APRIL 2007 NEWS
Monday 30 April 2007
Brisbane has rejected suggestion of road tolls - Courier Mail - "Wacky drought solutions axed".
London road traffic halved!!
Following the enthusiasm of New York Mayor Bloomberg, it appears that Washington DC is considering introducing a London Toll. It is a marvelous system after all and as this report says - "traffic in the city is down by nearly half" since the London charge was introduced - Washington Post - "Time for a D.C. Congestion Tax?".
In a similar vein there is a glowing report about the success of the London charge in the Gristmill - "A refreshing change of pace: sensible policy". Perhaps not so surprising that this report paints such a rosy picture as it is largely the exact words of the London Mayor in last Tuesday's Guardian.
No it 'asn't 'alved!!!!
This is a story that is amazing. Not only is someone (Vasko Kohlmayer) seeing through the mythical success of the London "congestion" charge, but it is on a Conservative website (not British of course) - Human Events - "New York Congestion Charge: A Warning from London".
USA round up 30th April
More on NY tolls - Gotham Gazette - "Planning for a Bigger, Greener City"
Other stories - Illinois / Missouri - "Gridlock on the Mississippi" Florida - "Ridge Road hopes ride on tolls"
A Road Oddity
Gennady Stolyarov II in Le Québécois Libre suggests selling off all of Canada's roads in small lots, and then tolling them - "THE MECHANISMS AND BENEFITS
OF ROAD PRIVATIZATION". Gennady is a science fiction writer, but it won't be too long before these proposals are being made by the usual troll interests.
Plates to go
A report about the theft of number plates, in part to evade the London charge - Oxford Mail - "Alert over registration plate thieves". Nothing new about that, but one of the officials says "More and more plates are being used to avoid congestion charges in London, so we do anything we can to stop that from happening." Anything?
Sunday 29 April 2007
More on Tuesday's story about the removal of tidal flow on Blackwall tunnel - This is Local London - "Discontent grows against tunnel move".
Will Britain pay New York's "congestion" charge? NY Post - "Traffic-fee bid puts city in jam with feds".
USA round up 29th April
New York - NY Daily News - "Meet the cloggers - Most drivers to be affected by Bloomberg's plan are from upper East Side, Queens" Times Herald Record - "City and town go green alone"
The Sunshine state might more aptly be called the Tolls state. So it is a bit surprising that it is reported that 72 per cent of the people don't like tolls - Naple News. By coincidence a new tolled junction is opening with razamatazz. What could only happen in America is that businesses have paid for the junction AND the toll booths - Palm Beach Post - "NASCAR star revved to lead pack to drop flag on interchange".
California has an uncommon idea for reducing congestion - Oakland Tribune - "Anti-sprawl bill gets lukewarm reception".
Other stories -
Indiana - "Privatization requires a cautious approach"
Washington State - "Just no escape on tolls Relief also sought for buses, vans" Connecticut - "New Tolls Shouldn't Give Anyone Pause"
Saturday 28 April 2007
There is yet another survey that has been sponsored by a commercial company to get publicity - Which - "Brits spend £51 billion to keep cars on road". We don't know how these figures have been calculated. Roads users pay a lot more than £51 billion - they spend that alone on taxes. One figure from the report that does seem right is that three out of four drivers are opposed to road pricing. A slightly higher figure think that its sole purpose is to gather tax - they are of course wrong, as the cost of collection and enforcement will be so high, that the Government could lose money.
USA round up 28th April
Texas - "Texas Senate throws up barricade to toll roads" Texas - "Texas Senate Approves Toll Policy Bill" Virginia - "Regional road authority faces some detours" Florida - "Toll test set on I-95 in quest for fastest lane" Texas - "Part Of Highway 360 Could Become Toll Road"
Tolls bite back
The toll bollards in Durham have been damaging cars - BBC - "Toll bollard claims 300 victims". It is suggested that the bollards should be replaced with turnpike style barriers, but these also cause damage to cars. The Durham "Congestion Charge" scheme is already a farce as it only applies to one short street.
Friday 27 April 2007
Today's Daily Politics Show covered Road pricing with Roger Lawson from the ABD speaking against it. The advocate for road pricing was from Transport 2000, who argued that we can't build enough roads to meet demand and that therefore we should not build any (funny how this argument isn't used about other services such as hospitals!) He also blamed the Government for not doing a good enough job in selling road pricing. He particularly cited Norway as an example of the scheme that Britain should have - strange as the charges there have had little effect and the longest established scheme was stopped.
Roger Lawson said that it was all a waste of money and that it was a regressive tax that favoured the rich and was designed to drive the poor off the roads. He pointed out that air pollution in London was worse since the charge was introduced and that traffic speeds having improved (according to official claims)were now back to what they were.
The show has a "Perception Panel" of about 500 people who give their views electonically during the show. The panel at the start and the end of the show were overwhelmingly opposed to road pricing. The BBC said that this was not "normal" and that other surveys indicated a 50:50 split. They then asked the panel "If it could be GUARANTEED that ALL the revenue from road pricing would go into public transport would you support the principle of road pricing." and got something nearer to the answer that they wanted. Given the mega billions that such a system would cost to implement and run, we wonder why the BBC posed such a question?
Norwich Lib Dems (and Tories) oppose charge
With an eye to next weeks' elections, the Lib Dems in Norwich have told the Norwich Evening News that "The congestion charge will be opposed.". Norwich is due to be one of the road pricing pilots. The Lib Dems are currently the second largest party with 12 seats. No party has overall control of the council, but Labour are the biggest party with 16 seats, and can rely on the support of 9 Greens. There are also 2 Tories, who oppose the charge.
USA round up 27th April
Emily Thornton in Business Week gives a detailed account of "Why investors are clamoring to take over America's highways, bridges, and airports-and why the public should be nervous" - "Roads To Riches ".
More on NY Con plan - USA Today - "$8 NYC "congestion fee" plan riles some" The Brooklyn Paper - "Taking its toll: Brooklyn pols blast congestion pricing" Queens Courier - "Queens pans congestion pricing plan" Economist - "Greening the Big Apple".
PS While the Mayor wants more tolls, the residents of South Queens want less. At a meeting of residents with the City Council's Transportation Committee on Tuesday, they asked that tolls on the Cross Bay Bridge be lifted, at least from Labor Day through to Memorial Day. Naturally this was refused and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (who represents the area that is most affected) said that "The fairness of the tolls is absolutely absurd.".
