The long-awaited City Region deal will be unveiled today – unlocking £1billion of funding for the north over the next 20 years.
The Press and Journal can exclusively reveal today’s announcement includes an initial confirmed investment of £315million.
The deal – which will be unveiled by Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop and Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown – will help deliver new roads and homes, and transform Inverness Castle into a major attraction for visitors.
The initial funding – which includes £135million and £53million from Scottish and UK governments respectively – was last night hailed as “massively important” for the area, including the wider Highlands and Moray.
The Scottish Government said last night the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal would bring a “step change” in the transformation of the area.
The funding will be invested in the trunk network to improve the A9/96 link road and ease congestion at the Longman interchange through grade separation, the Press and Journal understands.
There are also plans for substantial investment in Inverness Castle in an effort to boost tourism and the regional economy.
And the Scottish Government will invest in delivering 6,000 new houses over 20 years, 1,800 of which will be affordable homes.
Additionally, the city deal will support the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies at the new multi-disciplinary centre for clinical research and teaching on the University of the Highlands and Islands campus.
Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown hailed the deal, adding: “Cities and their regions are the engines of our economy.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our clear and strong commitment to Inverness and the wider Highland region, which we recognise have a key contribution to make to the future prosperity and economic growth for Scotland.”
He said the investment in roads would improve access to and within local communities as well as to jobs, education and healthcare.
And the deal would support Highland Council’s ambition to be the most digitally connected rural region in Europe, he added.
He went on: “The successful delivery of the Inverness City Deal will bring significant positive benefits to both the local and national economies and I am delighted that we have been able to secure this.”