NOTE. For various reasons we have been unable to cover tolls news since 14 August.
August 2011 NEWS
Saturday 13 August 2011
Bit more reaction to confirmation of the latest highway robbery
Fin24 - "Cabinet approves Gauteng toll tariffs" comments.
Friday 12 August 2011
Drivers will try and avoid tolls
Herald - "Safety fears as drivers plan detours to escape M50 tolls" Herald - "M50 charges will choke our city with traffic again".
Bit more on Dartford robbery
Echo - "Campaign launched against Dartford crossing fees rise".
More reaction to confirmation of the latest highway robbery
News24 - "I cannot pay anymore!" lot of comments Business Live - "YCL, Satawu 'disgusted' over Gauteng toll fees".
News24 - "Tolls: Motorists 'reduced to cash cows'" lot of comments ITWeb - "E-tolling causes outrage" lot of comments.
Times Live - "Widespread fury about tolls" Engineering News - "Truck operators to pass toll costs on to customers, warns RFA" IoL - "Middle class likely to foot the bill" comments IoL - "'Motorists reduced to cash cows'" Mail&Guardian - "Cabinet faces uphill battle over Gauteng toll roads" EyeWitness News - "Cosatu threatens strike over Gauteng tolls" Times Live - "Cosatu rejects new road tolls" Politics Web - "COSATU statement on road tolls".
Portugal NewsOnline - "Protestors plan foot march against A22 tolls".
Confirmation that VAT will be added to Phillipines tolls
Inquirer - "VAT on toll to be collected by October".
Thursday 11 August 2011
Our American correspondent has gone on "vacation", so we will have no USA news for a couple of weeks, though stories can still be seen by clicking on the Google link at the top of this page.
Later reports on "Tolls to go ahead"
Business Live - "AA warns of toll tariff disobedience" audio Times Live - "Civil disobedience over tolls possible: AA" EyeWitness News - "Cosatu slams reduced Gauteng toll fees" Politics Web - "Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng Freeway".
Local trolls may buy Humber bridge from the national trolls
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Fresh bid to buy Humber Bridge debt and reduce tolls" Yorkshire Post - "Bridge debt sale proposal could see crossing tolls cut" Grimsby Telegraph - "Humber Bridge Board: Rival bid to buy debt is a non-starter" Insider - "Scott confident of £100m Humber Bridge success".
The Government is currently having a "Humber Bridge Review". It is quite possible that behind the scenes, there is a deal for the Government to try and get out of the tolls problem by passing the bridge on to the Board at a knock down price. But this is the Board which has just agreed a five year debt deal with the Government that meant that the tolls had to be increased and are now the highest in Britain. Rather odd behaviour by the Government and the Board if they really wanted to help bridge users.
Tolls to go ahead
Even if there was no endemic corruption it was inevitable that the Government would go ahead with the new tolls. As a sop they have reduced the rate for those paying by etolls. It remains to be seen whether the unions and drivers will meekly bow bown to the inevitable or will refuse to pay, which could then cause the system to collapse - ITWeb - "E-toll fees approved" IoL - "Cheaper tariffs for Gauteng tolls" comments Financial Mail - "Trouble ahead".
More on Dartford robbery
Thurrock Gazette - "Council chief backs our campaign" Thurrock Gazette - "Gazette launches campaign to fight tolls and third crossing".
West Dorset village demand Con
Bridport News - "Chideock: Congestion charge could be introduced to stop lorries".
The proper solution to problem of traffic going though villages is to provide them with an alternative by building bypasses.
Cyclists volunteer to pay tolls! NZ Herald - "Rethink opens way for cyclists, walkers on bridge".
The chances of cyclists ever paying anything, let alone the full costs are zero.
The tolls and Con Mayor gets support from the building lobby - NZ Herald - "Mayor pushes tolls to pay for rail loop".
Irish trolls back away from a Con
Herald - "No congestion charge in city says Varadkar" Independent - "Plan for city congestion charge stalls at first hurdle" Journal - "Varadkar rules out prospect of congestion charge for Irish cities" few comments.