Other stories -
Connecticut - "State tries again for funds to study tolls" Illinois / Indiana - "Toll wars with Indiana continue" Massachusetts- "Roads, tolls hearing set in Holyoke" Florida - "Something has to give on U.S. 98 expansion" Idaho - "Funding for Highway 75 looks bleak - Tolls proposed as alternative" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike panel says high costs imperil Mon-Fayette, Southern Beltway projects - Toll roads may reach a dead end" Tennessee - "Tennessee House panel OKs toll road bill" Florida - "Florida House OKs bill that includes authorization to lease toll roads" Mississippi - "Will state residents pay tolls?"
Road to Hell
Despite previous experience of private toll roads, Mexico is to go down the private road way - Seattle Times- "Mexican leader pushes to privatize highways".
Thursday 26 April 2007
Toll payments on elastic
One of the bizzare practices in the tolls world is that in some cases the toll payers can claim the toll or part of it back from the Government. This used to be difficult but now that there are more electronic tolls, more people are doing it - Sydney Morning Herald - "Cashback takes its toll".
Scotland's Tories have been given Nought out of Ten by the "Friends of the Earth". That must mean that they should score Ten out of Ten from roads users! Not surprisingly the Scottish Tories have been disowned by the greenie Tories down in London - Guardian - "Scottish Tories get zero rating for green policies".
There are probably about 50 petitions against one toll or another. This one must be one of the most difficult to sign, as you have to go to the barbers - Evening star (Ipswich) - "Hundreds sign bridge toll petition".
"Are you happy with a new regional petrol tax?"
Some views - NZ Herald. One person unhappy with a regional petrol tax is the Mayor of North Shore. He thinks that as the tax will pay for mass transit it is not fair that it is added to fuel. That seems reasonable, but it is difficult to see why he thinks that road tolls are fairer - NZtv - "Mixed response to regional tax".
PS More views in NZ Herald.
USA round up 26th April
West Virginia - "Parkways Sells Interest in CASCI Building" West Virginia - "Parkways Warrants Greater Scrutiny" Indiana / Illinois - "Indiana-Illinois tollway pay disparity unfair" Washington State - "Cheaper, easier tolls lure crowds to decal sign-up" Washington State - "Pay now, drive later: It's latest in toll technology" Illinois - "Bridge plan lauded" Florida - "Lack of info takes its toll on I-75 debate" Minnesota - "MnDOT offers Uncle Sam toll lanes to get anti-congestion cash"
Tolls started today on the Cove Lane tunnel - ABC - "Drivers shun tunnel toll". Earlier report - Brisbane Times - "A free ride no more: toll puts tunnel to the test".
Indonesians are being encouraged to drive in such a way that less fuel is used - Jakarta Post - "Eco-driving campaign to cut emissions". Just in case they achieve this, they are threatened with road tolls!
Until recently, the advice to drivers in Britain was to go round urban areas in low gears so as to reduce speeds (and pay more fuel tax?). The advice from Swisscontact seems more sensible . "1. Anticipate the traffic, look as far ahead as possible 2. Drive smoothly and at a constant speed 3. Change gears economically, shift up gears quickly 4. Stay in higher gears with lower engine RPM (revolutions per minute) whenever possible 5. Coast a lot 6. Decelerate smoothly 7. Avoid breaking abruptly 8. Use engine breaking.".
Wednesday 25 April 2007
Cameron backs tolls
The Tory leader has told the Cambridge Evening News that he doesn't back road pricing (really?), but he wants tolls to pay for road improvements - "Cameron keeps an eye on road from hell".
The Road Haulage Association seem to be in tune with Dave, as a few days ago they said that they opposed road pricing but don't mind tolls on new roads - Press Release on 20th April. We can see why the politicians would ignore the fact that drivers are already paying seven times more than is spent on the roads, but wonder why the hauliers would forget this, and also forget the fact that many of them are boycotting the existing tolls. Is the RHA now part of the establishment?
USA round up 25th April
More stories on New York tolls plan -
Streets Blog - "Queens Chamber continues campaign against congestion pricing" Brooklyn Daily Eagle - "Critics slam congestion pricing as unfair tax on working people" Journal News - "Bloomberg right to call for fee to drive into Manhattan" Journal News - "What is the cost of traffic congestion? $8 if you're headed to Manhattan" Times Herald Record - "Will NYC be the Big Green Apple?" Politics NJ - "STACK TO BLOOMBERG: $8 PER CAR 'CONGESTION TAX' A JALOPY"
One of the excuses that the trolls give for more tolls is that cars are becoming more efficient in use of fuel - Wall Street Journal - "Fuel-efficient cars dent states' road budgets" Construction - "Taking the High Road to Funding? States Debate the Value of Tolling to Pay for Highways in an Age of Revenue Shortfalls" Newspaper.com - "State Legislation Expands Freeway Tolling"
Other stories -
Florida - "Not so E-Z to blend Florida’s toll system with other states’" Maryland - "Speed at bridge tolls at issue" Indiana / Illinois - "Toll fences don't make good neighbors" Florida - "Firms may get road rights" Texas - "Narrow-minded MoPac plan would take its toll" Florida - "Council says 'no' to bridge tolls"
Message for Big Apple
Following the announcement that New York will have a "congestion charge", these are some of the points we think that New Yorkers need to be aware of:-
If any charge is to have the claimed effect, then it can only be by forcing poorer drivers off the road.
The London scheme is very expensive to run. It costs about four pounds 50 pence (nearly 9 dollars) a day per vehicle that uses the charge zone. If they charge 8 dollars (with Manhattan residents paying half of that, and bridge tolls being refunded) then they will probably lose money.
Or will they make their profits another way? In London the profits originally came from the punitive fines for those who failed to pay on the day. Will they do the same in NY? And will they also use the London Mayor's trick of starting the daily charge at five pounds (ten dollars) and then increasing it to eight pounds (16 dollars)?
The London scheme did reduce traffic entering the charge zone, but had little effect on average traffic speeds which are now nearly back to where they were before the charge was introduced - Report in London papers June 2006 - "London cars move no faster than chickens". There are various possible reasons for this - the authorities are constantly restricting and reducing the available road space, many vehicles including buses and taxis don't pay anything, residents of the zone only pay 10 percent of the full charge.
The London scheme is claimed to have reduced air pollution, but these claims are based on their "estimates". The actual official figures show that some of the worst pollutants actually increased after the scheme was introduced.
There is a very high level of evasion (drivers use false or cloned or stolen number plates or do not have the vehicle registered at the correct address or are "foreign"). Would N.Y. be just as bad - or even worse. There may also be problems if a satellite sytem is used due to "canyon" effect.
Stores, small businesses, and particularly restaurants have been badly hit by the London charge.
If they tell you about the success of the Singapore scheme - Don't be fooled. Look at the facts on our website. Some people in Singapore also don't believe the claims of success. In February this year MP Low Thia Khiang told the Singapore Parliament - "Is the ERP (Electronic Roads Pricing) just a means to squeeze money from the motorists who face the same jam?".
