APRIL 2009 NEWS
Thursday 30 April 2009
Near Liverpool the Government is hoping to bring in a new era, by putting tolls on a planned new bridge AND an existing free bridge. The plan has been known about for two years but residents, businesses, bridge users and those organisations that say they represent drivers seem to be under the effect of a magic sleeping spell, as there has been almost no reaction. There is however to be a Public Inquiry starting on Tuesday 19th May. You can see a bit more and have a look at what we are telling the Inquiry on our new Runcorn page.
One reaction to suggestion for a Sydney Con
Sydney Morning Herald - "Don't punish road users for chronic lack of transport".
The Met Office forecast a warm summer and say that this is "good news, finally" - BBC - "'Hot and dry' UK summer forecast ". If this is good news, and you believe in the man made Global Warming due to CO2 theory, then should we close down all the wind farms?
Trolls want electronic tolls
LSE Press release - "Investment in digital infrastructure can revive the British economy with 700,000 jobs, says new report" The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (US) report - "The UK’s Digital Road to Recovery".
The report says that "more than 30 percent of highway congestion occurs at toll stops". Its solution is electronic tolls - presumably by forcing the use of RFID microwave tags in all vehicles. It is typical of the parasites that feed off roads users, that they only admit some of the harm that they cause when they think they have a way of increasing their gorging without killing the victim.
One man supports tolls - News8 (Connecticut) - "Debate takes a toll on CT drivers" video.
Sundry stories - Illinois / New York - "Confusion exacts hefty toll" Alabama - "Free toll for Orange Beach residents? Bridge owner: 'That's not going to happen'" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike gives state $212.5 million for highways and transit" Washington State - "Commission makes right choice on tolls" Louisiana- "Lawmaker wants to merge push for roads".
More on the MTA where there is a campaign for the State which runs the agency to bail out the system and to protect the city's subway and bus passengers by charging more special State taxes and in particular by tolling the East and Harlem River bridges - NY Daily News - "The worst show on Earth: Malcolm Smith and his Senate clowns are destroying mass transit" Times Herald Record - "No Senate vote yet on MTA bailout plan" NY Daily News - "Second MTA fare hike looms this year with worse-than-expected budget deficit"
Twenty Years After
BBC - "'Safe' climate means 'no to coal'". Some people believe that Global Warming only took off because Margaret Thatcher wanted something to help stop the disruption caused by reliance on a fuel where the workers had frequent stikes. Who would have thought that this "science" could mean that 75% of the World's fuel stocks will be left in the ground.
"Roads provide a vital lifeline" in Burma
BBC - "Nargis one year on: Road building".
Malaysia is considering lowering tolls for drivers going to work - Star - "Possible toll discounts for far-flung commuters". But this will have no effect on the congestion caused by toll collection - Straits Times - "Jammed if you do and jammed if you don’t".
If the Goverrment really wanted to improve matters it would remove the tolls and replace the losses with a fuel tax.
Wednesday 29 April 2009
Oh, Freedom - Elgin Courier (Texas) - "Complaint alleges U.S. 290 East toll road violates civil rights act".
Going down - CNN - "Economy falls more than expected".
Sundry stories - Washington State - "DOT planning to implement 520 bridge tolls" Massachusetts - "Turnpike finances slip further" North Carolina - "Maybe we should ask Santa to unclog traffic" Texas - "How to fix Transportation?".
Louisiana - "Causeway officials see no rise in tolls" California - "Menlo Park fire chief: Police and fire crews shouldn't pay bridge tolls" Massachusetts - "My View: How to fix fiscal fiasco" West Virginia - "Turnpike treated like ‘an orphan child’" Nevada - "Hardy steadfast in fight for Boulder City Bypass tolls".
New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DPRA board's free E-ZPass ride policy under scrutiny" Massachusetts - "Plenty of problems still down the road" Massachusetts - "Pike gripes take their toll" "California Assembly committee approves toll road bill" Massachusetts - "Failure to pay up will take a heavy toll".
Land Line Mag - "Bills filed to stop ‘double dipping’ on private toll roads".
Report on Cascadia Prospectus (a pro tolls site funded by Bill Gates) on the "Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees" held in Texas two weeks ago - "Vehicle Mileage Tax Stirs Ants Nests At Austin Confab".
MTA saga rattles on - Gotham Gazette - "On the MTA, Leaders Will Take What They Can Get" Newsday - "State should fund MTA in the budget, not with numerous taxes" Daily News - "Bloomberg Engages On MTA" Newsday - "State Senate Democrats' MTA bailout plan appears doomed" NY Times - "M.T.A. Forecasts $1 Billion Deficit Next Year" NY Times - "Time for Working Families Party to Step Up for Riders, Endorse Bridge Tolls".
DfT News release - "New measures to harmonise vehicle standards and open new markets".
As the EU makes the laws why does the Giovernment pretend that it has any say in this? And what is the use of standards if they don't apply in ALL the major economies that trade with each other?
Driver's allowed to fly a flag as the SS Great Britain sinks
DfT News release - "Law change allows motorists to fly the flag".
Tuesday 28 April 2009
A Con down under
Sydney Morning Herald - "Congestion charging 'would fix Sydney's traffic woes'".
Lil' Bit more on M6 Toll
roadtransport.com - "Traffic continues to decline on M6 toll road".
Golden toll reduction
Bloomberg - "Japan Braces for Record Traffic Jams as Aso Cuts Highway Tolls ".
At 24 thousand yen (170 GB pounds or 250 US dollars) tolls for one journey, it is surprising that the Japanese ever left the house.
Lib Dem complains about Cambridgeshire Tories backing away from Con
Cambridge News - "Tories rapped after road toll statement".
PS BBC let ABD opponent speak! "Congestion charge 'will not work'".
Monday 27 April 2009
Reading's answer to congestion - build a new Thames bridge and ban cars from it
Wokingham Times (Berks.) - "Cars could be banned from third Thames crossing".
More on business group wanting Severn tolls removed
FT - "Small businesses call for end to Severn bridge tolls".
RAC - "Condition of local roads a concern" Herald - "Condition of local roads in UK criticised by 90% of drivers". As most drivers are kept in the dark by the RAC et al as to how much they are being ripped off, it is surprising that drivers realised that "not enough money raised was going back into the roads"
Bit more on threat from Scotland's trolls
Scotsman - "SNP refuses to cut back as Westminster squeezes cash" BBC - "Budget 'pressure' on SNP policies".
There seems to be a concerted campain even to the extent that toady the Student Union leader is complaining about the lack of bridge tolls in the paper which goes to all Edinburgh students.
Anti "C-charge" ads in Manchester nominated for gong
Crain's - "Anti-congestion charge campaign up for PR gong".
Some reaction to idea of a Con for Uganda
New Vision - "Congestion fees cannot alleviate Kampala jams".
Sunday 26 April 2009
A reminder from the Government for homesick Singaporeans
Straits times - "S'pore Day in London".
The Trolls are suggesting that amongst other things, the Scottish Government will have to reintroduce tolls because of the economic difficulties - Sunday Herald - "Budget 2009: the fall-out".
Before abolition, the amount of tolls income was minute compared with Scottish spending. The Government has since then committed to building a new VERY expensive bridge over the Forth. But the astronomic cost is because they are still using the same procurement system as in the bad old days. There is so much waste, that even if it were to be tolled, the income would only cover about ten per cent of the costs.
Saturday 25 April 2009
Challenge to cars in China
Xinhua Net - "Hazy car culture erodes green Earth".
Cambridgeshire County Council may be moving away from Cambridge toll plan
Cambridge News - "Council rejects need for city congestion fees".
Some reaction to Government suggestion for another Dartford Crossing
Kent News - "Proposals for new Thames crossing met with anger".
Everyone knows that the present congestion would be considerably reduced if the tolls were removed and the need for another crossing would be postponed. Though this does not stop the "Campaign for the Protection of Rural England" instead calling for more measures against roads users and the introduction of London Con Charge technology - you may wonder how the people in rural areas get from A to B. By pony and trap?
Truckers welcome Bill opposed to private roads - Newswire - "ATA Applauds the Introduction of Anti-Privatization Legislation".
