AUGUST 2009 NEWS
Monday 31 August 2009
The Democratic Party of Japan has won a landslide victory. One of its major promises was to scrap road tolls. It remains to be seen whether this will happen or as with China, where tolls have twice been abolished, the usual corruption means that most of the tolls will remain. DPJ - "Toward an even greater victory for the people".
New tolls in Ghana
Ghana News Agency - "Ministry computerising toll collection ".
Sundry - Oregon - "Portland Considers Buying A McMansion-style Highway Bridge" Texas - "Toll rates take effect Tuesday; Sam Rayburn Tollway grows, too" West Virginia / DC - "Suit could disrupt rail to Dulles project" Florida - "More drivers cheat since expressway toll hike" "Oklahoma City fire officials change policy to avoid tolls".
South Afica's new tolls
Sundry - MoneyWeb - "Sanral: SA's road miracle or a waste of taxpayers' money?".
Sunday 30 August 2009
Bankers are behind the Road tolls plan
Times - "NM Rothschild pitches motorway privatisation plan ".
As well as the Tories, it seems that the Lib Dems also support the sell off of the main roads, as Vince Cable says "This is an attractive, positive idea which could release considerable resources to the public finances and may have real environmental merits. The scale of it is vast — it makes rail privatisation look like small beer."
Redwood not so keen on the Con that Red Ken started
Brian has pointed out that though John Redwood wants to sell off the roads, he is not so happy about the toll that he is already paying - JR Diary - "The Congestion charge is correctly named".
Saturday 29 August 2009
Sundry - Georgia - "Toll to replace HOV on I-85".
More on Humber bridge board fighting for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "'Legal action is not the answer'" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge toll rise plan slammed".
Friday 28 August 2009
"Greatest fee-grab in the history of Australian infrastructure"
Sydney Morning Herald - "Toll roads: how the cake was made to fit the icing".
AA suggest lower tolls at Dartford
BBC - "Congestion claim over toll charge".
Confirmation of asset price inflation
BBC - "House prices rise most in 5 years" Land Registry news release. Not really a surprise given the vast sums of money being created from nothing by the Old Lady and given the population boom. The mystery is how and when this will all end.
Only a game - Wired - "Have Fun Playing With a Bridge Troll".
Bit more on "Moving Cooler" (see news 28 & 30 July) - NY Times - "State DOTs Tap Brakes on Emission Goals".
Sundry - Florida - "UCF Athletics to get toll money" Texas - "Small business worries about toll hike impact " Texas - "State officials would seek private partner for Southwest Parkway if tollway authority backs out" West Virginia - "Turnpike toll revenues up 48 percent, but seasonal drop expected" "Higher Tolls On Kansas Turnpike For Cash Payers" video.
Drivers (half of them) are not deterred by tolls
Vancouver Sun - "Tolls don't deter drivers from using Golden Ears Bridge".
More on closed meeting of Humber bridge board to fight for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "New bid to increase bridge tolls" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Could bridge tolls be set to rise?".
More on Britain's population inflation
Telegraph - "New baby boom for Britain" Mail - "The migrant baby boom: Foreign mothers help push Britain's population past 61m" Express - "Immigrant Baby Boom" Times - "Baby boom fuels jump in British population to 61.4 million".
Some commentators are saying that the population increase is a good thing, that big families are "fun" and that population growth shows people are "optimistic". It is suggested that it would be even better if more people had large families.
King Canute calculates the cost
BBC - "Climate protection 'to cost more'".
Thursday 27 August 2009
Telegraph - "The climate camp's in town – and it's all so taxing. . .".
BBC - "UK population now more than 61m" Guardian - "Birth rate pushes UK population to greatest increase in almost 50 years". The Immigration Minister refers to a "fall in net migration", but even at the reduced level it is growing by 1.2 million a decade. In any case net migration figures obscure the fact that many emigrants are older people while most immigrants are young and far more likely to have children. In 2008 there were 708 thousand births in England & Wales of which 171 thousand had a mother who was not born in the UK. The reality is that all the growth in Britain's population is due to post war migration. The establishment don't care about the effect on the quality of life for the ordinary person as it gives them an excuse for more controls over what people do and more taxes and congestion charges. ONS - "Births, selected background data".
Tory call for tolls over all
Conservative Home - "Should we abolish vehicle excise duty and instead franchise the private sector to run motorways with tolls?" John Redwood's Diary - "Government cannot be trusted to run our roads".
It seems that if we have a Tory Government after the next election it will be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The Tories seem to have forgotten anything that they ever knew about roads. The idea that there could be competition between private toll road A and private toll road B is totally loony. They suggest that if we have tolls then it will be easier to build more roads. But the main problem with road building is not money, it is that we there is a shortage of space (in and between the built up areas) and the political parties are under the influence of tree huggers and global warming preachers who want to stop people from using cars and where they can't do that then they want to slow them down.
Annual vehicle licences can not be abolished as the data is needed for various purposes, but there is a strong case for reducing vehicle excise duty. As drivers are already overtaxed, any reduction in VED should not mean an increase in other driving taxes, but if there is one then it should be on fuel duty and not on tolls which are the most inefficient of all taxes.
Tory call for no tolls at Dartford
Bexley Times - "‘Rethink this toll crossing misery’".
If Mr Brokenshire's Leader gets what he wants this "misery" will spread over Britain.
Sundry - Massachusetts - "Driver Killed In Weston Toll Booth Crash" Washington State - "Pollard lashes out at Leavitt in Vancouver mayor's race".
Investing in tolls
FNArena - "Road Safety".
More on - Humber bridge board to fight for toll increase
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge board to request reversal on tolls".
