Reston and East Linton station reopening proposals supported
Two councils have agreed to support Scottish government proposals to deliver the reopening of two stations in their area.
The Scottish Borders and East Lothian authorities have backed the plans for Reston and East Linton.
The councils believe it could potentially allow the stations to be operational by 2021.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said he was delighted the councils had accepted the increased funding offer.
Following discussions with the Scottish government last year, both councils agreed to increase their contribution to the stations.
Scottish Borders would contribute £2.84m for Reston, while East Lothian would allocated £3.44m for East Linton.
Councillor David Parker, SBC's leader, said: "Both councils believe the proposed approach gives certainty about the stations' delivery.
"We believe the package is a significant step forward and we await the minister's positive response.
"Data this week from the Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor has revealed how the Borders Railway is beginning to provide significant economic and social benefits for the central Borders, and we believe the re-introduction of a station at Reston could do the same for residents in the east of our region."
Michael Veitch, depute leader and transport spokesman on East Lothian Council, called it a "hugely significant step" in the ongoing campaign to reopen the stations.
"The opening of these stations would be a game-changer for both East Lothian and Berwickshire in terms of massively improving commuting options and boosting the local economy," he said.
"Both local authorities have already invested significant resources to date in moving the project forward, and I am delighted that we have been able to reach this crucial stage in our discussions with the Scottish government."
Following design work undertaken by Network Rail, current estimates are £10.63m for a new station at Reston and £11.13m for a new station at East Linton.
Mr Yousaf said: "The Scottish government has always been a strong supporter of these stations and my substantial funding offer reflects the value we place on the social and economic benefits the stations could potentially bring to Reston, East Linton and surrounding communities."
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont said he hoped the projects could be delivered quickly and he praised the campaign for the reopenings.
"Whilst this is a welcome step forward, we should remember that this Scottish government has made generous promises about the delivery of these stations in the past," he said.
"Even if the transport minister accepts this proposal from the two councils, it could still be many years until stations are opened.
"We must ensure that we keep the pressure on the SNP to deliver train services to Berwickshire and East Linton as quickly as possible."