Tuesday 9 August 2011
The trolls (led by NY Mayor "Congestion pricing" Billionaire Bloomberg and former Governors "Toll the Interstates" Rendell and Terminator Schwarzenegger) yesterday released a new report. They want a lot more spent on infrastructure and they want more of the money taken from drivers to be spent on mass transit schemes. In the short term they suggest that the Government "consider" a rise in the gas tax, but their longer term aim is "congestion pricing, tolling, carbon auctions, fees based on miles traveled" - Building America's Future Educational Fund - "Falling Apart and Falling Behind" links to report etc.
The NY Governor may be coming out - as a troll - NY Observer - "Governor Cuomo's Congestion Pricing U-Turn".
More on the toll hikes proposed by the Port Authority - nj.com - "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer opposes Port Authority's proposed toll, fare hikes" Paul Mulshine on nj.com - "The Port Authority is turning Christie into a tax-hiker" nj.com - "Your comments: How much did Gov. Chris Christie know about the Port Authority's proposed toll hikes?" NJ.com - "Smoke and mirror fares at the Hudson River crossings" Patch - "Port Authority Toll Hikes: What Do You Think? ".
NY Post - "NY GOPers say Port Authority toll hikes would hurt recovery" Eyewitness News - "NY GOPers say Port Authority hikes would hurt recovery" video nj.com - "Protesters rally at Journal Square PATH Station to voice anger about proposed Port Authority toll and fare hikes".
nj.com - "Daily poll: Do you believe the Port Authority toll/fare plan took Govs. Christie and Cuomo by surprise?" nj.com - "How much did Gov. Chris Christie know about the Port Authority's proposed toll hikes?" comments.
nj.com - "Menendez calls for Port Authority audit in wake of toll hike proposal" SILive - "Staten Island pols to Port Authority after toll hike proposal: 'Enough is enough'" NY Post - "Christie slams mayor, PA over toll hikes".
NY Post - "Um, about those toll hikes . . ." Fox - "Port Authority Toll Hike Plan Protest" video nj.com - "Protest in Jersey City against toll and fare hikes proposed by Port Authority" video nj.com - "Gov. Christie blames prior administrations for Port Authority toll hikes, unsure if he'll veto proposal" nj.com - "Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith backs Port Authority plan for raising Bayonne Bridge and other projects, but is silent on proposed hikes in bridge and tunnel tolls and PATH fares".
Sundry stories - Texas - "Perry's Highway to Nowhere" Washington State - "The elusive tunnel-finance plan has been outed" Florida - "FDOT wants to build lots of roads - and toll them ".
Toll tales from Canada
Gazette (Montreal) - "There's no such thing as a free ride".
So Montreal's roads and bridges are crumbling, they "need" to spend "$23-billion" on mass transit projects and they have no money. What they do have is plenty of people; fifty years ago the population of the metropolitan area was 2.2 million now its 3.9 million. As elsewhere, these population increases don't seem to be matched with increased infrastructure or the taxes to pay for it.
The above story says that "Public-opinion polls tell us that tolls are not a popular option; and yet people are jamming the office, phones and Internet in unexpected numbers to sign up for the Highway 25 bridge toll transponders". The implication is that tolls are popular, but this is just more disinformation from the trolls. By coincidence another story today reveals why drivers are desperate to be tagged - Global Montreal - "A-25 bridge tolls driving up frustration" video.
One twist in the tail is that the Government have set an artificial ceiling on how much traffic they want on the bridge, and if more drivers use it, then the tolls will be increased to deter them.
Panda on the rampage again
The WWF supported by FoE want various anti car measures, including "road-user charging" to combat "air pollution and climate emissions from road traffic" - Scotsman - "Air pollution threat to Scotland's cities".
The story says that "A lethal pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, is being spewed out by traffic in such large quantities in four areas of the country that Scotland is in breach of levels set by the European Commission.". One of the areas is Edinburgh where we looked at air pollution in 2005 when we were opposing the Con charge plans - "Edinburgh Toll And Air Pollution". Presumably not realising the significance, Edinburgh had published figures showing where the pollution came from. For this "lethal pollutant" only about 13 per cent came from cars (para 8).