If they tell you that the people of Stockholm were so pleased with their trial scheme that they all voted to kep it, then don't believe it. What really happened is that the people in the equivalent of Manhattan voted for it by a narrow majority, but the other residents who were the ones mainly paying the charge (the equivalent of people in Queens etc) voted against it.
Tuesday 24 April 2007
Ken & Co are up to the old tricks, this time they have removed tidal flow on Blackwall tunnel - East London Advertiser - "Row looms over Mayor Livingstone scrapping Blackwall Tunnel rush-hour contra-flow after 29 years". Mandy from East Sussex complains, but unfortunately she has never heard of ABD or NAAT - East London Advertiser - "Blackwall Tunell: Let's set up a website and petition".
Why Ken is smiling
America's favourite socialist gives his views on the New York tolls plan - Guardian Comment - "Why NY loves CC".
USA round up 24th April
Most news reports on the New York tolls plans repeat the fantasies about the "success" of the London scheme, but ABC checked whether this was true with the fount of all wisdom - Us -
"Will a Greener New York Help or Hurt the City's Working Poor?".
More stories on New York tolls plan -
Newsbusters - "Commuter Tax as Solution to Global Warming" New York Observer - "A Swaggering Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger's 'Soul Mate,' Sells Big 2030 Plan" Brooklyn Daily Eagle - "Gas Stations May Be Vanishing From the Downtown B’klyn Scene" Staten Island Advance - "ROUGH ROAD FOR PLAN TO CHARGE CARS" Newsday - "Fare deal for congestion" NorthJersey.com - "Jersey drivers to N.Y.C.: Take your tax and shove it" New York Sun - "City Leaders Meet in Support Of Mayor's Plan" New York Observer - "Brodsky on Congestion Charge and a "Vicious" Analogy" Sf1st- "If I Can Make It There, It'll Make it Anywhere" MSN - "Mayor's Green Proposals Include Fee On Cars Entering Manhattan" Gothamist - "Mayor Bloomberg Says Congestion Pricing And Likes It"
Other stories -
DC - "Roads - Why Tolls Aren't So Bad" Massachusetts - "Our view: Transportation fix requires spreading the pain" Mississippi - "Governor Signs 'Toll Bill'" Minnesota - "Toll lane could come to I-494 in Plymouth" Washington State - "520 plan gets closer, but not there yet, Chopp says" Pennsylvania - "Rendell stalls on oil tax, turnpike"
Manchester Toll - New threats
As the threat that they will not be given money has not deterred some councils from withdrawing support for the Manchester Tolls, the Government is now making fresh threats. A local MP, who is also a Local Government Minister, says that if the councils don't do what the Government says then they will be denied promised devolved powers - MEN - "Warning for c-charge rebels".
A report from China's People's Daily on a 2 day conference in Japan on "Environmentally Sustainable Transport" - "Asian mayors vow to work toward eco-sustainable transport". We wonder how the many people at this conference got there - balloon? And as the world's biggest nation perhaps China could consider having a tax on fuel?
"Tolls a grubby scam"
Mike Rutherford bravely gives his views on tolls to brainwashed businessmen - AOL Motoring. We applaud Mike's opposition to road pricing, but wonder why he asks those who oppose it to send him "a post card or letter" when they could sign our petition?
Monday 23 April 2007
USA round up 23rd April
The leaked New York tolls plan is now official - Mayor's speech yesterday Press Release.
Some reports on the NY tolls in papers -
NY Times - "The Mayor and his plan - Reaction" Today's Trucking - "New York mayor mulls carbon tax for trucks" nbsp; NY Indy Media - "How Green Is Our Mayor: Bloomberg announces PlaNYC 2030" WNYC - "Bloomberg Plan Receives Praise from Environmentalists, Housing Advocates" The Age (Australia) - "Car tax on cards for New York" Staten Island Advance - "Price for drivers has payoff for Island" NY Daily News - "Congestion pricing will steer us to Easy Street" NY Post - "DOWNTOWN NEEDS BIG HELP NOW" NY Daily News - "Living like this is killing the city Mayor unveils monster proposal to make our town more ecofriendly"
NY Post - "DRIVER 'FEE-Z PASS'" Metro - "The Green Apple? Mayor proposes charging fee for cars, trucks south of 86th street" Guardian (Britain) - "New York to follow London's example with congestion charge" USA Today - "Earth Day celebrated; NYC urges driving fee" New York Sun - "Greenest Policy Is Growth" New York Sun - "Bloomberg: 'If We Don't Act Now, When?'" New York Times - "Mayor Proposes a Fee for Driving Into Manhattan" New York Observer - "Heavy on Pomp and Swagger, Bloomberg Announces 25-Year Plan for the City; Schwarzenegger Declares Mayor His 'Soul Mate'" 1010Wins - "Bloomy Lays Out Plans for the Future of NYC" NY Press - "London's Congestion Pricing 'Success'" NY Observer - "Bloomberg's Big Plan: Congestion Pricing, Parks, Lots of Mass Transit" NY Daily News - "Want to drive in Manhattan? Pay up!" NY Sun - "Bloomberg Announces Sweeping Plans to Meet City Growth"
Other stories -
Maryland - "Many motorists are just passing through" Texas - "MoPac managed lanes: A question of safety" Pennsylvania - "Group draws up plan to fund transit, road repairs" Texas - "Commentary: Toll road deals merit scrutiny"
"Road charges face privacy challenge"
Report from conference on an offshore tax haven - This is Guernsey.
Toll plans resurface
We reported on the 5th "Toll plans sunk". Now another set of paid officials are having another go - Radio NZ - "Tough measures proposed to get Aucklanders out of cars" NZ Herald - "Force people out of cars, says Treasury" NZ Herald - "Your Views: Will you abandon your car?".
Sunday 22 April 2007
USA round up 22nd April
More on Friday's leaked tolls plan from the New York Mayor - Autoblog - "Mayor Mike readies $8 congestion fee for NYC drivers" NY Press - "Congestion Pricing Battle Begins"
Other stories -
Florida - "Tollbooths to be removed to cut crashes" Washington State - "Paying a toll for a troubled bridge over crowded waters"
Saturday 21 April 2007
ABD Press Release - "Climate Science Update (1)".