Still pushing for tolls
This Day - "FERMA Seeks Restoration of Toll Gates".
More Carbon mania
BBC - "'Artificial trees' to cut carbon".
Asset price bubble reinflating
BBC - "House prices 'continue to rise'" Scotsman - "Footsie resumes record rally".
Britain continues to fail to deal with problems like its trade deficit and population growth and is instead concentrating on a policy of cheap money. That was an odd way of dealing with a problem that would not have occurred without cheap money to fuel it, but it is now clear that the Old Lady by using the crude "tool" of cheap money has over corrected and asset inflation is back.
Wednesday 26 August 2009
Daily Star - "Heavy vehicles still use old road just to avoid tolls".
Bit more on - Zimbabwe joining the "free" world
SW Radio Africa - "New toll road system causes chaos".
Indian Toll enterprise
Asia Times - "Cops turn robbers on India's roads".
Sundry - Louisiana - "Less traffic means a tighter budget for Causeway Commission" Virginia / DC - "Moran: I know we can't lay more asphalt, but DC should".
Daily Express - "£1.34 A Mile Road Toll Fury".
The headline takes us back to July 2004 when Alistair Darling floated the idea of road pricing. The Express might like to use this as another stick to beat Labour with, but it seems that the Tories under David Cameron may be a bigger threat.
PS There have been various other reports on the RAC Foundation privatisation and tolls plan. We liked this headline - "'Consider road privatisation', charity urges". In Britain it seems that right wing = charity.
Humber bridge board to fight for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge Board could take legal action over tolls".
Troll lossses down
The Age - "Transurban says traffic on toll roads is 'resilient'".
Irish Times - "Motorists missing toll discounts".
Vanguard - "Chime wants S-East roads reconstructed".
Tuesday 25 August 2009
Toll Road future
The RAC Foundation want motorways privatised - Telegraph - "RAC Foundation: Government should consider motorway sell off". This story is another indication that the establishment are planning a future of road tolls.
One business speaks out about David Cameron's proposal for more toll roads - Fresh Business Thinking - "For Whom The Road Tolls…".
La Hood still pushing tolls to replace "declining gas-tax revenue", it seems that he may also back using road tolls to pay for mass transit - Morning Call (Pennsylvania) - "Specter, LaHood drive talk on transportation". More toll pushing in Pennsylvania - Philadelphia Inquirer - "Editorial: Time to toll I-80".
Sundry - Virginia / DC - "Residents give input on proposed Dulles Toll Road increases" Virginia / DC - "Meetings planned about Dulles Toll increases" Massachusetts - "Lawyers appeal ruling on spending toll cash for Big Dig" Land Line Mag - "Dulles toll increase would pay for mass transits" "Faster Vs. Cheaper: Oklahoma Turnpike Or Shunpike?".
Border toll problem
Colombia Reports - "Protesters block border road with Venezuela".
More on BC toll proposal
Abbotsford News - "This is one drawl I would rather not perpetuate".
Monday 24 August 2009
Local authorities want a share of the tolls loot
Sydney Morning Herald - "Councils hope tax review brings roads relief".
Joong Ang Daily - "Parking spots for small cars to bring lot owners cash". Given the incentives, it is surprising how few cars are "small".
Trolls come out of the woodwork
It is expected that following this coming Sunday's General election, the Liberal Democratic Party which has ruled for fifty years will be replaced by a Democratic Party of Japan Government. The DPJ have promised to remove tolls and the interests that want them kept are now warning that this would increase pollution, cause global warming and harm national and regional finances. There have even been reports of polls which have found that most Japanese want the tolls kept!.
The website funded by Bill Gates with some more pushing of tolls and of private roads - Cascadia Prospectus - "No Federal Bailout: States, Regions Confront Transpo Funding Woes".
Opposing Views - "Cash for Clunkers Sought to Create Wealth by Destroying Value".
Sundry - Massachusetts - "Appeal filed in Mass. turnpike toll lawsuit" Texas - "Ohio Turnpike users can set up E-ZPass accounts in other states, possibly pay less".
More on Humber tolls
Hull Daily Mail - "Local charge for bridge debt 'ludicrous'". Alan Johnson says that Council tax payers being responsible for the bridge debt is "ludicrous", but what is ludicrous is the size of the debt. If it had been a bank that has got into financial trouble they would have been bailed out.
Toll sales conference
Logistics - "Australian Summit for Intelligent Transport Systems leaders".
Foreign HGVs get off light
BBC - "MPs urge foreign lorry crackdown" Transport Cttee - "The enforcement activities of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)" pdf.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency boasts that it has "issued around 8,000 fixed penalty notices, of which around 60% were to drivers from outside the UK". According to the DfT Stats for 2008 there were 1.67 foreign registered goods vehicles on Britain's roads in 2008. According to the news report almost half of these are "un-roadworthy or in need of work" that would make around 800 thousand vehicles breaking the safety rules and about five thousand of them getting a notice. If these vehicles were avoiding a toll or congestion charge would over 99% of them be allowed to get away with it?
Though the foreign registered vehicles are worse than British ones, it is alarming that British registered vehicles are almost as bad.
Sunday 23 August 2009
Sundry - Texas - "Agency ‘aggressive’ on environmental review for U.S. 281" Virginia - "To toll or not? Portsmouth businesses have doubts".
More on BC toll proposal
The Province - "Start your engines for road-pricing debate - Congestion charge and tolls mulled to make ends meet".
Hauliers not happy
HGV Ireland - "IRHA unhappy at no toll relief".
Saturday 22 August 2009
From newspaper.com - "Arlington Sues Virginia Over HOT Lanes".
Free bridge demolished to ensure that drivers use the new tolled one - Daily Comet (Louisiana) "Evacuation concerns arise as bridge demolition begins".