Sundry stories - Washington State - "Budget restores car-pool lanes" theNewspaper.com - "Minnesota Attorney General Slams Illinois Over Bogus Photo Tickets" Connecticut - "Public to get chance to soundoff on tolls" Washington State- "Wash. Legislature OKs Seattle viaduct tunnel plan".
New York - "Senate Dems want vote on MTA plan" Washington State - "Hearing in Bellevue to discuss impacts of electronic tolling 520 bridge" New York - "Lawmakers protest Staten Island resident's high tax and toll burden".
Durham to move its congestion charge infrastucture
As the zone is only one street, this should not be difficult!! Northern Echo - "‘A mess’ or ‘brilliant’... as city’s plans are put on show".
New treatment centre so some patients no longer have to cross toll bridge
Jenny Walton of Humber Action Against Tolls welcomes the news - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Keyhole surgery for cancer patients".
Friday 24 April 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Spat between the states - Florida - "Tollbooth reforms stuck in Tallahassee traffic jam" Massachusetts - "Tisei: Turnpike Authority needs more accountability" Florida - "LeeWay transponder problems" Pennsylvania - "Gabler, Oberlander oppose I-80 tolling " Massachusetts - "Tolling for thee - Financial death spiral for Turnpike?".
Robbie the Pict in court again
BBC - "Campaigner takes on road cameras".
Selling off what drivers have already paid for
Essex Echo - "Dartford crossing could be sold off".
Spat between the states - Star Tribune - "The long arm of Illinois law is taking toll in Minnesota" lots of comments Chicago Tribune - "Minnesota rips Illinois tollway about drivers it says were unfairly ticketed" KARE - "Minnesota AG: Illinois needs to fix tollway system" Chicago Tribune - "Minnesota AG: Illinois tollway system faulty" Fox - "Minn. AG: Illinois
Tollway Needs Fixing" Daily Herald - "Minnesota attorney general tells Illinois tollway to stop ticketing" Chicago Tribune - "Illinois tollway stiffs Minnesotans, official says".
Sundry stories - Oregon - "Bergmanson: Get Those Tolls Off The Road!" North Carolina - "New taxes, tolls proposed for Mecklenburg roads" Texas - "TxDOT weighs in on money crunch" Massachusetts - "Turnpike finances slip further" New York - "Hoping To Avoid Mta ‘doomsday’ Budget".
Focus groups don't want the poor tolled off the road
The National - "Congestion controls not the answer".
Voters don't like toll plans
Surrey Leader (B.C.) - "Economy high on voters’ worry list".
Thursday 23 April 2009
Sundry stories - Oregon - "The biggest, baddest bridge imaginable" Washington State - "Bridge traffic up, tolls won't rise" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Shape DRBA post carefully" California - "Express toll lanes added to regional plan".
Massachusetts - "Pike delays laying off toll-takers" New York - "A Longer, Dirtier, Costlier Commute" California - "Funds approved for Bay Bridge bike lanes study" Massachusetts - "Mass. Turnpike vows to be more customer friendly" video.
California - "MTC approves plan for toll lanes" video (advertisement for tolls) California - "Toll lane plan nears decision; debate grows" video (same advertisement for tolls) North Carolina - "No answer yet on parkway" New York - "Mta Bailout Vote Coming Next Week".
Income expected to grow even if traffic doesn't
Wall Street Journal - "Atlantia Could Issue Bond Soon; Tolls To Rise ".
Oh dear 2
The story that the Government had already leaked is now official. It has been announced that Britain will build up to four new coal fired power stations with "carbon capture" adding about one billion pounds to the cost of each scheme - BBC - "'Clean' coal plants get go-ahead". You can judge how much resources this will waste from the fact that the greens are supporting it.
More moves to slow movement
BBC - "Road speeds to go down to 20mph" BBC - "Report recommends speed limit cut" (London).
Lib Dem campaigns against tolls on bridges near Liverpool
Click Liverpool - ""Double Standards" charge over Runcorn Bridge".
Bit more on "Centre for Cities" report
Reading Chronicle - "Reading should get transport cash without charging".
Good news for cyclists
BBC - "Motorway downgraded to trunk road".
Independent - "When customer service keeps you hanging, just stick to your guns".
More sleight of hand
Paying someone £2,000 to scrap their old car is not a good idea, but it seems that like many Government announcements, it is a deception and the details will probably mean that the scheme has little effect - Telegraph - "Mandelson to meet motor bosses over Budget 2009 scrappage plans" Times - "Car-scrap scheme payout is a cheat at half the price" Honest John - "How Will Carbuyers Really Benefit From the Scrappage Scheme?" includes press relaee from CAP Motor Research.
The Government is still suffering from CO2 mania and part of yesterday's new budget spending was directed at trying to turn the CO2 tide with a whole chapter of the Chancellor's report devoted to - "Building A Low-Carbon Recovery".
The Government has also leaked that today it will announce new coal fired power stations with "carbon capture" adding about one billion pounds to the cost of each scheme - BBC - "Ministers to announce C02 plans".
To further demonstrate the current mania, the BBC has today added this story to its massive portfolio of Global Warming Ate My Hamster stories - BBC - "Pollution 'fights global warming'".
Wednesday 22 April 2009
Budget Day - Good news for scrap yards
BBC - "Darling unveils 50% top tax rate" Treasury - all the gory details.
Changes include higher fuel duty and a grant if you replace a car over ten years old with a new one - BBC - "Car-scrapping incentive announced" BBC - "Mixed response to car scrapping scheme".
Bit more on latest MTA bailout idea - Times Herald Record - "MTA bailout stuck in neutral" NY Times - "Latest Plan for M.T.A. Is Foundering in Albany" Newsday - "Paterson hopes to get MTA bailout "very quickly"" NY News - "Paterson: Senate Dems MTA Plan 'Worth Considering'" ABC - "MTA bailout plan has bigger taxi surcharge" video Streetsblog - "Another Bad Transit Plan from the State Senate".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "After Easter snafus, Pike puts toll taker layoffs on hold" Connecticut - "SWRPA: Scrap study on border tolls" Florida - "Crotty for Congress? Maybe Tax Collector" New York - "Thruway looks into claims of threats by toll collector".
Florida - "Expressway fallout may hamper Rich Crotty if he tries to oust U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson" Virginia - "Some nays, some OKs on tolls to pay for tunnels" Massachussets - "All Jammed Up Again ... Marathon Waits on Pike" Virginia - "Concerns over toll rates for new tunnel" California - "Toll lane plan nears decision; debate grows".
One of the rare reports in English on tolls in France - The Connexion - "Barrier-free tolls tested at Antibes". If they do remove the barriers then it will be interesting to see how many French people will bother to pay.
Bank of England news
There has been a very sharp fall in the growth of broad money supply (M4) for reasons which are not clear (at least to us!). Despite the slowdown on growth, M4 is 17.6% up year on year - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending) March 2009".
"Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting 8 And 9 April 2009".
A think tank in Western Australia wants private roads - The West - "Radical Budget plan wants to set tolls on the road to recovery".
Prospects for owners of existing private roads - Sydney Morning Herald - "For whom the road tolls".
Dutch toll plan back on?
Dutch News - "Transport minister reviews road pricing".
Dublin car ban
Independent - "Council backs rush-hour ban on cars in city centre".
Tuesday 21 April 2009
A message from the ABD to the Chancellor in advance of tomorrow's Budget
press release - "Scrappage Scheme Would Export Jobs - Remove High Taxes on New Cars to Stimulate Sales".
Cambridge toll - "Dear candidate" letters
Cambs24 - "Opponents step up pressure on candidates in County elections".
Total Essex - "Fine dodgers register cars to secret address".
Another Thames study
Yesterday the Government published a study on a possible new crossing near Dartford DfT - "Dartford River Crossing Study into Capacity Requirement" links to each chapter and appendices. If the Government trolls really wanted to improve the situation as a first step they would remove the tolls now and stop harming both the economy and the environment in order to punish drivers and preserve toll regimes around the country.
News reports - Kent Online - "A toll too far: shoppers' reaction on second Thames crossing" video Dartford News Shopper - "River Thames: Gravesham Council 'horrified' at third crossing option" Transport Briefing - "Rail options rejected by Dartford crossing study" Essex Echo - "New crossing over Thames being considered" Kent Online - "Three new Thames crossing options unveiled" New Civil Engineer - "Government study confirms need for new Dartford crossing".