USA round up 21st April
More on yesterday's leaked tolls plan from the New York Mayor. It is clear that the Americans have been well and truly suckered about the effects of the London Con scheme. It is perhaps not surprising that they got involved in the quagmire of Iraq on the basis of "WMD" - CBS - "Drivers May Be Charged $8 To Enter Midtown" Forbes New York Business - "Bloomberg touts congestion pricing plan" Staten Island Advance - "Mayor mulls fees to drive in Manhattan" NY Times - "Drivers’ Fee Would Face Uphill Battle" NY1 - "Bloomberg Changes Tune To Favor Congestion Pricing" Monsters & Critics - "NYC hopes green plan will spread like smoking ban" London Times - "Manhattan looks across the Pond to get it out of a jam".
Another electronic toll tag system. The novelty of this is that you can turn it off and pay cash to avoid leaving a trace of your journey - Company press release.
Other stories -
New Jersey - "SJTA wants to make sure all tolls are accounted for" Florida - "I-75 toll vote unlikely" Texas - "New tollway flyover to open soon"
Here is a story that we would not have expected to see in the Guardian - "Councils cash in on parking zones". These schemes are a case of beggar my neighbour, or robbing Peter to pay Paul (or in this case the wardens and bureaucrats). What is needed is more parking spaces or less people!
Friday 20 April 2007
USA round up 20th April
The New York Times reports that despite previous denials, the Mayor is about to announce plans for road tolls - "Bloomberg to Announce Long-Term Vision for City".
That the Americans who are criticised by the London Mayor have fallen for all the myths about the London Congestion Charge may mean that Ken dies from a laughing fit!
PS Report in Daily News - "Mike eyes money drive - Motorists headed for midtown
would have to shell out under traffic congestion plan".
PPS A later report in the New York Times - "Congestion pricing: A long winding road". While the Gothamist refers to the Dark Wizard - "Congestion Pricing, Bloomberg's Voldemort". Associated Press report- "Fees to drive through NYC?". The Gotham Gazette says - "The High(er?) cost of driving". Reuters report - "NYC mayor mulls hiking tolls to fund mass transit".
The Economist does its best to peddle the road pricing myths. This time the target suckers are Californians - "Hit the road".
Other stories -
Florida - "Expressway Authority not sold on tolling I-75" Minnesota - "Agreement with Feds could bring big changes" Texas - "Delay 121 also" Texas - "Lawmakers offer their two cents on toll roads" Alabama - "Gov. Riley thinks toll roads could pay for state highways" Alabama - "Caution on toll roads" Illinois - "Tolls for I-355 south extension are fair" Florida - "Proposal could fund more toll roads" Texas - "Senate approves moratorium on private toll roads" DC - "Proposed DC toll lanes would have ‘no price caps’" DC - "Proposed DC toll lanes would have ‘no price caps’".
Newswireless blog about everything - "net.wars: Green spies".
"Road fees would cripple town"
Businesses in Shrewsbury say that proposed tolls would hurt business - Shropshire Star.
An article about what will be the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on us by the establishment - the carbon credit game - Daily Reckoning - "What Price Saving the Earth".
Give 'em stick
There was a conference on Wednesday to discuss the Eddington Report - brochure. The list of speakers seems mainly like a list of road toll advocates. It is reported on edie.net that the "academic friend of the Eddington review" said that 90% of road users would only do what was wanted if you use the stick.
Thursday 19 April 2007
Next step on Eurotolls
The Tolleaucrats are planning Europe wide laws to encourage all countries to adopt "congestion charging" - EUpolitix - "EU commissioner 'keen' on congestion charges".
Most get away with it
An investigation by the BBC reveals that most people caught by speed cameras escape proscecution, because they can not be traced - "Camera-caught drivers not fined". Based on this who are the ones that the Government expects to be paying its new road charges?
Local Pro toll Hero
On Tuesday MPs had a brief feeble debate about the Eddington report. The only one to raise road pricing was Owen Paterson, the Tory Shadow Roads Minister. He is famous for backing tolls as the working poor would have little choice but to pay.
He asked the Transport Secretary - "Sir Rod Eddington said that unless national road pricing was in place by 2015 there would have to be a substantial increase in inter-urban road building. Are the Government going to have national road pricing up and running by 2015? If not, what are they going to do?".
The reply he got from Dougie was - "As I have stated many times at the Dispatch Box, the position remains that we believe that the right way forward is first to have local pilots, developing local solutions to the congestion challenges in local communities. On the basis of the facts that emerge from those local congestion charging experiences, we will be able as a country to make a judgment on the merits of a national system of road pricing."
This exchange confirms that the Tories (except in Scotland) want road tolls, while the Government are now pretending that they don't. According to today's Shropshire Star this somehow makes Owen a hero.
USA round up 19th April
Florida - "Tolls approved for new lanes on I-75" Washington State - "Tacoma Narrows bridge" Alabama - "City formally asks for toll hike reversal" Connecticut - "A cap on state's gas tax is not the answer"
Wednesday 18 April 2007
Manchester Toll - It's official - Two out of Three people are eager to pay road tolls!!!
An organisation called "Manchester Is My Planet" apparently with the backing of the Manchester Evening News say that "Almost two-thirds of the region backs Manchester's proposed scheme as a way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.". Really? And who are "Manchester Is My Planet"? Experience elsewhere is that though organisations like this are run by greens they are funded by the authorities and business interests - MEN - "Green survey: Your verdict".
PS The Stockport Express has the news that first broke on Monday about Stockport and two other councils pulling out of support for the charge - "Congestion charge latest: Stockport Council says ‘NO’". We are a bit worried that the words used by the Leader of Stockport Council leave them free to rejoin the toll club after the May elections. Though elsewhere, Kevin Hogg, the chair of Stockport's Planning and Highway committee has said "I am dead against these stupid charges".
PPS The Labour boss of Greater Manchester Transport tells 24dash.com that there are no plans for road charges - "Latest: Manchester congestion charge scheme". Most of the politicans seem to assume that the voters are stupid. Let's hope that the politicians are wrong.
Cambridge MPs don't say no
We reported yesterday that Cambridgeshire, one of the pilot areas for road pricing, denied that it had any such plans. Almost as strange is today's story in Cambridge Evening News - "MPs cool on pricing plan". If you read the story it is clear that none of these MPS (Tories and a Lib Dem) are actually opposing a charge, and only one - Shailesh Vara - says that the people should decide.
Better Black Box
A Swiss company has announced a new improved GPS unit that seems to have road pricing in mind - u-blox Press Release.
Car industry bosses meet DfT to discuss Road Pricing Plan
RMIF and the NFDA have met with the Government to discuss how identification devices for road pricing may be fitted into new and existing cars - RMIF.
USA round up 18th April
Joel Connelly points out how officials can use opinion polls to get backing for their schemes - Seattle Post Intelligencer - "Polls, the port in need of constant scrutiny".