The Frisky - "10 Activities That Should Be Illegal To Do While Driving". Tolls might only be number seven, but unfortunately it is a more frequent activity than the others on this list!
Sundry - Illinois - "Abolishing tollway authority only solution" letter.
Novel road tax but easy to evade till identity numbers are brought in
Jakarta Post - "Neat ID system needed for effective vehicle tax: Gov".
Bit more on - Zimbabwe joining the "free" world
ZimEye - "Are Zimbabwe's authorities condoning road carnage?".
Friday 21 August 2009
Scam 1 - "Green" cars
This is Money - "Eco car benefits are 'exaggerated'".
The Government pumps money into this scam by subsidies to buyers and manufacturers, lower tolls or "congestion charges" and by charging higher duty on cars that are not "green". It would be more honest if Governments concentrated on giving meaningful and accurate information to drivers and encouraging reduced fuel use through fuel taxes.
Scam 2 - Recycling voyage
BBC - "Toxic waste returns from Brazil".
Nearly all recycling is uneconomic and much of it is just a con trick. The underlying problem is our ever increasing population and their consumption.
Scam 3 - Tip of the Iceberg
Reuters - "Europol expects more arrests in carbon fraud probe" Telegraph - "First arrests over 'carbon credits tax fraud'".
VAT carousel frauds are common, what people should really be concerned about is the EU pushing a trading scam that is bound to be taken advantage of by spivs and crooks. Most of them are part of the establishment and so will never end up in any court, they will just get richer.
"CARS" to end - ABC News - "Auto Dealers Brace Themselves as 'Clunkers' Program Nears Its End" DoT news release - "Secretary LaHood Announces Wind Down to
Hugely Popular CARS Program" pdf. The biggest losers from an end to the scheme may be the Japanese car makers.
More on opposition to Virginia's HOT plans - Washington Post - "Groups Draw Lines in HOT Lanes Suit" Greater Greater Washington - "I'm so proud of you!".
Sundry stories - "Maryland E-ZPass users quit under new fee" "Arkansas plans to use tolls to help pay for bypass" Arkansas / Missouri - "Toll Road Could be Optional for NWA Drivers".
Texas - "TxDOT offering to waive 90 percent of fees" Texas - "TxDOT: Pay tolls or go to court OR TxDOT announces discount for toll runners" video Texas - "TxDOT toll amnesty starts at end of month, lasts 90 days" comments Washington State - "'I-5 alternative' plan is logical, but is it likely?".
Vietnam toll complaints
Thanhnien News - "Tolls for potholes is going a bit too far, commuters say".
Daily Mail pushes road tolls
"Let passengers decide how to get any place, any time, any way".
The story says that "charging should only be introduced if it means reducing another tax on motorists – and the money raised should be ring-fenced to plough back into the transport system". This is the same nonsense used by the road pricing lobby and ignores the vast cost of such a system and the impossibility of "ring fencing" roads taxes when the Government relies on them to finance 101 other things. Is the Daily Mail publishing this nonsense a sign that this will be part of Tory plans if they win the next General Election?
Journal Live (Newcastle) - "Motorists may be forced to pay EU congestion tax".
Decline in vehicle production slowing
BBC- "Decline in UK car output slowing" SMMT- "July UK vehicle production figures".
Almost hidden in the overall production figures is the fact that production of commercial vehicles in Britain is fast disappearing.
Another fact that is almost hidden is that very few of the cars sold in Britain are made here. The SMMT car sales figure for July was 157 thousand and for the year to date was 1.082 million. The car production figures for home sales were 28 thousand in July and for the year to date was 112 thousand. So nearly 90% of cars sold in Britain so far in 2009 were imported.
Thursday 20 August 2009
Inflation pump resumes working
A month ago we reported that the month on month figures showed that the provisional figures for Broad money (M4) for June showed that it had gone down. The figures for July were released today and they show that June must have been a blip as Broad money increased by over £20 billion in the month, giving year on year growth of 13.6% - Bank of England news release.
Bit more on the Trolls winning the first round in Massachusetts court - Daily News - "Our view: Fight to fix toll inequity isn't over yet".
Sundry stories - NY - "Recession, higher tolls thin traffic on Thruway" Virginia - "Arlington Sues to Stop HOT Lanes on I-395/95" Virginia - "Some Commuters Aren’t Upset About HOT Lanes Delay" Arkanas - "Highway Commission vote advances plan for toll road".
AP - "Germany jumps in the race for viable electric car" Forbes - "Germany's Electric Car P.R. Stunt".
The reality is that it is increasingly unlikely that electric cars will ever be the main form of transport. It might be assumed that electric cars solve the problem of a scarcity of fuel, but the electicity for electric cars (as with any marginal use of electricity) comes from the burning of fossil fuels and will do so until fossil fuels are no longer available. There is another major problem with electric cars as the materials needed for the batteries are scarce, though this problem would not apply if the energy was used to produce a hydrogen fuel or a bio fuel instead of electicity. But with the world's population increasing it is likely that by the end of this century personal transport (however powered) will only be available for the elite.
Lib Dems see all things
An article pointed out to us from yesterday's Daily Mail - "The day I came face to face with our surveillance state". If the Lib Dems are opposed to surveillance then how can they support road pricing?
Way to go
From Spiked two weeks ago - "We need planes, trains and automobiles".
Wednesday 19 August 2009
Tamar toll increase applied for
Plymouth Herald - "Bridge and ferry tolls to rise 50 per cent".
If you can help us to oppose this then please contact us.
Governor stopped from printing even more money
BBC - "Bank split over money injection" Bank of England - Minutes of MPC meeting on 5/6 August (pdf).