Bit more on M6 Toll traffic still going down
Birmingham Mail - "Drop in number of drivers using M6 Toll road".
BBC - "Meltdown losses of '$4 trillion'".
Moving towards the red
Bank of England - "Trends in Lending" links to report and data tables. Year on year most forms of lending are up by just under 2.5%, though not so long ago the increase was far higher. Given the vast pumping out of cash by the Bank of England over the last 9 months or so, it seems that much of that cash must have been used to replace borrowing from overseas.
No tolls threat
Telegraph Journal - "Tolls must continue to keep bridge safe: official" Telegraph Journal - "Bridge plans have gone awry".
More Inflation Disinformation
Inflation is still above the official Bank of England target which is based on CPI, but the Bank and their chums in the BBC are emphasing the RPI which is low because it includes mortgage costs which have fallen because interest has been almost abolished (RPIX which excludes mortgage interest payments is 2.2 per cent) - BBC - "Inflation measure turns negative" ONS News.
The toll bridge that ran out of river till "the Army Corps of Engineers redirected the river to go under the bridge" - Omaha World Herald - "Collecting 75-cent tolls keeps good ol' boys hopping".
The Trolls come to San Francisco to sell tolls - SF Chronicle - "To speed up congestion relief" ABC - "Toll roads may come to CA" video.
Sundry stories - Florida - "Toll Oversight Panel: Cut Costs, Pay, Offer Discounts but Toll Hike, Board Makeup Left Alone" Washington State - "Bill would ask state DOT to consider grace period for Narrows bridge toll fines" Florida - "Alligator Alley lease delayed" Massachussets - "Pike taxes patience".
Another MTA bail-out, this time without tolls on the East and Harlem river bridges - NY1 - "Senate Democrats Push New MTA Bailout Plan" video Daily News - "Democrats in state Senate promise MTA bailout vote soon - sans bridge tax" Poughkeepsie - "Democrats push fees to aid MTA" NY1 - "Latest MTA Bailout Plan Looks To Riders Outside City" video WCBStv - "Latest MTA Bailout Proposal Includes New Taxi Fee" video NY Times - "Senate Shapes New Rescue Plan for M.T.A." Newsday - "State Dems' new MTA bailout plan includes payroll tax".
Streetsblog - "Senate Dems Release Another MTA Funding Plan Without Tolls" Newsday - "MTA bailout with taxes, fees met with skepticism" NY Daily News - "Senate Dems Go It Alone On MTA" ABC - "Lawmakers debate ways to bail out MTA".
Selling the Con in Canada
Globe and Mail (Toronto) - "'Road pricing' our way out of congestion". According to his biog on the paper, the writer "is on a leave of absence from his job as an online reporter at globeandmail.com, writing for The Globe and Mail from London and working at BBC News Online."
Too many roads?
Japan Times - "Japan's many roads to ruin".
Japan may have too many roads which have largely been financed by debt repayable through tolls. But there would be less bureacracy, less corruption, less oil imports and less vehicle emissions, if instead of using a tolls system, the roads were financed solely through fuel taxes.
Another Government move to slow traffic
BBC - "Plans to cut traffic speed limits" DfT press release - "Making Britain's roads the safest in the world".
Some dim news
The Sun is experiencing a period of low sunspot activity. These "solar mininum" appear to come in cycles, the most frequent one being about every eleven years, but 2008 was lower than average and so far 2009 is even lower. The last solar maxima was in 2001 and the next one was expected in about 2013. A few scientists believe that sunspot activity is the main driver of fluctuations in the earth's temperature and this could be a testing time for devout believers in the theory that there is a significant and adverse increase in temperature caused by man made emissions of CO2 - BBC - "'Quiet Sun' baffling astronomers" Examiner - "Sunspots, where have they gone?" Wikipedia - "Solar variation".
Monday 20 April 2009
Britain to downsize
The Register - "British people must become Hobbits to meet the government's carbon pledge".
York Con a "dead duck"
The Press - "End of the road for York congestion fees?".
Sundry stories - Texas - "North Tarrant Express project moves forward with hearing" California - "Bridge tolls may pave way to ease traffic woes" "Six South Florida expressways to collect all tolls electronically" New York - "State lawmakers to tackle MTA negotiations" New York - "Mayor Keeps Low Profile on M.T.A.".
Cars Über alles in der Welt
Times - "'I would just rather be in my car than with my boyfriend'" Times - "Busy roads, slower speeds, extra taxes – but we'll carry on driving" Scotsman - "UK drivers miss bus as car numbers increase 30% in a decade" Western Mail - "RAC report suggests Wales is a car-reliant nation".
RAC Foundation Press release - "The Habits Of A Car Reliant Nation" Full report (pdf) Exec summary (pdf) Conclusions (pdf).
There are more vehicles and there is more congestion, but in fact the amount of car driving per person has hardly changed in last ten years, and the amount of time spent travelling (by all forms) in Britain has hardly changed in forty years or more. Which perhaps proves that people are clever enough to adapt to the policies of the politicians that they are stupid enough to elect!!
The RAC Foundation is still pushing road tolls as its press release says that - "Given so many people, often from low-income households, do few miles by car and generate low levels of CO2, the Chancellor should shift emphasis away from taxing people on what they own, to what they use. This is likely to be through national road pricing. The trade off for drivers would be the abolition of road tax and fuel duty, and more spending on the road network." Most drivers would support reducing VED, but it is disappointing that the Foundation are still peddling the idea of replacing fuel duty with road tolls which would cost billions to run and which would encourage the use of bigger vehicles and for drivers to press down harder on the accelerator pedal. We can only assume that the Foundation are still collaborating with the politicians who for various motives want this madness.
PS From another collaborator - BBC - "Car ownership up as mileage falls".
Bit more on "Centre for Cities" report
Transport Briefing - "Urban transport fund put forward as successor to TIF".
Humber tolls - Council writes to Minister
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Plea to Geoff Hoon over bridge tolls".
Sunday 19 April 2009
Keeping an eye on things - Times Herald Record (NY) - "E-ZPass records offer key evidence".
Bit more on the holiday story - Republican - "Easter backup has turnpike changing policy" Boston Herald - "Massachusetts Turnpike issues mea culpa - at last" NECN - "Toll backups and lights; MTA makes changes" video.
Sundry stories - California - "Toll lane on 101 shouldn't become a political battle" California - "Tolls on Bay Area bridges likely to increase" New York - "Anti-toll advocate harassed".
More on electric cars
Times - "Beware green jobs, the new sub-prime".
Saturday 18 April 2009
More Global warming propaganda
BBC - "Key role of forests 'may be lost'".
"Electric cars will usher in road pricing"
Autocar. As this is on the basis that "the government’s electric car revolution is a success" we can probably sleep easy in our beds.
Toll collector in New York charged with harassment - Buffalo News - "Bridge tolls protest drew threats — and a surprising arrest" WIVB - "Sheriff's Deputies arrest toll taker" video.
Bit more on the attempted revival of the tolls plan for East and Harlem Rivers bridges - Daily News - "Governor Paterson urges Albany Republicans to vote for MTA bailout before fare hikes take effect" NY1 - "Lawmakers, Feeling Testy, Prepare To Tackle MTA Budget" video.
Meanwhile there are less drivers to toll - NY Times - "Commuters Suspect Right: Their Ranks Are Thinning" Rochester - "Thruway says Drop in Traffic Won't Lead to Toll Hikes" video.
Bit more on the Easter Toll Queue Party - NECN - "Turnpike officials reverse OT policy blamed for traffic jams" video WWLP - "Officials blame backup on policy" video Wicked - "Turnpike announces plans to improve travel, turn Zakim Bridge lights back on".
Patriot Ledger - "Easter toll fiasco sign of conceit" Boston Globe - "Holiday delays on Pike unintentional, Patrick to announce" Boston Herald - "Deval Patrick’s Pike probe runs out of gas" NECN - "Report: Turnpike debacle blamed on management policy" video Boston Globe - "Report finds cost-cutting move caused Easter traffic snarls on Pike" comments.
Sundry stories - New Hampshire - "DOT says suspension threat has people slowing down through E-ZPass lanes" Washington State - "Early 520 bridge tolling moves ahead" Washington State- "House passes bill allowing tolls on Highway 520 bridge" comments.