Other stories - Colorado - "The politics of widening I-225" Illinois / Missouri - "Could federal funds be in jeopardy for new Mississippi bridge?" Louisiana - "Bypass plan targets bottlenecks" DC - "HOT Lane Plan Comes With Promises" Washington State - "Lawmakers to require tolls on Highway 520 bridge"
Tuesday 17 April 2007
USA round up 17th April
- Florida - "Expressway Authority continues campaign for 10-lane interstate" Indiana - "Pssst, free money here!" Washington State - "Seattle commuters won’t be spared bridge tolls"
Bureaucrats sell tolls
Government officials tell cities that they should have more tolls - Courier Mail - "Cordon toll urged for cars" The Age - "Govt urged to admit Sydney's road chaos" ATN - "Road pricing reform to boost productivity". It is amazing how a lot of these toll proponents feed on myths from elsewhere. The report says that congestion in London has fallen by 20 per cent, not even the Mayor now believes this. The report also refers to Stockholm amd Wellington, neither of which currently have a con charge.
Government still selling quack medicine
The Government have renewed their campaign to sell road pricing. Partly indirectly through the RAC Foundation and their big business and establishment friends, but partly they have been busy themselves. Doctor Ladyman the No Roads Minister was today addressing a conference on technology in Birmingham. - DfT - "Smart Moving Conference".
At the same time Dougie was addressing bosses in London - Shropshire Star - "Response to Road petition".
Cambridge says no?
Cambridgeshire, one of the pilot areas for road pricing denies that it has any such plans - Cambridge Evening News - "Congestion charge 'cash incentives'".
Monday 16 April 2007
Irish hauliers are to stage another protest against tolls - Evening Echo - "Proposed hauliers protest to gridlock Dublin traffic".
Toll Non Collect
German papers report that a health identity card scheme is to be postponed. One reason given is that they "fear that the fiasco will be as great as with the tolls for trucks on the autobahn.". There are still no independent reports as to whether the truck toll scheme is now working properly.
Big Give Away
The Establishment and the Government spin doctors are up to their usual tricks today. According to a "leak" via the trolls favourite paper - the Times - the Government is to offer cash incentives to drivers to persuade them to accept the road pricing trials - "'Rewards' for drivers who back road prices". Here is the report in its sister paper - the Sun - "Petrol tax bribe to motorists". Here is the Times editorial - "Nicer Pricing".
Reaction in Norwich one of the pilot areas - Norwich Evening News - "Incentives for city road pricing scheme".
It may be a coincidence, but on the same day as this "leak" the RAC Foundation are to give a speech on the topic of road pricing. The Foundation have been doing their best to sell the idea for the Government - ABD Press Release.
No press release has yet appeared on the Foundation website but this is on Guardian Comment - "Driving motorists to despair". The Foundation appear to be so desperate to sell tolls, that they now suggest that they should be "voluntary".
PS A survey of 1,500 people carried out for "Trueform" (a transport solutions company) has been published today. It says that 17 percent of adults would support some form of road charging. These are the obvious candidates for the new "voluntary" tolls. The only problem may be that they don't drive!
Tolls Über Alles, cobber
Yet another coincidence is that the Transport Committee of MPs, most of them toll fanatics, are meeting today to hear from the flying knight on his proposals for tolls on all roads - Guardian - "MPs hear road-charging proposals " Press Notice.
PS Reports of what the flying knight told MPS - MEN / AP - "Road pricing will take 10 years, MPs told".
Where the parties stand
We thought that the Tories (except in Scotland) were in all favour of tolls in all their forms including "road pricing" and "congestion charging", but it seems that the Lib Dems don't think so as they say that the Tories have "refused to deal with the one solution that there is available - which is road pricing". At least it's now clear where the Lib Dems stand! BBC - "Tory vow to tackle crowded trains".
USA round up 16th April
The big sell off - Pensions & Investments - "Infrastructure traffic builds".
The National Transportation Safety Board says "toll plazas are the most dangerous places on the highway". You might think they would get rid of the tolls, but instead they want more electronic tolls, ignoring the fact these are even more dangerous unless all vehicles pay that way - South Florida Sun Sentinel - "Cash customers to find Sawgrass life in the slow lane".
Jay Bookman wonders how many suckers there are - Atlanta Journal Constitution - "Leases on toll roads a rip-off".
Other stories -
Indiana - "Former toll workers tough out transition to state jobs".
More roads and road pricing to fight climate change
The - Maple Ridge News - "Ports, toll dominate forum".
Sunday 15 April 2007
USA round up 15th April
New York - "Remove the toll barriers" Pennsylvania - "Charges of nepotism and political favoritism again swirl around Turnpike Commission" Texas - "Highways' future up on cinderblocks" Pennsylvania - "Council opposes regional toll fee"
Saturday 14 April 2007
More roads and road pricing to fight climate change
Business interests tell Canadians that they need more roads and bridges and more tolls and "road pricing". They say that this is best response to climate change - Maple Ridge News - "Ports, toll dominate forum".
USA round up 14th April
The Federal Government is promoting the use of more tolls and road sales, but the more rural states are not buying this - Bismarck Tribune / AP - "Addressing rural states' needs".
Other stories - Illinois / Indiana - "Illinois threatens to yank tollway discount for Indiana drivers" Illinois / Missouri - "Consensus growing to work out a plan to build new bridge"
"Rip Off Britain - DVLA Fee Rises"
The Government is to screw a bit more from drivers - Female First.
"Highway firm deep in debt"
Despite charging unpopularly high tolls and despite closures of alternate toll free roads such as at Portmore, the Jamaican toll company is losing money - $1.6 billion - Jamaica Observer.
Friday 13 April 2007
North of the border all the parties have now issued their manifestoes for May's elections. SNP, Tories, SSP and Solidarity want bridge tolls removed and oppose road tolls. Labour say they will remove tolls from Tay bridge but keep them on the Forth; they say nothing about road tolls. Lib Dems are the same as Labour except that they claim that will only support road tolls under certain conditions. The Greens of course want more tolls.
The Evening News today reports that the stance of Labour and Lib Dems has been attacked by businesses - Evening News - "McConnell and Stephen roasted over Forth bridge tolls".
Motorcycle News is making a last minute attempt to get more signatures on its beggar my neighbour petition against road pricing. They are quite happy for everyone else to be stung, but want bikers to be exempt - "Hours left to save bikes from road pricing".
Swedish Con story
It was widely reported yesterday that a bill is to be put before the Swedish Parliament to reintroduce "congestion charging" to Stockholm from August - Sveriges Radio - "Reintroduction of Congestion Charges" The Local - "Stockholm congestion charge back in August" AP report in various papers araound the world..