More on the Trolls winning the first round in Massachusetts court - Boston Globe - "Ruling rebuffs toll payers who use Mass. Pike" Daily News Tribune - "Group loses bid to block Pike toll money from Big Dig debt" Boston Globe - "Tollpayers lose bid for injunction against the Pike" lot of comments.
Sundry stories - Texas - "NTTA sets hearing for Thursday on State Highway 161 project" Pennsylvania - "Federal decision leaves SEPTA short of cash" North Carolina - "State digs in for new toll road" Land Line Mag - "North Carolina studying tolls for I-95" Arkansas - "Expect Tolls On Bella Vista Bypass, Leaders Told" NY - "District 1 Council Candidates: Safer Streets? Less Traffic? No Thanks".
More toll selling
Richmond News (BC) - "Tolls could solve fiscal woes".
Indian Roads Minister wants British banks to finance new toll roads
Domain B - "Kamal Nath roadshow to hit UK on 1 September news".
Bit more on Humber tolls campaign
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "'Toll increases will harm our economy'" Grimsby Telegraph - "Tory leader's 'concern' at bridge tolls" - Is this the same David Cameron who has twice recently supported tolls and who has done next to nothing to get the bridge tolls removed from his own constituency?
Bit more on - Zimbabwe joins the "free" world
Voice of America - "Toll Gates Go Up On Zimbabwe Highways to Fund Improvements, Safety".
Call for Transport Minister to resign
Socialist Workers Party (Ireland) - "Dempsey must resign -- call by Save Tara campaigners".
Also why tolls don't go down if there is deflation - Irish Times - "No automatic drop in tolls".
Bit more on Humber tolls campaign
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "'Toll increases will harm our economy'".
Old way to avoid fuel duty?
BBC - "UK team attempts steam car record".
More hot air
BBC - "Methane seeps from Arctic sea bed".
Tuesday 18 August 2009
Trolls wins first round in Massachusetts court - WTEN - "Mass. Turnpike critics dealt another legal setback" WBZ - "Judge rejects attempt to freeze Mass Pike assets".
The anti roads people at Streetsblog have a go at the New York Daily News for criticising tolls (see "Hey MTA - Take your toll and shove it!" on Sunday) - "Time-Polluting Daily News Honcho Goes Public".
Not so hot in Virginia - Washington Post - "Va. Delays Work on I-395/95 HOT Lanes" Inside Nova - "Poor economy stalls HOT lanes".
thenewspaper.com - "Texas Taxpayers Pay Spanish Firm for Failed Toll Road Bid".
Sundry - Virginia - "Lawsuit: ‘Tear Down’ Those Toll Plazas" Texas - "Waiting for details from KBH".
Bit more on - Americans will not be conned
Washington Times - "Embassy Row" CNS - "Obama’s Envoy in London Won’t Pay Traffic Congestion Fee, Either" Troll Times editorial - "Embassy Rows Diplomats in London should pay its congestion charge".
Strange the way that the British political establishment persist in attacking the Americans for not paying this "fee", yet TfL have never attempted to take the Americans to court.
Another oddity from the land of road pricing - Off peak cars
Asia One - "Six months since Govt say they'll tweak OPC".
More on - "Drivers Should Be Charged For Road Use And Distance Driven, Government Study Says"
Australian Government - "A Conceptual Framework for the Reform of Taxes Related to Roads and Transport" (though dated June, this was published last week). The report's authors (La Trobe University is in Victoria) want fuel and other taxes replaced with tolls.
Humber toll meeting
BBC - "Meeting to discuss bridge tolls" Hull Daily Mail - "Crunch meeting for tolls campaigners". One membr of the bridge board seems to favour reducing the tolls - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge board ready to push for £1 toll?".
Latest inflation figures
BBC - "UK inflation rate stays at 1.8%" ONS - "Consumer Price Indices" (top three items are the news release and the details for July).
The signs are that though unemployment is likely to continue to rise, Britain is heading back to asset inflation and escalating debt (personal, public and national) ONS - UK Trade figures for June which were published last week and show that the fall in the trade gap seems to have stopped.
Monday 17 August 2009
Tory MP asks Lord Adonis about Dartford
News Shopper - "MP calls for tolls review after traffic levels plummet".
Zimbabwe joins the "free" world on Tuesday
Radio VoP - "Zimbabwe's Toll Gates Launch Tuesday". If these tolls are similar to other third world tolls, almost nothing will go to those who should be maintaining the road.
Sundry - NY - "Broadway Car Ban Panned By Post, Embraced by Others" NY - "Real NYers 'Malled' By Incredibly Dumb Idea" Louisiana - "Bridge tolls to rise over next 20 years" National Journal - "Should Existing Interstate Highways Be Tolled?" Orlando Sentinel - "Toll-road agency still isn't fixed, critics say".
"China: The new Big Oil"
China has accumulated a mountain of dollars. It may be turning some of this junk paper into real assets, including Oil - CNN.
Consumers Association complaint
The Post - "Call for toll appeals system for motorists".
Americans will not be conned
Guardian - "Obama's ambassador to London will not pay congestion charge backlog" BBC - "US Embassy defiant over C-charge" Independent - "US ambassador snubs £3.5m congestion fines".
Brisbane Times - "Queensland Motorways to waive $7 late pay toll fee" Courier-Mail - "Free-flow traffic tolling system broken".
Greens attack no tolls plan
Kuwait Times - "Japan election tests opposition's green resolve".
More illegal tolls
Reuters - "Extortion raises Bangladesh food prices - minister".
Sunday 16 August 2009
NY Daily News - "Hey MTA - Take your toll and shove it!".