Lib Dems dementia
Letter in Guardian - "Congestion charge versus road pricing".
The letter says that "Road pricing .. can be entirely revenue-neutral", but as a national system would cost billions to set up and run, either the roads users would pay more or the Government would lose money. The letter then goes on to say that "Rural motorists would pay less than now, while the average motorist would pay no more.", so it appears that the Lib Dems have invented a new arithmetic where two plus two really does equal five (or whatever other number you fancy). Given the weird logic used by the Lib Dems it is perhaps not surprising that though they believe they are saving the planet, they are proposing to reduce fuel duty.
Officially tolls in China were "removed" from 1st January. The reality is a bit different - Xinhua Net - "China's first expressway hikes tolls to raise funds for expansion".
Friday 17 April 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
New York - "Either Everybody Pays Or Nobody Pays'" Washington State - "Wash. Transportation Commission to consider TNB tolls, revenue forecast" West Virginia - "Public may drive toll rate talks" Oregon - "New bridge raises hopes and concerns" "The View of Congestion Pricing from Texas".
America decides to join in Mania and declares CO2 a pollutant - Don't tell the daisies!
CBS - "EPA: Carbon Dioxide, 5 Other Gases Pose A Danger" BBC - "Obama to regulate 'pollutant' CO2". The other five dangerous gases are - methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
Environmemtal Press Agency - "EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare / Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling" EPA - more details.
Ups and downs for troll
The Australian - "Higher tolls cushion Macquarie Infrastructure" Business Day - "Easing traffic is bad news for toll road operator".
M6 Toll traffic still going down
The latest traffic figures show that drivers and hauliers are avoiding the M6 Toll road in larger numbers. The figures from MIG, the Australian operators of the road, give the average daily traffic for the first quarter of 2009 as 34 thousand. This is 11 per cent down on the same quarter a year ago, and nearly 40 per cent below the peak which was in the third quarter of 2006. The fall in traffic has been partly offset by the increase in toll prices from 1st January 2009, but even so the income is down five percent on the same quarter in 2008.
We issued a press relaese which included - "Traffic will be lower on many roads due to the economy, but this road is almost empty compared with the main M6. The road was built to relieve congestion throughout the West Midlands by acting as a by-pass for north south traffic. It has failed to attract sufficient traffic because of the tolls and the West Midlands area continues to suffer from congestion. If the toll were removed then the resulting boost to the West Midlands economy would be well worth the price that the company would accept to take the road off their hands."
Our M6 Toll traffic figures page.
Bit more on suggestion for more Tyne tunnel toll increases
Chronicle Live - 2nd and 3rd letters.
Bit more on the revival of the plan to put tolls on East and Harlem Rivers bridges - Newsday - "Opponents laugh off toll rebate plan" Streetsblog - "Needed: A Better Way to Sweeten the Ravitch Plan".
Bit more on making drivers queue for seven miles at toll barriers - Boston Globe - "For Pike chief, tact not part of the job" NECN - "Broadside: NECN gets to root of Turnpike nightmare" video NECN - "Braude Beat: Turnpike turmoil" video NECN - "Turnpike director under fire after Easter backups" video.
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "422 Tolling Study Approved" West Virginia - "Barr: Toll hike years in making" Texas - "Go it alone Saturday on Katy HOV" Nevada - "Senate OKs tougher standards for toll lanes".
Legal bid against Dartford toll from "fed-up" driver
Portsmouth News - "Campaigner makes bid to scrap tolls at bridge".
Humber toll meeting
Grimsby Telegraph - "Minister to meet Humber Bridge campaigners".
Bit more on OECD recommends tolls and congestion charges for New Zealand
Stuff - "OECD medicine tough to swallow".
Bit more on electric cars
Cambridge Network - "The present reality of electric cars" Independent - "Electric dream machines: Are they really the future of motoring?".
Yesterday both the Friends of the Earth and George Osbourne gave their backing to the Government plans providing that the cars were fueled by "green" electricity. It is a bit worrying that the Shadow Chancellor apparently does not appreciate that at the margin any electricity comes from burning gas and oil.
The "Centre for Cities" was heavily pushing tolls in cities, but appears to have changed its mind - Yorkshire Post - "Research group calls for end to road-price bullying" Local Government Chronicle - "Transport cash: 'Cut congestion link'" Guardian - "Hoon urged to spend congestion charge fund on public transport".
Press release report - "Keeping the wheels from falling off: Why England needs a new urban transport investment fund" pdf.
PS More reports - Birmingham Post - "Time to drop congestion charge hopes and fund the Metro, says thinktank"
New Civil Engineer - "Centre for Cities: abandon congestion charging".
The RIPA Con
BBC - "Council 'snooping power' reviewed".
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 did not introduce surveillance it merely made it legal. Even now most people are unaware of the extent to which emails and phone calls are monitored by the computers under the ground at Cheltenham or to the extent to which organisations that oppose Government or local authority policies may be infiltrated.
British way of encouraging code of silence
BBC - "Arrested MP 'told he faced life'" Independent - "Leading article: Silencing the truth".
Thursday 16 April 2009
OECD recommends tolls and congestion charges for New Zealand
Newstalk - "OECD's suggestions slammed" Stuff - "'Slash and sell' way up for NZ".
Slovenia goes green the European way
STA - "Govt Raises Tolls, Reduces Diesel Excise Duty for Lorries".
The President throws a few billion at the trains - CNN - "Obama unveils high-speed passenger rail plan". What would really save money (and energy) would be a high-speed plan to curb population growth.
It seems that the authorities are more concerned about who pays for the cost of accidents in Lexus lanes than they are about the extra deaths and injuries that occur when toll lanes run alongside untolled ones - South Florida Sun Sentinel - "Davie worried about cost of responding to "Lexus lane" accident".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Public Hearings Set for Possible Toll Hike" New York - "Thruway traffic declines 5.5 percent" Land Line Mag - "West Virginia eyes 60 percent toll increase for trucks".
the Newspaper.com - "Group Finds Toll Roads Not in Public Interest - Public interest think tank issues report critical of road tolling movement".
Plan to put tolls on non MTA bridges to bail out MTA from debt and save straphangers and the MTA bureaucracy is back - Staten Island Advocate - "Tolling East River bridges back in play" MyFox - "Revised MTA Plan Keeps Tolls On Bridges" video Metro - "Paterson brings back bridge toll proposal" NY Times - "Compromise Is Offered to Bridge Toll Opponents".
Newsday - "Ravitch commission tweaks its MTA rescue plan" Daily News - "New effort to jump-start MTA bailout would make some driver toll exempt" ABC - "Bridge tolls back on the table?" video NY Post - "Return Of The Living Tolls" NY1 - "State Lawmakers Reconsider Bridge Tolls For MTA" video NY1 - "A New Plan To Save The MTA" comments.
Bit more on the Trick or Treat stunt by the Pike authorities over the Easter weekend - Metro West - "Sour taste of Easter jam" NECN - "LeBovidge has no plans for resignation" Boston Herald - "Fast Lane users rise after jams" WBZTV - "Lawmaker Calls For Pike Boss To Step Down" Boston Globe - "Turnpike tumult" NECN - "Turnpike chief explains Easter staff cuts" video Wicked - "Gov. Patrick caught in Easter traffic jam on Pike" NECN - "NECN obtains exclusive details on Easter Pike jam " video.
Other Massachusetts stories - Daily News - "Tax dollars skip road repairs" Boston Globe - "Another donor offers to light Zakim Bridge".
Nigeria back on the toll road
AllAfrica - "Nigeria: Bi-Courtney Gets Lagos-Ibadan Road for N90 Billion".
Pull the other one
Reading Chronicle - "'Congestion charging debate won't be like Manchester'".
What a difference a day makes
Yesterday we had a "hollow promise" on Tyne tunnel tolls not going up, today we have - News Guardian - "Mayor calls for increase in Tyne Tunnel toll".
A novel way of creating more congestion
BBC - "Pothole go-slow to 'calm traffic'".
Rumours that Government scientists are developing mobile inflatable obstructions (fallen trees, dead cows, abandoned vehicles etc) have been denied. The Government says that the scientists are instead concentrating on two other new schemes. The first is traffic lights that only change to green between one AM and five AM - to encourage off peak travel. The other is road works stage sets (complete with robot actors who are on permanent tea break), the sets can be installed wherever the authorities want to create extra congestion.