The Swedish Greens appear to have a big influence to the extent that the reports are misleading, including the one from Sweden's equivalent of the BBC - Sveriges Radio (Radio Sweden), who have consistently given out exaggerated claims about support for the tolls. All of the reports fail to point out that if those suburbs that had a vote are included, then the majority were against the toll. The new Swedish Government have broken their election promise, though it appears that they are watering down the scheme by reducing fines and partially exempting some residents.
USA round up 13th April
Massachussets is having problems with its electronic tolls. Its solution is to sack the firm that runs them and set up a new unit including State police - Boston Globe - "Pike fires toll firm, effective in a year" Boston Herald - "Joint state police, Pike squad to crack down on toll scofflaws".
The issue of the Texas tolls is more than a question of opposition to tolls or of the massive land take that is proposed, it is also a focus for those who are worried that the USA is on the way to an EU style union of all of North America - Record Gazette (California) - "Where will this highway take the U.S.".
Other stories -
West Virginia - "Parkways to focus only on turnpike" Illinois / Indiana - "Indiana upholds full toll
Ruling irks Illinois I-PASS officials" New Hampshire - "State’s transportation system is at a critical crossroads" Ohio - "Toll for bridge is opposed" Alaska - "Begich rips Knik Arm committee for yes vote" Kentucky - "Most Democrats running for governor don't support toll bridge" Indiana - "Border war erupts over Indiana toll discount" West Virginia - "Parkways’ operations trimmed" Pennsylvania - "Eliminating its commission one of several options to consider" Arizona - "Toll talk fizzles in Arizona Senate" Washington State - "Give us a commute we can survive" Illinois / Missouri - "Missouri officials consider proposal to build a non-tollway bridge over Mississippi" Ohio - "Tolls May Be Needed To Pay For New Bridge" Texas - "Texas Toll Road Moratorium Proceeds"
Thursday 12 April 2007
Tories want cheaper public transport, dearer car travel
The Daily Telegraph, following the Tory party, is becoming increasingly green. It today reports that motoring costs have fallen compared with rises in public transport costs. It does not mention that public transport, particularly trains, are heavily subsidised; while cars, vans and lorries are massively overtaxed - "Bus and train fares zoom past car costs".
USA round up 12th April
There is a lot of support for more tolls and road sales in America. It comes from politicians who see it as an easy way to make money. From toll road operators who also want to make easy money. From labor unions representing employees at publicly owned toll operations who have a job that many of their "customers" would envy. From oil and other business interests and right wing think tanks, who want to keep gas taxes low. From those who advocate raiding road tolls to pay for mass transit and 1,001 other pet schemes. From those who say it is the answer to congestion problems. Given all this it's amazing that there are any free highways left, particularly as tolls and road sales are supported by many editors - Williamport Sun Gazette - "Rendell deserves backing".
One of the exceptions to this love of tolls is roads users - Truck News - "US trucking industry says ‘We’ll pay more tax’".
Other stories - Washington State - "The hard truth about tolling Lake Washington" Tennessee- "Funding road projects adds quality of life" Illinois / Missouri - "Money pressure spurs bridge talks between Missouri and Illinois" Texas - "Moratorium sought" Texas - "NTTA to enter bid for 121Late toll-road proposal" Texas - "NTTA to enter bid for 121" Colorado - "Foreign investors win toll road bid in Colorado"
Urban canyons gone
A Canadian firm claims to have solved the problem where GPS satellites lose track of vehicles in urban areas - Canadian Technology News - "Canadian firm plans software to bill drivers based on parking, insurance".
Wednesday 11 April 2007
USA round up 11th April
A story today about luxury cruises. Nothing to do with tolls - that's true except that nearly $20 million of tolls has been used to subsidise the terminal - Courier Post - "Cruise line reduces Philadelphia schedule".
Other stories - North Carolina - "My Take on Tolls" Texas - "Bureaucratic boondoggles should be reversed in Texas Legislature" Virginia - "Price escalation could land on motorists" "Kentucky ponders privatizing bridges" Washington State - "Sound Transit needs the benefit of a doubter" Illinois / Missouri - "States ramp up attempt to agree"
M6 Toll traffic moves sideways
MIG, the Australian owners of the M6 Toll have released their latest quarterly figures. As expected the last toll increase has had little effect on their traffic figures, though they are very slightly down on the figure reached 2 years ago. Due to price increases the income keeps increasing and is now just over one million pounds a week. A lot of money, but we estimate that the road is still making a loss for the company - Traffic figures.
Tuesday 10 April 2007
More on Euro Toll for trucks meeting
More details are now available of the meeting in March to discuss Swedish plans to toll trucks on roads. The scheme is partly being funded by the EU and the meeting included representatives from Britain - Arena home page &nnsp; Sumary report of the meeting (a more detailed report is available under "downloads".
USA round up 10th April
There is to be a $350,000 party to celebrate the opening of Tacoma Narrows bridge. The cost will come from the tolls income - News Tribune - "When it’s done, we’ll party".
The difficulty of proving that you don't owe a toll - Houston Chronicle - "Mistaken identity can really take its toll".
Other stories - Washington State - "Got a better idea to pay for bridges than bridge tolls?" Kentucky - "GOP rivals split on bridge tolls" Washington State - "Will toll be needed on I-90 bridge, too?" California - "Getting a solution on the road" Pennsylvania - "Bill would kill turnpike commission" Texas - "Opponents: Collin-Denton toll plan a 'road to riches'"
It tolls not for politicians
Sydney's Daily Telegraph reports that Minister's don't have to pay the tolls that they force on to others - "MPs' E-perk insult".
Monday 9 April 2007
USA round up 9th April
A big fight against toll road plans is taking place in Indiana. Some opponents don't like tolls. Others don't like the proposed road routes. To keep up to date on this, you can subscribe to daily email updates from - Count US.
Driving licences will be the American Identity card - Pine Magazine - "Real ID Takes the Slow Train to Certainty".
The Patriot News suggests that the Federal administration are pushing more tolls and road sales, because of the cost of the Iraq war - $414 billion so far - Tennessee - "Feds boost private sector to bail out state highway maintenance".
Texas has come up with a novel way of making drivers pay for existing free roads. Existing lanes are to be narrowed and the "new" lanes tolled - Texas - "Plan would change MoPac from 6 to 8 lanes".
Other stories - Pennsylvania - "Privatizing the turnpike will cost motorists more" Washington State - "New 520 bridge may mean tolls on I-90, too" Tennessee - "Chief realizes toll roads are a hard sale"
Transport Committee Reports
Two reports published in February from the Committee of MPs that oversee the work of the Department of Transport -
"Local Transport Planning and Funding: Government Response to the Committee’s Twelfth Report of Session 2005-06" (pdf version). In brief the Committee had been "disappointed that local authorities had not made more use of the existing
revenue raising powers available to them-congestion charging, workplace parking
levies and developer section 106 funding." The Government agreed with them!
