.

“The provision of a fixed link between Mull and the Scottish mainland would allow for the reconfiguration of transport provision between the island and the mainland.”

The strategy recommends “further work is undertaken on business cases to better understand the benefits, costs and challenges”.

It states: “These studies would consider the feasibility of replacing existing ferry services currently delivered by CalMac as part of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract.

“These studies would also ascertain the potential savings associated with the public sector subsidies required to operate the ferry services and involve input from communities that may potentially be affected.”

Other recommendations include the full decarbonisation of Scotland’s public transport network, improving active travel infrastructure such as cycle lanes and developing a net zero freight and logistics network for Scotland.

Mr Matheson said: “The investment decisions we make now have never been more important. A green recovery from Covid-19 will set us on a path to delivering a fair and just transition to net zero.

“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in travel behaviours and we want to ensure that people continue to make sustainable travel choices, that they return to public transport and our economic recovery does not overly rely on road-based travel.”

He added: “This review represents a repositioning of our transport investment priorities – the focus is firmly on how transport can help us protect our climate and improve lives. It takes a balanced and fair approach to all modes of transport, and all areas of Scotland.

“The recommendations set out in STPR2 will help deliver the four priorities of our National Transport Strategy - reducing inequalities; taking climate action; helping deliver inclusive economic growth; and improving our health and wellbeing.

“They’ll now go out for consultation and I urge individuals, community groups, businesses and public and third sector organisations to share their views with us so that together we can shape a transport system fit for a healthy, fair and green future.”

More follows.