Government gives cars for the rich a push
BBC - "Electric car subsidies unveiled" DfT press release - "Government to help motorists and industry get on the low carbon road".
PS BBC - "The future of electric motoring " and a touch of reality from Mike Rutherford in the Telegraph last Thursday - "Gordon Brown should realise electric cars are a battery-powered nightmare".
Wednesday 15 April 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Massachusetts - "The real story behind last Sunday's Turnpike debacle" Florida - "Chorus of 'no' greets Crosstown-Gandy extension plan".
Australians suckered on toll investment
Some investors will lose all they have after they bought penny stocks not knowing they were liable for further cash calls - The Australian - "Tollway a dead end for angry investors".
Hollow promise on Tyne tunnel tolls
Shields Gazette - "Boss's pledge on Tyne Tunnel tolls". The reality is that the tolls have already gone up and there is permission for them to go up again to pay for the building of a privately operated second tunnel - Opsi - 2005 Tolls order.
ABD calls for Toll Poll in Cambridge
Cambridge News - "'Give motorists a vote on congestion charge'".
Bit more reaction to the massive Easter weekend queues (up to seven miles) at the toll barriers in Massachusetts. The queues appear to have been engineered either to force drivers into accepting higher tolls or to "encourage" them to tag their vehicles - Boston Herald - "Massachusetts Turnpike madness" Boston Globe - "Patrick vows to keep Pike moving - Investigation ordered into Easter tieups" Boston Globe - "Pike chief exacts a toll" Daily News Tribune - "State Treasurer Timothy Cahill lashes out at Pike" Boston Herald - "Massachusetts Turnpike sabotage a slap in face to taxpayers" Boston Herald - "Many think gridlock was a setup" Boston Herald - "Boss maintains he did right by Massachusetts".
WBZTV - "Patrick, Aloisi Call For Toll Traffic Probe" video NECN - "Who's to blame for Easter traffic backups?" video Boston Globe - "Scarce resource or scare tactic?".
The Florida authorities have not yet managed to rebury the secrets dug up by the Grand Jury investigation, and are probably wishing that the Orlando Sentinel could be persuaded to stop its campaign - "Crotty can't avoid backlash from X-way authority scandal".
Sundry stories - New York - "Rider groups demand MTA fix as tone-deaf Albany legislators relax" Florida - "Beach driving linked to tolls" West Virginia - "Turnpike tolls should be adjusted" West Virginia - "Caruth, Chafin believe money available to stop toll hike" Connecticut - "Planners: Scrap study on border tolls".
Topsy turvy tolls in Vietnam
The road being built by the Government which is to be sold off, but the buyer wants the Government to lend them the money - Thanh Nien - "Expressway enters the slow lane".
Bit more on Government may force London to extend "low emission" tolls
Evening Standard - "Britain 'facing £300m fine' after Mayor shelves pollution plans".
Case against Severn bridge tolls
Western Mail - "Time to remove Severn bridge tolls".
Bit more on western progess in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Telegraph - "Zimbabwe's toll roads are a bad idea" Zimbabwe Observer - "Zimbabwe Government introduces Toll Gates".
Children encouraged to take to the road
DfT - "Over 200,000 children to benefit from £10m of cycle training".
If the Government wants to improve "health and fitness" of children, then there must be safer ways to do it.
Tuesday 14 April 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Bit more on the toll barrier queues in Massachusetts - Boston Globe- "Patrick asks for 'full accounting' for Pike toll mess" WCVB - "Gov Calls For 'Pike Backup Probe, Union Blames State - Teamsters Say State Undermanned Toll Booths On Purpose" video Daily News Tribune - "Cahill calls traffic jam at Pike tolls an 'embarrassment'".
Other story - Market Watch - "Fitch Downgrades $114MM Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Auth (Florida) Revs to 'CCC'; Outlook Negative".
Western progess in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean - "Tolls on the roads".
Mad or mad?
BBC - "Drivers catch green lights 'wave'".
Which is madder? - The Government "discouraging systems which reduce fuel use" and also reduce congestion as they "result in less tax being paid to the Treasury"? Or reducing CO2 emissions being given as the reason that they are reversing the policy?
Bit more on Global warming instrument not working because of the cold
BBC - "Arctic team gives up on ice radar".
Government may force London to extend "low emission" tolls
Guardian - "Government may countermand Boris Johnson over air quality fears".
Novel excuse in Massachusetts for toll barrier queues - they can't afford to pay toll collectors - WCVB - "Gov: Toll Backups A Sign Of Dire 'Pike Finances" video Boston Herald - "Pike drivers latest hostages" Boston Globe - "Pike budget pinch is felt at tollbooths, where drivers fume" Boston Herald - "Pike spreads blame for its Easter jams - Light toll staff makes motorists pay with traffic" Boston Herald - "Survivors of Easter Hell snarl seething" Boston Herald - "Motorists rise up over Pike’s holiday delays" Wicked - "Pike toll Easter snafu caused by OT/sick time crunch, says director".
Two views on how well the West Virginia Turnpike is maintained through tolls - Register Herald - "Barr says tolls keep road in good repair" Register Herald - "Just get it done".
Sundry stories - New York - "Port Authority paying Larry Silverstein $21.5 million but has yet to seek 'development' tips"
Louisiana - "I-49 panel ponders funds - Group told tolls likely necessary" West Virginia - "Turnpike panel proposes $2 tolls" New York - "M.T.A. Rescue Plan May Hinge on Highway Spending, and Republican Support" New York - "Drop in State Revenue May Mean Further Cuts, the M.T.A. Says" AP - "Architect gives Mass. money to keep his bridge lit" Land Line Mag - "Texas using stimulus money to build toll roads".
The usually placid toll payers grumble
Hills New (Sydney) - "Tolling frustrations an earful for NRMA".
Attempt against another toll in Liverpool area fails
Warrington Guardian - "Lib Dem hopeful fails in call-in bid".
Humber tolls - more names on petition
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "11,000 sign bridge toll petition".
BBC - "Biomass 'worse than fossil fuels'".
It is reassuring that Government advisers are in this case looking at the wider picture which they usually ignore. But the obsession with CO2 means that they miss what should be the real point. The costs of reducing CO2 almost certainly outweigh the claimed benefits, but we do need alternative sources of energy in order to reduce reliance on imported oil and gas. The question should really be whether bio fuel is more or less economic than other "home grown" alternatives (nuclear, "renewables" and British coal mines) and whether in a world of uncontrolled population growth it makes sense to grow fuel rather than food.
The wind industry and their friends seem to be after even bigger direct subsidies, Government loan guarantees and more "Renewables Obligation Certificates" (subsidy from electricity consumers via the electicity suppliers) - Independent - "UK wind industry jobs growth potential 'at risk'" IPPR press release - "UK must act now if we are to develop offshore wind jobs" IPPR paper - "Green Jobs: Prospects for creating jobs from offshore wind in the UK" pdf.
Monday 13 April 2009
Another Toll tunnel in trouble
Courier Mail - "True cost of BrisCon yet to register".
Sundry stories - Nevada - "EDITORIAL: Taking a toll" West Virginia - "Toll Increase on the Way? " Connecticut - "Stamford lawmakers oppose highway tolls" Texas - "Toll road idea full of pork".
BBC - "Attenborough warns on population".
Sunday 12 April 2009
Some views on the planned goldplated road bridge across the Forth
Scotland on Sunday - "Save a fortune with Forth bridge rethink" Comparison with the cost of other bridges (pdf).
Sundry stories - New York - "Senate GOP wants road funds in exchange for MTA bailout" Colorado - "E-470: Taking a toll on drivers" Florida - "Check into troubling chumminess at Orange County's expressway agency" Connecticut - "Future grim for transportation bills".
Brown to be given push?
BBC - "No 10 'smear' messages published ". Another sign that the establishment are lining up someone else to run the Government. Will the Queen be picking a reliable banker to act as their caretaker at Number Ten?
Saturday 11 April 2009
One reaction to the electric car push
Telegraph - "You won't get me into your Noddy car".
Times - "Green energy feels the chill in harsh economic climate" Times Editorial - "Spinning in the Wind".