"Department for Transport Annual Report 2006" (pdf version). The report includes Manchester MP Graham Stringer, (who is against the Manchester Toll proposal) interrogating Douglas Alexander about "congestion charging" on 29th November.
There is a lot on road pricing, with the MPs urging the DfT on, even though they recognise that a "5% reduction in road traffic will equate to a 50% increase in demand for rail and buses" and require massive public spending. Douglas Aleander tells the MPs that "road pricing can make a contribution to tackling urban congestion (but) it is not the silver bullet". The MPs also say "We are concerned that, although strictly speaking road pricing schemes are voluntary, the very significant levels of funding associated with the bids and the broad scope of transport improvements the funding could deliver, place significant pressure on authorities to engage with the project.". In plainer English, authorities are being blackmailed to force them to bring in road tolls.
Galileo - American view
A report from USA, which is more frank than European sources about the link between the Galileo spy satellite and road pricing plans - Space Review - "Galileo to Europe’s taxpayers: I will survive!". It is suggested that one reason that Galileo is in trouble is that it will be cheaper to implement road pricing by using RFID tags and beacons rather than a satellite system.
A retired couple are harassed for "unpaid" tolls - The Record - " Highway takes toll on seniors". We wonder how many people are billed by mistake and just pay up?
The Freight Transport Association say that if local residents get discounts on the Dartford tolls, then so should local businesses - Kent News - "Businesses 'should get reduced Dartford Crossing tolls'". The Tory candidate for Dartford says that the tolls should be scrapped altogether - "Discounts will involve more red tape and bureaucracy and will do nothing to ease the environmental damage caused by the queues at the tolls, business will still suffer the cost in terms of jams and continued road charging and the infrastructure still misses out on improvements.".
Sunday 8 April 2007
USA round up 8th April
Tennessee - "Frequently asked questions about toll roads" Washington State - "Tolls may be only way to fund fourth Columbia bridge" Alabama - "Orange Beach asking for lower bridge tolls" Illinois / Missouri - "Developments on the bridge" Illinois / Missouri - "Trying to bridge the gap" DC - "Traffic sensors have leg up on helicopters" Tennessee - "Sumner connector proposed as toll road" Florida - "Rural road plan has a heavy toll" Tennessee - "TDOT seeks authority to toll"
Saturday 7 April 2007
On Thursday the DFT published - "Vehicle speeds in Great Britain: 2006". Despite their crocodile tears over congestion, the main concern of the DfT and the anti roads lobby is to slow traffic down rather than speed it up.
More on Toll cabling
The Telegraph has various stories following on from yesterday's toll cabling story including - "Road charges equipment introduced by stealth". The position of the Telegraph on road pricing is now a bit clearer. They evidently don't want to contradict the Tory party policy and say - "With all major parties committed to the principle of road pricing, the technology would not become redundant if the Conservatives won the next general election."
USA round up 7th April
Virginia - "Not Such a HOT Idea" West Virginia - "Manchin defends vetoes" North Carolina - "Bill Proposes State Support for Toll Road Construction" Indiana and Kentucky - "Groups unite to bridge the gap"
Friday 6 April 2007
The Telegraph reports on the possible use of new cabling of roads for the purpose of road pricing - "Government installing road-pricing technology" "Unguarded remark reveals systems potential". The position of the Telegraph on road pricing is confused. The story says that the idea of road pricing was "first floated 2 years ago" (June 2005), when in fact it was in July 2004. The story also has links to a petition that does not exist. If you click on their campaign page, you will only see links to organisations that support tolls, congestion charges and road pricing. Could it be that the Telegraph is confused because the Tory Party has been supporting this unpopular policy?
Three point turn?
A month ago the Lib Dems north of the border were urging that Scotland should be first with road tolls. Now it seems that they have changed their minds - Herald - "Road tolls poll finding forces LibDems into an abrupt U-turn". The Lib Dems support keeping bridge tolls, what is that other than a bridgehead for road tolls?
USA round up 6th April
California - "91 Freeway's top toll hits nearly $1 a mile" Virginia - "Many local leaders line up behind new highway authority" Florida - "Marco residents un-Jolley on bridge toll talk" California - "Juanita’s Juanderings"
Thursday 5 April 2007
Reading Toll Protest
This Saturday there will be a protest against Reading toll plans - ABD Press release.
USA round up 5th April
On Wednesday, Mary Peters was backing the sale of the Penn Turnpike. The fullest account of what she said is in Phillyburbs - Pennsylvania - "Transportation secretary backs turnpike sale". The reasons that she and the Governor give for more tolls and road sales are a bit hard to fathom.
Mary says “Improved miles-per-gallon and efficiency make the gas tax an increasingly unreliable, unsustainable source of funding for needed transportation improvements in the long term. Please don't rely on the federal government to fix this because there's not enough money to do that.” If what she says is true, then why does the Administration not raise the federal gas tax - probably the lowest gas tax in the free world.
The Governor has - "Alternative energy as a cornerstone of his policy agenda." If this is true, then why doesn't he increase state gas tax, rather than in effect promoting a move away from gas tax to tolls?
Some other reports on the Feds backing for the road sale - Pennsylvania- "Rendell gets help to sell plan" Pennsylvania - "U.S. Transportation secretary backs Rendell on turnpike lease plan".
Use of speed sensors to warn of congestion ahead - Bismark Tribune - "Company Uses Radar to Report on Traffic".
Other stories - Pennsylvania - "Selling turnpike a bad idea" Florida - "Senator says stealth lobby backs agency" Illinois - "$2 toll rate on I-355 extension is way too steep for motorists" Washington State - ‘Free’ trip on bridge could cost $49 fine" New Jersey - "Consider toll-road leases, official says" Tennessee - "Proposal would give TDOT flexibility" Tennessee - "Reader Views" Tennessee - "Toll-road bill raises red flags" Tennessee - "State needs new tools to face clogged roads" Florida - "HOV lane tolls" Virginia - "General Assembly approves compromise transportation plan".
ABC sell road pricing
It seems that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are copying the BBC and doiing their best to sell the official road pricing myths - Lateline - "Blair Govt to introduce road-pricing".
Toll plans sunk
Following widespread opposition, Transit New Zealand has abandoned its toll plans - NZ Herald - "Tolls buried but local fuel tax an option" Stuff - "Auckland road tolls abandoned".
PS NZ Herald readers' views - "Tolls on the Western ring road route".
Some reactions in Scoop - Waitakere City Auckland City Council Contractors complain Manuaka City Council Employers And Manufacturers Association.