Sundry stories - "Ohio Turnpike begins using E-ZPass in October" Texas - "Hutchison-Perry Camps Spar Over Tolls" audio Virginia - "Public meetings planned for possible Dulles Toll Road price hike".
Folly goes on
Scotsman - "Tram firm to bid for new Forth crossing contract".
Both the tram project and the planned bridge are being supervised by the transport authorities. Another thing that these two fiascos have in common is that they are an unnecessary waste of money.
Saturday 15 August 2009
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Ruling could come any day; decision will impact several Revere residents" Texas - "At Transportation Summit, Kay Bailey Hutchison Knocks Perry's Roads Record".
Friday 14 August 2009
Report on which councils might follow Nottingham's use of a parking tax
Planning Resource - "Workers test drive levy".
Confusion, he say - NBC (Texas) - "Cashless Tollbooths Confuse Some Drivers" Kirovtv (Washington State) - "Driver Fighting Narrows Bridge Toll Ticket".
Sundry stories - North Carolina - "Higher gas tax a lot fairer than terrible tolls" North Carolina - "Obama Administration Touts Nation’s First All-Electronic Toll Road in N.C." North Carolina - "No need to vote for a toll road but trains and buses another matter." North Carolina - "DOT studies possible I-95 toll".
Another turn of the screw
Durham had Britain's first congestion charge - even though it was and is on only one street. Their master plan now seems to be gradually extending their system of making driver's pay to park outside their own house - Durham Times - "City’s suburbs could be next in line for parking permits".
"Irrational toll stations to be closed"
Australian truckers support fuel taxes over other systems of road charging
Supply Chain Review - "We have our own truck tax plan, industry says".
Japan Times - "Party vows to nationalize expressways if it wins". If the expressways are taken over it will be a reversal of the previous privatization which followed corruption in the public toll agencies.
Bit more on guarantee for trolls
Herald - "Hidden toll idea gives me road rage".
Tram still in trouble
BBC - "New row threatens trams project" Edinburgh News - "Tram line chaos branded an 'embarrassment'".
The trams were orginally to be financed from the Con charge. Despite the public vote that stopped the Con, the trams went ahead anyway. Most of these tram schemes demonstrate both the folly of bringing back a 19th century system and the power of the anti roads lobby.
Time to look for your wellington boots?
BBC - "Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast'".
Thursday 13 August 2009
Collier Citizen - "How about a saint tax rather than a sin tax?".
It has been suggested that the MTA financial crisis which led to the proposal to toll the East and Harlem river bridges was really just a way of helping to finance a pay deal - NY Post - "Was The Fix In?".
A couple of letters on tolls v gas tax - Patriot News (Pa.) - "I-80 toll ... not so fast" Post Journal (NY) - "One Way To Cut Pollution,?Save The Environment".
Some late reaction to the new Louisiana toll - The Advocate - "Drivers complain of La. 1 tolls" Times-Picayne - "Lawmaker criticizes tolls on La. 1 bridge".
North Carolina starts down the toll road - News Observer- "Future rides on toll roads" WRAL - "State's first toll highway finally reaches beginning of road" News14 - "Officials break ground on state's first toll road" video.
Sundry stories - "At a glance: Private toll roads in Texas" Texas - "Wilson defends budget and rising bridge tolls, parking meter fees to Central Business Association" Virginia - "A HOT Mess - "Alexandria leaders consider joining a lawsuit Arlington County is preparing against feds." Rhode Island - "Increases seen for tolls on R.I. bridges".
Voice of America - "Following Deadly Bus Crashes, Zimbabwe Eyes Tolls to Fund Highway Safety". The most efficent way of taxing for road use is fuel duty. There is a problem in that the tax is often not spent on the roads, but tolls are usually more corrupt and one of the most dangerous places on a road is an approach to toll booths.
Bit more on BC toll proposal
North Shore News - "Mayors say road tolling necessary".
Humber tolls board "in the dark"
Grimsby Telegraph - "Bridge board 'in dark' over tolls decision". Perhaps the Board should read the Minister's decision letter, which makes it fairly clear that the Government are prepared to reduce or suspend the historical debts.
"Drivers Should Be Charged For Road Use And Distance Driven, Government Study Says"
The Motor Report". It seems that Australians have never heard of fuel taxes.
The trolls are still trying the Con trick - NZ Herald - "Congestion charges back on agenda" and plugging toll roads - Scoop - "Significant Economic Benefits From Eastern Link".
Old Nick aka Big Blue moves further into road pricing
prnewswire - "Trafficmaster and IBM Develop Solution for Smarter Driving".
More of the convenient lie
BBC - "India's water use 'unsustainable'". India's population in 1950 was 370 million, today it is 1.15 billion, and the forecast for 2050 is 1.65 billion. Though as population growth is not mentioned, it seems that all these extra people don't use any water.
Wednesday 12 August 2009
A toll collector's lot Seacoast Online (NH) - "Toll taking takes a toll".
Sundry stories - Texas - "TxDOT chief says private toll roads critical" Rhode Island - "Pell Bridge tolls will be $4 for cars without E-ZPass" Florida - "Cost and access flaws seen in Outer Beltway proposal".
Bit more on guarantee for trolls
Meath Chronicle - "Furure over motorway 'tolls bailout' for Eurolink".
Some tolls gone
In theory since January there should have been no tolls in China following a decision of the "National Development and Reform Commission". Like the last time the Government decided this, the policy has to a large extent been ignored, but some progress has been made - CCTV - "Removal of secondary highway toll".
Unemployment up despite Bank of England printing more money
BBC - "UK jobless total climbs to 2.4m" BBC - "'Fragile recovery' for UK economy" BofE - "Inflation Report August 2009".