Monday 8 August 2011
Bit more reaction to news that the Port Authority wants lots more more money from NY and NJ drivers - Wpix - "Pols Slam Port Authority's Proposed Toll Hikes" video NJ Spotlight - "Why the Port Authority Wants $1 Billion in Toll and Fare Hikes" nj.com - "Protest against proposed fare and toll hikes to be held 5 p.m. Aug. 8 at Journal Square PATH station".
loHud - "Port Authority's plan to raise tolls; fare irks commuters" NY Daily News - "Assembly speaker Silver promises tunnel tolls won't be as bad as proposed in new plan" NY Daily News - "Port Authority's proposed schedule of fare and toll hikes is ridiculous beyond belief".
CBS - "NY Lawmaker Argues Against Proposed Port Authority Hike On Bridges And Tunnels" audio NBC - "Commuters Fume Over Proposed NY-NJ Toll Hikes, Protest Planned Monday" nj.com - "Groups plan protest in Jersey City against toll and fare hikes proposed by Port Authority" comments Gothamist- "Cuomo & Christie Feigning Outrage About Port Authority's 50% Toll Hike?" comments.
More propaganda from the trolls, this time Big Blue - Kansas City Star - "Traffic congestion solutions".
The "Infrastructurist" has in the past been in favour of tolls rather than gas tax, but now the Tea Party are reported to want to abolish the Federal gas tax, there is a surprising reaction - "Have We Seen the Last of the Federal Gas Tax?".
From a "green" organisation with a hundred million dollar budget - LA Times - "More freeways won't end L.A.'s traffic woes".
They say that "Traffic studies have long established that we can't just pave our way out of congestion. We've tried that approach for 50 years, and gridlock is where it's gotten us.". They suggest that the solution is things like bus-only lanes and "congestion pricing". What the greens will never admit is that the root cause of congested freeways is population growth. In the last 50 years, the population of Los Angeles County has grown from 6 million to 10 million, and for the Greater Los Angeles sprawl has grown from 8 million to 18 million.
Examples of the trolls demanding big subsidies or else new schemes won't be built - Virginia Pilot - "The rising toll of road partnerships" Register Guard - "Debt deal may threaten bridge" Columbian - "Agency has Columbia River Crossing funding concerns".
Comment from Terri Hall of the Toll party - MySA - "No good deed goes unpunished".
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Toll hikes could cost you an extra $182 a year".
Part of the ruling party oppose the new tolls
IoL - "Thumbs-down for revised tolls".
NZ trolls attack Minister for opposing the bleeding of drivers
The newspaper trolls and the Labour Party have attacked the National Party Minister who is lukewarm about the idea of more taxes and tolls on drivers to pay for public transport schemes - NZ Herald - "Editorial: Mind your own business on rail loop, Mr Joyce" NZ Herald- "Mayor hits back over financing of city rail loop" Scoop - "Jones: Auckland people have minds of their own".
Sunday 7 August 2011
Inside Costa Rica - "Banco Nacional and Banco Cathay Join List of Quickpass Issuers".
The paper tells its readers "Tired of the long lines at the toll stations on the San Josť - Caldera? The solution is the "Quickpass", an electronic device that allows a vehicle through the tolls while charging the bank account instead of having to stop and fumble for change". This nonsense sounds as if it came from a press release. The only solution that removes toll queues for all is to scrap them and finance roads from taxes. This is also the cheapest and most trouble free for drivers.
Reaction to news that the Port Authority wants lots more more money from NY and NJ drivers (the trolls are probably after a smaller toll increase but demanding more and then agreeing a smaller amount may fool drivers into thinking that they are getting a good deal) -
NorthJersey.com - "Port Authority's proposed toll hikes raise hackles" NY Daily News - "Pols pooh-pooh 'absurd' Port Authority scheme demanding $15 tolls at Hudson River crossings" comments nj.com - "Govs. Christie, Cuomo won't accept Port Authority plan to raise bridge and tunnel tolls" lot of comments.