The editorial concludes that there should be more subsidies for wind power and in particular that the Government should "double the number of tradable renewables obligation certificates" otherwise "renewables will unfortunately be unaffordable". This is the crazy sort of economics that lines the pockets of the spivs and foreign firms at the expense of British consumers and taxpayers. Renewables are currently unaffordable, and "ROCs" are just pieces of paper. The Times should peddle this nonsense in another country rather than trying to completely destroy an economy nearly wrecked by its friends the bankers and "free market" economists.
Truck tolls on the way? Plain Dealer (Cleveland) - "Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana consider separate lanes for trucks on Interstate 70".
More controversy following the Grand Jury investigation - Orlando Sentinel - "Are Webster's ties to road-building industry too close for comfort?".
New York tour buses with nowhere to park - Chelsea Now - "Tour bus layovers clogging West Side streets".
Sundry stories - New York - "The South Bronx Sounds Off on the MTA Bailout" Florida - "Ban On I-4 Tolls Set To Expire" video Massachusetts - "Senate president surprised by T service cut plan" lot of comments California - "Freeway express-lane project speeds ahead" comments.
Queues on new toll road despite authorities asking drivers to use other roads
NZ Herald - "Traffic warning - stay off the roads".
Global warming instrument breaks down because of an "unexpected wind chill as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius"
BBC (Thursday) - "Arctic team: 'London, we have a problem'".
Friday 10 April 2009
The President is expected to ask for more money for the Middle East wars - CBS - "Obama To Seek $83.4 Billion For Wars" BBC - "Obama seeks extra funds for wars".
Wow bow? CNN - "Bow or no bow?" video.
For an alternate view of who America is fighting and why, this was written in 2001 by a left wing academic just after the full scale invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 -
Third World Traveller - "Afghanistan, the CIA, bin Laden,
and the Taliban".
Other stories - Kentucky - "KY officials look for funding for I-69 bridge" Massachusetts - "Somerville delegation says yest to reforming transporation agencies" Massachusetts - "Critics say transportation reform lacks specifics on savings" Massachusetts - "GOP members upset at transportation vote"
Florida - "Tolls on I-4?" video "NY MTA fiscal crisis due to high debt costs: report".
Bognor Regis Observer - "Congestion charges for lorries could help protect Chichester". Would it not be better for everybody to improve the alternative route?
Cambridge Con consultation meeting
Hunts Post - "Improve Our Public Transport, Cambs Council Told"
Another non answer
The Prime Minister's response to the petition which asked him to "Stop Tesco and other PRIVATE companies from accessing DVLA database".
The petition only got 308 signatures which perhaps shows why Governments think that drivers are an easy target.
(There is a similar petition still open which has got even less signatures.)
Overview of who's viewing who round the world
1to1 Media (USA) - "Surveillance of Public Spaces: A Privacy Issue? ".
Thursday 9 April 2009
The way to save
With the London Mayor an electric car fan, and with exemption from the eight pounds (twelve dollars) "congestion charge" and the possibility of the fuel (electricity) being provided free by the taxpayer, no doubt everyone will be flocking to buy a Tesla - Market Watch - "Tesla to Open First EU Regional Sales & Service Center in London". After all they are a snip at only £87,100 ($128,000) - Tesla UK (click on "Buy" tab, and then select location as "Great Britain".
You may need strong arms if you ever need to change the battery as it is a "Custom microprocessor-controlled lithium-ion battery with 6,831 individual cells" and weighs 992 lbs!!
More DfT stats - "Vehicle licensing statistics: 2008"
press release report (pdf) data tables (excel).
The number of licensed vehicles has increased from 33,957 thousand to 34,206 thousand (0.73%). The increase, which is lower than average, seems to be due to vehicles being kept for longer rather than the effect of the purchase of new ones.
Interest rate stays at 0.5%
BBC - "Bank keeps interest rates at 0.5%".
More on the way things are done in Texas - "State Officials Chose Stimulus Money to be Used to Build 8 Texas Toll Roads" video.
It is claimed that if it were not for tolls, then drivers would have to wait up to 20 years before roads were built. This is the usual nonsense from those who want to extort money the painful way from drivers.
The real resources such as labor and machinery are either available or not. To the extent that you need pieces of paper (money) to stop these resources from being idle and you need to "borrow" these pieces of paper, then that is exactly the same whether the road is tolled or not. The difference is how those pieces of paper and interest are paid back. Tolls are inefficient and expensive to collect, toll administrations are often bloated and corrupt, and not least of all - drivers don't like tolls. It is far better to pay back these pieces of paper from gas taxes which also help to encourage fuel economy.
Bay Area Toll Authority may spend $400 million of car tolls on (free) cycle lanes - ktvu - "Panel Votes To Study Adding Bike Lanes To Entire Bay Bridge" video.
Truckers reaction to the Bill passed by House and Senate in Massachusetts - Land Line Mag - "Masspike to cease, fuel tax increases loom".
Some other reaction - Wicked - "Editorial: Senate backs away from real reform".
Staten Island Advance - "Pol calls for elimination of Verrazano toll for Staten Island E-ZPass users".
What people don't know - Huffington Post - "Energy: What Americans Don't Know Can Hurt Us".
Sundry stories - New Jersey - "Turnpike authority plans to sell $650M in bonds" Nevada - "Privatization in toll-lane plan not sitting well with legislators" Oregon / Washington State - "Keeping the promises for the I-5 bridge" West Virginia - "Turnpike toll battle not over" Florida - "Blue Ribbon Expressway Authority Committee Loses Member" Washington State - "Editorial: Tolls advisory commission holds its ground" "NY MTA gives timeline for service cuts, talks go on".
Democratic Party repeat claim that they will abolish tolls
Japan Times - "DPJ pushes ¥21 trillion two-year stimulus plan".
Boris tries to outgreen Brown
Folowing yesterday's story - "Does the Android at Number Ten dream of electric cars?" the London Mayor is also a fan - Guardian - "Mayor unveils plan to turn London into 'electric car capital of Europe'" Guardian - "London mayor – 100,000 electric cars for capital".
Korean War on cars using tolls as one weapon
Korea Herald - "Proactive transport strategy for green growth".
Jeux Sans Frontières
More snooping on email and web - vnunet - "UK email retention law comes into force".
More spending committed on ID cards - vnunet - "£650m ID cards contracts awarded to CSC and IBM".
Still marching towards wrong goal
BBC - "UN demands more climate ambition".
Wednesday 8 April 2009
SMMT / RAC Foundation report at end of March - "Carbon prices: The right charge for motorists?" pdf.
There is more than one question when it comes to taxes on roads use. One is how high should they be. The answer to that is for politicians. The important thing is that Governments should stop lying about how high the taxes are.
A second question is how much of that tax should be spent on the roads. The answer to that is partly political, though Governments should stop giving the impression that roads users don't cover their costs when the truth is that taxes are about seven times what is spent. In any case it makes economic sense to invest more of the taxes back into the roads that generate those taxes.
A third question is what is the best way of collecting that tax. A carbon tax would be no more than an empty gesture, as there is no way that uses such as domestic heating are going to be taxed at a significantly higher level than now, and there is no way that road fuel taxes which are many times higher than needed are going to be reduced. The important thing is to recognise that vehicle fuel duty is a highly efficient tax with very low collection costs and very low evasion rates. Fuel duty also encourages fuel economy and better driving. It is a pity that none of Britain's main parties admit that drivers (though they do not like any taxes) wish fuel tax to be the main charge and want other taxes such as VED and tolls to be substantially reduced or scrapped.
One Green not so green
We frequently pillory the Greens for their naievety in backing ideas that are unwanted, inefficient and uneconomic and which frequently put them in the same camp as the spivs and the establishment. But one area where one of them took the blindfold off some years ago (Skye toll bridge) is PFI - Guardian (Tuesday) - "You are being fleeced in the biggest, weirdest rip-off yet: a widened M25".
Tolls big earner in Sydney
Brisbane Times - "Driving to work can really take its toll".
Drivers try to avoid new Slovenian stickers
Euractiv - "European citizens demand a fair price for fair usage of Slovenian highways!".
Lib Dems backing road tolls
Nick Clegg at the end of an interview he has given to the Stockport Express said that - "Nationally, the Lib-Dems have always been in favour of congestion charging for trunk roads and motorways, but at local level we believe it is up to each individual town to decide on whether such proposals are acceptable."