All the Bank and the Government know is how to increase asset prices and fat cat salaries and stimulate spending that individuals, the Government and the country can not afford. This is not the way to create real long term jobs.
Kiwi farmers want road tolls
Scoop - "Farmers welcome sane decision on diesel tax". Strange that a country with a green reputation thinks that there is nothing odd about not taxing diesel fuel. Even stanger that anyone would think that road tolls is a more "efficient" tax system than a fuel tax.
Tuesday 11 August 2009
A little bit of toll protesting
On the 2nd we had a report which incidentally mentioned a vehicle crashing through a toll barrier. Now we have this report - Inside Costa Rica - "Rioting Breaks Out Against Tolls In Santa Ana" which seems to indicate that the people of Costa Rica are not as cowed as drivers elsewhere.
Proposed law change to make it easier to use drivers' tolls to pay for mass transit schemes - DC Streets Blog - "Senate’s New DOT Spending Bill Eases One Transit Funding Barrier".
Streetsblog (New York) - "What If Everyone Drove to Work?". If everyone travelled by car, then it is highly likely that there would be more car sharing, even so it is obvious that the roads system could not cope. But on the other hand, there are 993 thousand people entering the Central Business District each day who are in road vehicles (excluding buses) "Hub Bound Travel Report 2007" pdf. If they all went by public transport then some parts of that system would never be able to cope.
Tolls pushing in Tennessee - Tennessean - "Good highways come at a cost" Tennessean - "New methods of funding crucial".
We have just noticed that a new anti-toll group in Massachusetts have a website - Citizens Against Road Tolls .
Sundry stories - Virginia - "Lawsuit aims to stop toll hikes" Massachusetts - "housands Of Fast Lane Users Overcharged" Illinois - "We need highways not tollways" letter.
Foreign Office takes over the non collection of con charges
Telegraph - "Foreign embassies owe £28 million in unpaid congestion charge".
Bit more on the end of the World
BBC - "Time 'runs short' on climate deal".
Monday 10 August 2009
More from Terri Hall - Examiner - "Bait & switch: money for everything BUT 281 & 1604".
Bakersfield Californian - "Moral: Bring cash" letter.
Sundry stories - Rhode Island - "Vote on Pell Bridge tolls this week" video Maryland - "Md. tolls could rise to pay for widening I-270".
The Star (Toronto) - "Pollution tax? It's already here". The writer wants the proceeds from applying sales tax to fuel to be used to subsidise (the mainly better off) drivers who buy "plug-in electric vehicles and electric bicycles". The next step in the plan is that when most drivers have gone electric they will have to switch to a "province-wide road pricing system" to replace the lost gas tax.
Ho Chi Minh City considers various road taxes
Vietnam News - "City mulls over increased vehicle taxes and annual fees".
Guarantee for trolls
Independent - "Taxpayerwill have to foot bill for M3 toll shortfall" Independent - "Return trip from Kells to Dublin will cost €11.20".
Don't count on accountants
Western Mail - "Many executives back road tolls to fund better public transpor". As accountants let the bankers get away with almost destroying the economy, it is not surprising that they believe that money paid as road tolls would all go into improved roads or transport.
"Consultation" on another toll road
Bay of Plenty Times - "Open days to explain motorway toll plan".
Not as big a lie as usual
BBC - "UK assesses future food security". The video clip on this news report only mentions "climate change" but for a change they admit elsewhere that population growth is a factor. The real truth is that the overwhelming crisis facing the World is population growth. The effect of that growth is particularly worrying for Britain as there are already more mouths than Britain can feed without net imports of food.
PS Just in case anyone is misled into thinking that the world may be getting a bit of sanity, this is the latest from the head of the UN - Press Association - "UN chief says climate change biggest challenge".
Keeping an eye on things
BBC - "Lib Dems demand curbs on 'spying'".
Sunday 9 August 2009
Legal challenge to toll takeover - Washington Examiner - "Examiner Exclusive: Federal lawsuit challenges funding of Dulles Rail".
More tolls pushing, this time in Pennsylvania - Patriot-News - "Pennsylvania needs Interstate 80 toll". With some resistance - Daily Item - "Fresh I-80 toll fight coming".
Some letters on Michigan tolls proposal - Free Press Detroit - "Are tolls the way to go to fix roads?".
Spero News - "Ralph Nader on 'purloining the people's property'".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "Some in county support adding toll lanes to I-270" Massachusetts - Editorial: New agency, playing old Pike tricks" Massachusetts - "To close tolls, drive the info superhighway" Virginia - "What’s the best path for Va. on roads funding?" West Virginia - "Can new turnpike toll revenues be sustained?" Rhode Island - "After 40 Years, $2 Toll to Newport Might Rise" "Ohio Turnpike tolls to increase Oct. 1, but E-ZPass users get a deal".
No tolls due to concert crowds
Times & Transcript - "AC/DC makes highway toll-free".
American perspective on London transport subsidies
thenewspaper.com - "UK: London Transport System Built on Subsidy, Inefficiency".
Bit more on new toll
Financiarul - "Extra gates to be placed for collecting toll on crossing Fetesti-Cernavoda Danube River bridge | Financiarul".
Friday 7 August 2009
Driver's Alliance comment on Goverment funding the anti road users lobby
"Swampy in a suit?".
Update on Reading TIF bid
Reading Chronicle - "Transport bid losing pace".
Humber bridge after the toll increase was rejected
Hull Daily Mail - "Bridge board searches for toll answer".
The Troll Times gives space to back parking tax
"Parking levy can help to untie knots in transport".
Thursday 6 August 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
A bit on PPP including a Portugese company objecting to improvements to a Colorado public road as it could affect its toll revenue - Common Dreams - "Purloining the People's Property".