NY Daily News - "Outrageous toll hikes will punish working class people just for going to work" comments nj.com - "Daily poll: Are the proposed fare and toll hikes justified by the projects undertaken by the Port Authority?" NY Daily News - "Port Authority's proposed schedule of fare and toll hikes is ridiculous beyond belief".
SILive - "Port Authority pulling a fast one with toll hikes for 3 Staten Island bridges" NY1 - "Port Authority Floats Hefty Toll, Fare Hikes" video.
Troll paper tries to discredit anti toll ballot - News Tribune (Washington State) - "Bellevue billionaire buys himself an Eyman initiative".
Metro West Daily News - (Mass.) - "Editorial: Secrecy, tolls and the Big Dig".
Baltimore Sun - "Senator's nuanced advocacy on tolls could help drivers".
The real advocacy is not from the Senator, it is from this journalist who tells readers that toll increases are needed.
More right wing advocacy for tolls ands privately owned roads - Big Government - "Busting congestion in Chicago (or any other city)" video & comments.
Sundry stories - Cal. - "Toll lane plans proceed in San Bernardino County" Illinois - "Gov. Quinn says toll hikes necessary for road projects".
Saturday 6 August 2011
The Port Authority wants lots more more money from NY and NJ drivers - NY Post - "PA telling drivers to take a hike" ABC - "NY-NJ Port Authority plans $4 toll hike next month" video nj.com - "Proposal to hike Port Authority fares, tolls gets mostly chilly reception" nj.com - "Proposal to hike Port Authority fares, tolls gets mostly chilly reception" lot of comments WSJ - "Port Authority Proposes Stiff Toll, Fare Hikes" NY Times - "Port Authority Seeks Big Toll Increase" lot of comments.
Brownsville Herald (Texas) - "Feds: Progreso bridge toll collector smuggled teenage girl for sex".
The story says that the collector "has a criminal history that includes felony theft". Isn't it supposed to be only the authorities who are the thieves?
Sundry stories - Florida - "Gov. Scott calls for road expansion, more tolls" Illinois - "Gov. Quinn says toll hikes necessary for road projects".
On the high price of owning a car in Singapore
Star - "High price to pay to drive in S'pore".
The driver mentions that the pop of this tiny island has gone from three million to five million since 1990 (according to the US census bureau the more precise figures are 3,047,000 to 5,247,000). If Britain had the same growth rate since 1990, then our pop would now be 99 million, though that of course would not be a problem if we had more road tolls!
Friday 5 August 2011
States unite - to enforce tolls - WWLP - "MA, ME, NH 1st to share driving records" video Bangor Daily News - "Maine, NH, Mass. enter pact to crack down on toll evaders" comments.
.. perhaps more drivers will get a spare set of plates! - ABC Local (Texas) - "DMV issues same license plate to two vehicles".
Tea Party movement wants to scrap Federal gas tax - KVIA - "Gas Tax May Be Next Tea Party Target".
For most people, roads are what unites a country. It would be better to increase the Fedreral gas tax and scrap local gas taxes and tolls. The gas tax would then be distributed on a fair basis to pay for both a federally managed Interstate system and locally managed roads.
Newspaper from the Al Capone state backing the trolls - Northwest Herald - "Tollway's capital plan".
Georgia drivers are falling over themselves to use toll lanes - "Drivers in long wait for fast lanes".
Could this mean that the free lanes will be empty!
Toll survey that won't ask about tolls - The Day (Conn.) - "Driver survey will focus on Route 11 tolls".
Would be Texan trolls given more time - mySA - "Tolling agency gets loan extension".
Bit more on bust toll takeover - Land Line Mag - "Public could soon own troubled California toll road".
Feds approve a scam where existing free bridge will be tolled to pay for building a new one - Seattle Pi - "SR 520 Bridge project gets federal approval".