Private toll bridge tries to stop competition
Free Press (Detroit) - "Moroun tries to sink rival bridge -- with help from Detroit congresswoman".
More on attempt to stop Delaware River Port Authority from spending bridge tolls on vanity projects - The Bulletin (Philadelphia) - "Legislators: Rein In DRPA's Non-Bridge Spending".
Legal challenge to new road - Northern Virginia Daily - "Opponents take arguments to federal judge".
More on MTA - Newsday - "Dems step up efforts to win GOP support for MTA bailout" NY1 - "Democrats Begin To Reach Out To GOP For MTA Bailout" video NY Post - "Dem Leaders: Gop Needs To Get Behind Mta Bailout".
Massachusetts House and Senate pass reform bill to Gov - Republican - "House passes turnpike bill" Boston Globe - "House approves a transportation transformation" Boston Herald - "Rep drops license bid for illegals" Daily News Tribune - "Editorial: Protect the toll-payers".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Down to the wire..." Washington State - "Baird urges bridge planners to concentrate on funding sources and toll projections" Washington State- "Measure seeks to change tolling policy on Narrows" Washington State - "TOLLS: Look for ways to increase bridge traffic" letter Michigan - "Blue Water Bridge traffic on the decline" Florida - "Expressway Authorities raise most tolls 25 cents" Texas - "Possible tollway for Grayson County" Texas - "U.S. 281 upgrade proceeding as toll route".
Gnomes stay at home
BBC (Sunday) - "UBS grounds foreign desk managers".
New South Wales Premier wants all main roads tolled
Live News - "NSW Premier backs congestion tax".
Does the Android at Number Ten dream of electric cars?
Independent - "Brown's electric dream for Britain".
This is another example of how the loonies and the spivs have taken over Britain. Apart from the exorbitant cost and general impracticality of electic cars, there is great doubt as to whether the rare elements that are needed for the batteries will be available in sufficient quantities. The assumption that the use of electric cars (or trams or trains) reduces demand for fossil fuels is completely wrong. The marginal cost of generating electicity from renewables or nuclear is relatively low and those sources are used first. At the margin the elecricity is generated from burning fossil fuels and in particular oil and gas.
Generating the power by burning the fossil fuel at a power station and then distributing it is no more efficient than burning the fuel in a car engine - Transport Watch - "Facts sheet 5c Electric cars" (note that this fact sheet is based on the average source of fuel for electricity generation, if account is taken of the fuel source at the margin then the inefficiency of the electric car is even greater).
So if the aim is to reduce CO2 or to use fuel more efficiently, electric cars would fail to achieve it. If the Government really wanted to reduce fossil fuel use then they would stick with the policy that they already have of large taxes on fuel use and would not waste more money on subsidising electic cars.
Road hole map
More holes in Blackburn, Lancashire? BBC - "Is there a North-South pothole divide?".
Tuesday 7 April 2009
Blue Ken criticises Parking Levy
Nottingham Evening Post - "Kenneth Clarke says parking levy is 'ridiculous'".
Dutch toll plan deferrd
Dutch News - "Road pricing plan put on back burner".
EU approves modest loans for two car companies
BBC - "UK car firms get European funding".
Monday 6 April 2009
Various central banks are providing funds to "US financial institutions" - CNN - "5 central banks swap currencies" Reuters - "Central banks set currency swap lines" BofE - "Central Banks Announce Expanded Swap Arrangements".
The Bank of England is chipping thirty billion into the hat, so they will need a little more ink for the printing presses. Presumably the central banks are expecting a run on the dollar, but the only safe currency may be cowry shells.
PS The Wall Street Journal says "don't worry" - "What’s the Fed Up to Now?".
Bit more on Humber Tolls
Grimsby Telegraph - "Residents in 'limbo' as we wait for tolls result". To see the full text of what was said in the Adjournment debate, see the link on Friday 3rd.
The three Ps - National Journal Online - "What Role Should Public-Private Partnerships Play?".
Ax the Tax boycott - WDBO Florida - "Your commute will cost more on the toll roads".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "House pushes for public input on toll changes" Texas - "Cure for toll rage? Get a refresher on how they work - A primer for those still confused by our tapestry of tollways".
March car sales
BBC - "UK car sales 30.5% lower in March". Perhaps the surprising thing is not the continuing fall in sales, it is that 314 thousand new cars were sold.
Australians truckers prefer fuel tax to lorry tolls
Supply Chain Review - "Government owed nearly $1 billion in unpaid fines".
Authorities suggest using other roads and give other advice to reduce congestion on new toll road
Scoop - "Plan ahead and avoid queues this Easter".
Sunday 5 April 2009
Bit more on border tolls - News Journal - "Delaware is covered from any federal suits on E-ZPass favoritism".
Bit more on the Grand Jury investigation in Florida - Orlando Sentinel - "Do records tie Mike Snyder to fundraising at Orlando-Orange expressway authority?".
Bit more on suggestion of tolls replacing gas taxes - IStockAnalyst - "One More Open Vein".
Sundry stories - "Tollway ride was no trip in Gary, Indiana".
Transport Secretary having a hard time
BBC - "Hoon caught up in new claims row".
Australians have a fine time
Herald Sun - "Government owed nearly $1 billion in unpaid fines". Strange that with all these unpaid fines it was reported on the 6th March that a woman was to go to jail for not paying tolls.
Another report on Japanese toll reductions
Japan Times - "Dead ends, about turns abound in the politics of roads".
Saturday 4 April 2009
Suggestion that the bridge toll money used by Delaware River Port Authority to fund various vanity projects should be forgotten - Philadelphia Inquirer - "Editorial: DRPA Projects - Water under the bridge".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Turnpike board targeted in bill" Florida - "Toll hike begins on Sunday" West Virginia - "Caruth not yielding to turnpike toll increase" West Virginia - "The Charleston Gazette: Turnpike - Why not free?" Nevada - "Panel OKs toll road bill".
Food for thought
BBC - "Warning of food price hike crisis".
Given that Britain imports so much to feed its increasing population and given the fall in the value of the pound, it is not surprising that food price inflation in UK is currently running at 18 per cent. What is surprising is that when the establishment is spinning tales about deflation the BBC should give any publicity to this.
Friday 3 April 2009
Police chase runaway driver
BBC - "Runaway scooter carries off woman".
Government solves the economic crisis at a stroke - One trillion pounds to be saved
The Register - "Fighting Thermageddon just got £1tn cheaper".
Joy - "Big men don't pay road toll".
Sundry stories - New York - "Audit: Thruway Gas Stations Overcharge" Washington State - "Citizen committee opposes higher tolls" West Virginia - "Opposing lawmakers, Manchin to meet again" West Virginia - "Crisis? Officials set timetable for turnpike toll hike" West Virginia - "How long turnpike has lost federal upkeep funds a mystery" "Texas House eyes budget, Senate mulls privatization" Texas - "BLOTCH: This Just in On Toll Roads" Georgia - "Adam Murphy Gets Answers About Toll".
CNN - "Blagojevich indicted on 16 federal felony charges". It is not clear whether the charges relating to contractors on the toll roads in Illinois making substantial donations to campaign funds have been dropped. (This was first exposed by Associated Press in August 2005.) It is possible that this trivial matter has been buried rather than upset certain interests.
Dallas Morning News - "No more ads praising toll roads".
Americans reject "congestion pricing" amongst other things - Earth Times - "Americans Support Wide Array of Proposed Energy Policies, but Not Yet Ready to Make Tradeoffs".
Bit more on border tolls - Staten Island Advance - "Staten Island's McMahon ready to fight to keep V-N discount" Staten Island Advance - "Are Staten Island resident discounts on Verrazano Bridge unconstitutional?" NY1 - "Lawsuit Could Rule E-ZPass Bridge Discounts As Unconstitutional" video.
The MTA bail-out saga - Newsday - "Guv pressures state senators to approve MTA bailout" NY1 - "MTA Deal Falls Through Ahead Of Weekend Break" video Reuters - "NY gov: Lawmakers need 'time-out' for MTA rescue" Crain's - "Paterson pushes for MTA funding deal" Daily News - "Empty Threat?".
Irish Rebels could go to jail
Irish Herald - "Summons in the post for M50 toll rebels".