Wednesday 4 April 2007
View from up here
For those who don't keep an eye on Australian toll news though our pages, the Telegraph reports that tolls are not popular - "No love for tunnels among Sydneysiders".
Highest Con charge
Oxford is now issuing £60 ($120) a time fines to cars that go along the High Street - Oxford Mail - "£45,000 in a week from cameras". We wonder if Chief Inspector Morse could investigate this con, not that the establishment would ever allow it.
USA round up 4th April
Nevada - "Toll road proposal gets mixed reviews" West Virginia - "Turnpike authority must go out of business" Tennessee- "Black still pushing for toll bridge" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike privatization unpopular" Florida - "$1.5 billion I-595 project may go to private sector" Florida - "Mack in Bonita, berates Congress" Texas - "Perry Pleads Case For Toll Roads" North Carolina - "I-540 May Function as Toll Road" Nevada - "Toll talk comes to Nevada" California - "91 Express Lanes tolls increase".
Tuesday 3 April 2007
Lib Dems complain about embassies
The BBC reports that the Lib Dems are now complaining about embassies not paying the London Toll charge - "Embassies 'not paying C-charge'". We already have the Mayor regularly attacking the Americans and calling the ambassador a crook. Do the politicians not realise that these attacks are reported abroad, and their main effect is to give a bad impression. Shouldn't they concentrate on things like getting the Royal Navy personnel freed?
Turkish tolls delight
We reported on 20th March that Turkey was planning to privatise roads this year. It seems that there may be a temporary setback as a majority verdict by the Ankara 10th administrative court has cancelled a planned 33 per cent increase in bridge tolls and a 20 per cent increase in highway tolls. The case had been brought the People's Republic Party.
Manchester Toll - Congestion engineering
Rule One of the plan when you want to introduce tolls as "congestion charges", is to first create congestion. One way to do this is of course to reserve part of the road for one particular form of traffic, and force the rest of the traffic into a smaller space. Manchester is now tightening the screw, by more strictly enforcing bus lanes - BBC - "Bus lane offenders 'cut by 25%'" (It is interesting that the BBC link is not to Manchester but to TfL, experts in creating congestion.)
Some examples of how the Manchester authorities are already creating congestion.
Euro Troll Convention
Report of a meeting discussing Swedish plans to toll trucks on roads - Materials Handling World - "International Experts Assess Future Road Tolls for Europe ".
More on Dartford Toll "Discounts"
The Dartford Shopper reports that the local Labour MP thinks that the discounts for a few of those using the tolls is "fantastic news" - "Boost for campaign to cut crossing toll". This same Labour MP last May was saying on his website that it was - "TIME FOR THE TOLLS TO GO".
USA round up 3rd April
Stateline reports on growing opposition in America to tolls and road sales - "Toll roads hit speed bumps".
Toll plazas are a major cause of accidents, particularly where not all the lanes are the same. Today there is a report of an accident on the San Francisco to Oakland Bay bridge - California - "Hit-and-run at toll plaza kills motorcyclist". There will be traffic weaving at the bridge as some toll lanes are dedicated to fastrak, some to buses and some to HOV. There are further complications as the type of vehicle that can use a lane is also affected by the time of day - Wikipedia.
Other stories - New Jersey - "Garden State Parkway paralysis under analysis" Texas - "Legislator seeks gas tax hike to curb tolls" Delaware - "DelDOT looks at ways to cut spending" Florida - "Marco crowd says no to tolls for Jolley Bridge - ‘It’s just a bad idea’" Pennsylvania - "N.J. toll hike assailed even before it's proposed".
Monday 2 April 2007
Latest Vehicle Count
Official figures for the number of licensed vehicles were released at the end of last week. The number of vehicles at the end of 2006 was 33.4 million. An increase of 1.4 per cent on the previous year. In line with recent years, the biggest increase is for light goods vehicles (vans). The figure excludes the 2.2 million vehicles that evade paying excise duty. - DfT - "VEHICLES LICENSED IN GREAT BRITAIN 2006".
USA round up 2nd April
New Jersey - "Toll hike assailed even before it's proposed" UPI - "States combat toll violations" West Virginia - "The Turnpike is about a road" Massachusetts- "Big pothole" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike privatization unpopular".
Dick Turpin to share the loot out to different pockets
Dick Turpin alias Doctor Ladyman has been telling the House of Commons all about his plans for tolls on all roads. Oops, what we should have said is that he has been telling Commercial Motor - "Road pricing needs consistency" "Road pricing: what's the problem with congestion?". His comments include - "The money may well end up in different people's pockets, but you wouldn't know that.".
Dartford Toll "Discounts"
It appears that Dick Turpin is thinking of giving some toll users part of their money back - DfT Press release BBC -"Local people to get toll discount". The tolls should have been removed in 2003, when the debt was paid off. The main effect of keeping tolls in place is to increase congestion, increase vehicle emissions and increase accidents as traffic going along a motorway has to queue at the tolls. Reducing the toll for some people will not help to remove these problems. Neither will it be fair as the bridge debt was paid off using tolls from all drivers, many of whom will not be "local residents". Even many local residents may still be aggrieved as they may not be considered "local" enough to get any discount.
This was our response to the consultation on the increases that closed in March. We were one of 10,730 groups and individuals that made submissions to the consultation. Here are two of the others - this is ABD response BBRAG response. These were the DfT consultation documents including reports commissioned from consultants (Brown and Root, and Jacobs Babtie).
Tolls "socially acceptable" (almost)
According to a survey carried out for the "Energy Saving Trust" 30% of people think that tolls are "socially acceptable" - EST - "UK has green mindset, but not green behaviours" "Green Barometer" report.
Sunday 1 April 2007
Solution to Climate Crisis?
The Association of British Drivers has radical ideas to solve the CO2 problem - ABD - "Acting on CO2".
USA round up 1st April
Truckers complain about today's toll increase on the Indiana Toll. One of the reasons for the increase is to pay for
"implementation of the electronic tolling system" - Fox - "Commerical Toll Road Rates Increase". We wonder how many more truckers will "start looking for other roads to take".
A trial of road pricing in Oregon has just ended. We don't know what the official result will be, but it's unlikely to be popular - Blue Oregon - "GPS-tracked mileage taxes, private toll roads, and other dumb gimmicks".
Other stories - California & Texas - "Don't want to pay your tolls? Fine" Alabama - "Bridge study" Michigan - "Gas tax".
Auckland Councils votes No to tolls
Leftwingers defy the Doctor and vote against tolls - NZ Herald - "Hucker at odds with colleagues on tolls".
The Royal Mail has told the postal regulator "Postcomm" that it wants to charge more for delivering letters in London, partly because of "congestion charge adding to the bill".