The Infrastructurist - "America's Trains And Transit Will Always Suck".
Sundry stories - Alabama - "Republican candidate Tim James' 'Common Sense Solutions' could include toll roads" Louisiana - "Leeville bridge taking less of a toll on motorists".
The up and the down of it
Car sales in Britain in July 2009 were 2.4% up on July 2008 - BBC - "Scrappage scheme boosts car sales" SMMT.
Total sales over 12 months are still down compared with the year before by nearly 23% (1,400,000 falling to 1,082,000). As usual in Britain, there is this odd idea that the important thing is people consuming rather than where these cars were made.
TfL accounts out
TfL have just published their 2008/09 Annual Report. The section on the Con Charge is the same as with previous years, in that it tells you almost nothing. But net income of £148 million is £6 million up on 2007/08. The gross income figure is £326 million, so the cost of collectibg each £8 charge was about £5.
Bank to create another fifty billion of inflation fertiliser
BBC - "Extra £50bn pumped into economy" BofE news release - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and Increases Size of Asset Purchase Programme by £50 Billion to £175 Billion".
New toll is legal
On Tuesday we had a story on a Danube Bridge toll being illegal, the EU have moved quickly to reassure trolls - Romanian Times - "EC says Romania can levy bridge tolls".
Bit more on Massachusetts ballot proposal - Metro - "60 seconds with Spencer Kimball - Director of Citizens Against Road Tolls, who filed a ballot initiative today to end tolls" 7News - "No More Tolls?" ABC - "Group Wants Mass. Tolls Left by the Side of the Road" video.
One view on new tolls in North Carolina - Winston Salem Journal - "N.C. toll roads".
Homage to Prius drivers - Naples News (Florida) - "The joy of the open road - pure Democracy".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Pike warns it may have to close part of road if toll money restriction passes" Pennsylvania - "Highway system's preservation is vital, yet not enough money is being spent on it" Arkansas - "State Considers Bella Vista Bypass As Toll Road".
Bit more on BC toll proposal
Tri-City News - "Bond pans TransLink expansion plan".
Bit more on review of Con exemption
Though neither the Mayor nor TfL have issued any press releases, Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport adviser had this letter in today's Guardian -
"London's congestion charge must be made fairer and more effective and the mayor made this clear in his election manifesto. Transport for London is reviewing the current exemptions to the charge. But to claim the charge may change to allow thousands of low-emission vehicles in the zone for free (London may exempt more cars, 5 August) is complete conjecture. The mayor will not be in favour of any measure that may detract from the purpose of the charge – to reduce congestion. The review will involve consideration of the alternative fuel discount, but it is too soon to speculate on any specific changes.".
(The article that is referred to is in our news for 4th, not 5th.)
Kiwis consider another toll road
National Business Review - "Tolling possible for Tauranga Eastern Link".
Wednesday 5 August 2009
USA Roundup - Later stories
Spies - Electronic Frontier Foundation- "Who Knows Where You Are, And Why?".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Mass. transportation official hits back at Timothy Cahill".
Young Libs want to hit drivers
Gazette - "Young Liberals demand Quebec highway tolls".
Bit more on Road pricing may replace car sharing in Indonesia
Jakarta Post - "Agency upbeat ERP operational in 2010".
More on review of Con exemption
BBC - "No C-charge plan for diesel cars". The recent stories on the London Con are strange in that neither the Mayor nor TfL have published any press releases. What is normal about these stories is that they reinforce how daft the Con is. The Mayor should get rid of the charge, failing that he should get rid of the exemption for hybrids, which are mainly owned by the better off.
Zimbabwe tolls imminent
AllAfrica - "Zimbabwe: Government Launches Tollgates".
More comment on Con proposal for China's third largest city
CRI English - "Traffic Congestion Fee won't Reduce Traffic Jams".
Goverment funds the green lobby according to Taxpayers' Alliance
ABD - "Government uses Taxpayers' Money to Lobby Itself - TPA report exposes cash bonanza for climate alarmists and anti-roads groups".
Plan for no tolls poll in Massachusetts - Metro - "Initiative to do away with tolls goes to AG" WBZtv - "New Push To Eliminate Tolls: Let Voters Decide" NECN - "Group wants to give Mass. voters the chance to eliminate tolls" video Boston Herald - "Proposed ballot question would end Mass. tolls".
NEW site for "Citizens Against Road Tolls".
Another piece from Terri Hall, this time on the Indiana Toll Road - Examiner - "Pillaging taxpayers' pockets".
Socialist conspiracy - Enduring Vision - "Americans Suddenly Realize Interstate Highways Are Government-Run, Are Outraged".
Cars rule not OK - Gainesville Sun (Florida) - "Politicians keeping cars happy".
Examiner - "In Michigan, toll roads could cause more problems than they solve".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Group suing on tolls has new figures - Say only half of drivers pay for roads" Texas - "Money crunch shrinks U.S. 290 East tollway" Oregon - "Comment of the day: Burden of tolls falls on Clark County commuters".
Bit more on FTA complaint about Severn bridge tolls
Bristol Evening Post - "Severn tolls 'damaging Bristol economy'".
PS RHA join in - Roadtransport.com - "Welsh hauliers demand toll reduction".
A dysfunctional economy
House prices which are mainly a function of the over supply of money, planning restrictions and immigration are rising again while those parts of the economy that are closer to producing real goods and services are still faring badly - BBC - "House prices rising, says Halifax" BBC - "Top firms' pension funds plummet" BBC - "Bad debts lead to loss at Lloyds".
More fun from our MPs
BBC - "Green failures 'may hit taxpayer'".