Welsh Tory suggests using Severn bridge tolls to pay for a motorway
Monmouthshire Beacon - "First Minister questioned on bridge tolls".
Portugal considers Con
Portugal News Online - "Gov’t repeats call for congestion charges".
Humber Toll mention
In yesterday's Adjournment debate, a local MP raised the issue - Hansard (scroll down to Shona McIsaac).
Trouble at the toll gate
Daily Triumph - "FAAN stops concessionaire from collecting tolls".
Brave New World?
BBC - "Obama hails 'historic' G20 summit" CNN - "G-20 pumps $1 trillion into beating recession" Guardian - "G20 Summit: winners and losers" London Summit - Official Communique.
It seems like good news for the printers of bank notes and for global warming acolytes, but others may wish to start buiding a spaceship.
Thursday 2 April 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
NY - Streetsblog - "Adriano Espaillat: Upper Manhattan Prefers Doomsday to Bridge Tolls" Daily News - "Gov. David Paterson issues ultimatum to state lawmakers over MTA bailout deal".
Other - Oregon - "Editorial: Lots of edicts in one little bill" Massachusetts - "Toll rage - Why we pay to drive the highways, where the money goes and why tolls might increase" Massachusetts - "Pike sends $90G-a-year hire packing".
Tolling the Colonies
Royal Gazette - "Is a 'congestion bill' in the works?" Royal Gazette - "... But UBP says Island's public transportation couldn't handle influx from congestion charge".
Moving out of the frying pan
All Africa - "Uganda: Can Congestion Pricing Alleviate Kampala's Jam?".
More on suits against border tolls - Jamestown Press (Rhode Island) - "RITBA must defend against class-action lawsuit" NY Times - "Toll Discounts for In-State Residents Draw Constitutional Challenge".
Selling the roads off - NY Times - "States Consider Privatizing Roads" Forbes - "US road privatization may hurt states -report".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Turnpike meeting ‘didn’t resolve anything’" Texas - "Travis County concerns; first tickets, now tolls" Florida - "Former Candidates Launch Campaign To Recall Crotty" Florida - "Agency Gives Coupons For Free Sunpass Mini" Pennsylvania - "Tolling could solve bridge problems" California - "91 Expressway toll drops due to lack of demand".
The MTA saga, including more frothing at the mouth from the trolls - Daily News Editorial - "Express to doomsday: Senate Democrats deliver fare hikes and service cuts" Daily News - "Frustrated Gov. Paterson blasts Senate on stalled MTA talks" Brooklyn Downtown Star - "MTA Approves Fare Hikes and Service Cuts" Newsday - "Paterson, Silver: MTA bailout on hold after revolt" Newsday - "Albany's next big mess: the MTA rescue" WCBStv - "Paterson Blasts State Senate Over Budget Disaster" video NY1 - "Decision Time For State Lawmakers" comments.
Grimsby Telegraph - "Did you fall for it?".
Higher tolls with the added bonus of longer queues
Times of India - "Toll hike triggers snarls at DND".
More on - Another London in the sun
Daiji World - "Abu Dhabi’s road map of the future" Khaleej Times - "Flash Forward ... the Future of Travel by Land in the Emirates" Emirates Business - "Capital studies plan to impose road toll in city".
Dartford - another call for no toll trial
Bexley Times - "MPs to call on government to scrap the tolls".
House price inflation back
BBC - "'Surprise bounce' in house prices" U.K. Bloomberg - "House Prices Unexpectedly Increased in March".
Given that interest rates have been cut to near zero, that a trillion pounds has been pushed into the economy and that the banks are having their arms twisted it is not really surprising that the first signs of a possible recovery are in the worst area possible - asset inflation.
Wednesday 1 April 2009
Establishment turning over a new leaf?
BBC - "Earth population 'exceeds limits'".
Why are the BBC not as usual aiding and abetting the politicians by hiding the biggest problem facing the world? The source of this is also strange as the prophet of doom is a plant geneticist who is Hilary Clinton's science adviser - State Department - "Nina V. Fedoroff".
Third world tolls
All Africa - "Nigeria: Matogun's Toll Gate of Controversy".
A diverting tale
Meath Chronicle - "Council to examine new safety measures for Slane".
Not an April fool
The Register - "'Big Brother' - the price of self-driving cars".
There are sixty organisations involved in this European project including the Highways Agency and TfL - Co-operative Vehicle Infrastructure Systems which is connected with ERTICO whose members include the DfT and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
It is not clear what the main object of the CVIS Project is, but tolls seem to be involved, as the schedule for their Chinese beano at the end of 2007 includes 24 references to "tolls", 7 to "road user charging", 3 to "congestion charging" and 3 to "road pricing".
Another London in the sun
Gulf News - "Abu Dhabi plans to introduce road toll to reduce traffic congestion ".
More on opposition to tolls in New Brunswick
Chronicle Herald - "Truckers tolling the bell on tolls".
What if? CNN - "Auto bankruptcy: What it means".
More on border tolls - Ridgefield Press (Conn.) - "Citing local traffic threat, senator votes against 'border tolls'".
No news on the way? CNN - "Chicago Sun-Times files for bankruptcy".
No tolls for Pennsylvania Gov - Fox - "It's Your Dime: Rendell's E-ZPass Bills" video.
The Bill Gates mag does some more private roads pushing - Cascadia Prospectus - "More Public-Private Partnerships Needed For U.S. Transport Finance".
MTA bailout is on the ropes, but it looks as if tolling of the East River and Harlem River bridges has been killed -
Daily News - "Plan to rescue MTA goes off rails: Bailout 'falling apart' over payroll tax dispute" NY Post - "TAXI! New Hit Looms" Metro - "Albany eyes taxi tax, fees to ease fare hike" NY1 - "MTA Bailout Deal Falls Through As Budget Deadline Passes" video NY Times - "Unexpected Opposition to Payroll Tax Throws M.T.A. Rescue Talks Into Turmoil" WPIX - "Gov. Paterson Says No to Toll Increase on Bridges".
Daily News - "Paterson says no tolls on bridges, but 50-cent surcharge for cab rides on the table" NY1 - "Is The MTA Funding Plan Still Alive?" views WCBStv - "Paterson Sets Plan To Bail Out MTA Doomsday Budget" video Streetsblog - "Three Men in a Room Spike Bridge Tolls" Daily News - "'Desperately' Seeking A Deal On MTA" Newsday - "NY legislators reject bridge tolls as MTA bailout".
Sundry stories- "Kentucky inaction stalls Indiana bill on bridge projects" West Virginia - "Deterioration or toll increase?" Massachusetts - "Hank Investigates: Roadside Assistance" West Virginia - "Governor, lawmakers to meet over proposal to prohibit toll hike" Land Line Mag - "Kansas bill dead, called for handing over Turnpike to state DOT".
Spy under the bonnet
Daily Mail - "The black box that tracks every mile you drive and will make speed cameras obsolete".
Cambridge toll - Going to St Ives minus wives, sacks, cats and kits
Hunts Post - "Cambs Road-price Commission Heads for St Ives".
New Slovenian stickers
Austrian Times - "Slovene highway pass gets car club inspection".
Warrington councillor fighting Mersey toll plans
This is Cheshire - "Lib Dem MP hopeful rebels against party".
More on - new EU lorry toll laws may be delayed
EurActiv - "EU states shelve debate on green road charges".
Fuel duty rise
Fuel duty (on both petrol and diesel) increases today from 52.35 pence to 54.19 pence a litre - BBC - "Petrol tax rise comes into force" "Revenue & Customs Brief 22/09". Including the VAT, the increase in pump price will be 2.16 pence a litre which will net the Government about one billion in a full year.
The last increase in fuel duty was at the beginning of December (2008) when two pence was added so that drivers would not benefit from the cut of VAT from 17.5% to 15%.
The 30% fall in the value of the pound over the last year should have already pushed up pump prices by about 10% or so, but this has not happened because of the substantial fall in the dollar cost of a barrel of oil.
Trying to shore up the ruin
BBC - "G20 leaders gather amid security" CNN - "Sarkozy walkout threats at G-20, reports say".
Strange that the capitalist and neo-capitalist system will apparently not survive without State intervention - more regulation, more public spending and more inflation of the money supply.
Also strange that the "free market" system needs each country to behave in the interests of the world economy rather than its domestic economy.