Tuesday 4 August 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Pennsylvania - "Going down same road: Turnpike agency revisits I-80 tolling" Missouri - "Meetings offer look at bypass funded by tolls" West Virginia - "Peaceful protest: Delegates take a stand against toll hike" Oklahoma - "Toll-road travel costs more" comments.
Back to the past
Adelaide Now - "Toll roads back on traffic agenda".
ABD Reaction to Nottingham car parking tax
"If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Try Again - Government Contemptuous of Public Opinion on Taxing Driving to Work".
Selling the Con
Express & Star "Outcry on ‘wasteful’ tax cash spending".
E tolls - King5 (Washington State) - "Couple gets citation for car they used to own" video 39Online (Texas) - "Toll Road Authorities Says Many Owe Thousands in Unpaid Toll" Houston Chronicle (Texas) - "Officers: Toll speeder a $12,000 traffic stop" Dallas Morning News(Texas) - "NTTA board members want fines for unpaid tolls scaled back, made simpler".
Tolled drivers are the milch cows - Washington Examiner - "Barbara Hollingsworth: Big con on Virginia’s ‘Big Dig’".
More tolls pushing - The Orgonian - "Telling the truth on tolling".
Sundry stories - Oklahoma - "Toll increases go into effect Tuesday" Oklahoma - "Toll increasing across the state" video "North Texas Tollway Authority Goes Big With Build America Bonds" Louisiana - "Leeville toll 'trailblazing' for other toll projects" Massachusetts - "Many join suit to return Pike tolls".
New toll on Romanian bridge may be illegal
Financiarul - "FORT: Fetesti-Cernavoda Danube Bridge toll breaches EU Accession Treaty".
Bit more on Con proposal for China's third largest city
Global Times - "Who picks road charges?".
Mayor to review hybrid exemption
Easier - "Volvo succeeds in its Congestion Charge challenge".
PS Later report - Guardian - "London mayor to review congestion charge exemptions".
Monday 3 August 2009
FTA complains about Severn bridge tolls
BBC - "Hauliers want bridge toll freeze" FTA - "FTA calls for rethink on Severn Bridge tolls".
The FTA call is so weak they may as well not have bothered. The tolls should be scrapped, though as the Welsh Assembly does nothing about this tax on entering Wales it is not surprising that the FTA is not more ambitious.
David Cameron repeats his support for road tolls
When David Cameron was asked last night about "Road charging?", This was his reply -
"Well I've said that for new roads we of course don't favour the Government's proposal that they had which was for a sort of eye in the sky giant road charging scheme. We didn't favour that, we opposed that. But I said that if actually you go back to the Tory leadership campaign, I told them in 2006 about the funding for some new road schemes, it may be posible to do through some tolling mechanism. And I think that's something which we should be happy to look at, and makes sense. I do believe in some cases there are bypasses and road schemes that need to be built, but for new roads I think there are an opportunity for looking at tolls" BBC Radio 4 - "Westminster Hour" Sunday (24 minutes 10 seconds in).
What David Cameron means is not totally clear, but it would be safest to assume that the Tories will toll every new road that they can and that this might extend to tolling existing untolled roads which are nearby, to ensure that there are customers for the new road.
Sunday 2 August 2009
Toll increase protest in West Virginia - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Delegates protest toll hikes" Register-Herald - "Sending a message" WSAZ - "Tolls Go Up, Some W.Va. Delegates Protest" video Metro News - "Tolls Increase, Protestors Arrive".
Bit more on Troll woes - News Journal - "Midwest tolls may sell leases to cash in".
More tolls selling in the "Free" Detroit Press - "Michigan should test tolls to raise funds".
Sundry stories - "Louisiana 1 bridge tolls to kick in Monday".
Record for Croatia? 25 kilometre toll queue
B92 - "Highways jammed throughout Croatia".
Inside Costa Rica - "Private Ambulances Have To Pay Tolls At Escazú". The intersting bit is the driver who breaks through the toll barrier while the reporter is there.
Bit more on Vancouver toll proposal
North Shore News - "North Shore bridges could see tolls".
Saturday 1 August 2009
Troll woes - Indianapolis Business Journal - "Toll-road lease tumbles in value".
Bit more comment on LA toll plan - Pasadena Star News - "Thomas Elias: Fast lanes for the rich coming soon".
Sundry stories - Arkansas - "Highway department to hold meetings on Bella Vista Bypass" Kentucky / Indiana - "Bridges get a go" Rhode Island - "After 40 years, Pell tolls may rise".
"Toll Goes Up on West Virginia Turnpike" video New York - "Tom Vanderbilt Dissects “The ‘E’ Word”" New York - "N.Y. Thruway Authority Faulted for Negotiated Bonds" Massachusetts - "Editorial: Face the toll equity issue, and settle it".
Irish toll fines galore
Independent - "NRA stands to reap €2m each week from M50 toll penalties" Irish Times - "M50 toll fines to reach €100 million in first 12 months".
Vancouver tranport bosses want to toll bridges and roads
Vancouver Sun - "TransLink aims to put more tolls on roads and bridges" Vancouver Sun - "Premier to Translink: Get your house in order before hitting the taxpayer".
Bit more on Humber bridge tolls freeze
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Thumbs-up to toll freeze for Humber Bridge" Hull Daily Mail - "Campaigners step up tolls action".
Bit more on Parking tax to pay for trams
Nottingham Evening Post - "Businesses look to 'tram tax' legal challenge" Daily Mail - "Now a £350 tax just for parking your car at work".
There is also a report that Oxford considered a similar tax - Oxford Mail - "'Parking tax would kill trade'".
More on Con charge change
A late posting from the BBC - Evening Standard - "Instant pay system for C-charge".