Sundry stories - DC / Va. - "Why is Sen. Howell silent on $17 tolls?" Cal. - "Do you know where your toll dollars go?" Ohio - "Trustees again so no to leasing of turnpike".
Texas - "NTTA approves new schedule of fees for delinquent customers".
More on Nightmare vision
There has been oposition to the Mayor's idea for a Con and for motorway tolls, from the Transport Minister (who says that it would raise the cost of living for working people while only having a small effect on traffic), the Road Transport Forum (who say that it would increase food prices), and the Automobile Association (who say that drivers already pay more than enough in fuel tax).
The Mayor has been supported by the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (who have a list of billion dollar schemes that they want the toll taxes to be spent on), the Business Council for Sustainable Development (who say that it would force drivers off the road and reduce congestion), and the Green Party who want the money spent on rail and other public transport - Stuff - "AA opposes congestion fee idea" Newstalk - "Auckland doesn't want congestion charges - Joyce" NZ Herald - "Should there be congestion charges for central Auckland?" NZ Herald - "Rail loop toll plan triggers new clash".
Toll tales from Canada
Montreal bridge trolls say that business is boomimg - Gazette - "Highway 25 - province built it and the drivers came".
More on the new tolls (if they ever start)
Engineering News - "Consultation on Gauteng freeway tolling has been 'symbolic only' - Satawu boss".
Truckers manage to dodge some tolls
Daily Yomiuri - "Cunning drivers skip expressway toll fees".
Elsewhere it is reported that the right wing Liberal Democratic Party, which controlled Japan for over 60 years, is forcing the Democratic Party of Japan led Government to formally abandon the DPJ policy of no tolls. The Government has already agreed that the PM will resign (though there is no date fixed) and that child benefits will be cut in return for the LDP not opposing an increase in Japan's already massive public debt.
Bit more on the compulsory tags in Taiwan
Taipei Times - "Minister confirms toll charges".
The fine of 3,000 Taiwan dollars if you don't have a tag and don't pay on time is about 100 US dollars or 60 British pounds.
Son of Downing Street petition site
Yesterday the Government officially opened the new petition website replacing the one made famous by the Peter Roberts petition against road pricing. So far there are three petitions calling for removal of tolls - "Remove all tolls" "Removal of Dartford Crossing M25 Tolls" "Open M6 Toll to free use".
The petitions have to be in the name of an individual. The "all tolls" petition is from us, the Dartford petition is apparently from the FTA, we don't know which group (if any) is behind the M6 petition.
Thursday 4 August 2011
Toll tales from Oz
One Aussie Troll that is still raking the loot in, because they have a road monopoly on most of their routes to cities and airports - ABC - "Transurban claims strong growth forecasts" SMH - "We toll you so: all roads lead to riches for operator" SMH - Transurban likely to steer clear of taking the East road".
Oddly, one toy may be taken away from the trolls as drivers are avoiding it - Telegraph - "M2 may become freeway - toll could be scrapped ".
RadioNZ - "Mayor's vision for Auckland includes congestion charge".
The "privately" financed new tolls that require public money - Bond Buyer - "Virginia Takes P3 Route for Tunnel".
.. and why - Land Line Mag - "Report: Public-private toll roads will not fill the funding gap" OIG at DoT - "Financial Analysis of Transportation-Related Public Private Partnerships" inc link to full report.
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Initial investment is troll in tollway" Canada / Michigan - "Lt. Gov. Calley and Canadian consul general tout second Detroit River crossing" Texas - "Tolling agency seeks loan extension".
Maryland - "Editorial: Cecil granted a stay of (toll) execution" Illinois - "Tollway Director Fights Price Hikes" Florida - "Toll hike could hinge on X-way appointment".
The Taiwan Government promised to remove tolls, instead they are making tags compulsory
Focus Taiwan - "Government stays firm on electronic toll system" China Post - "FETC to offer free installation of eTag to boost ETC freeway use".
Colour Bar rejected
Jakarta Post - "Police reject car-color policy".
Toll tales from Canada
From Toronto trolls - Daily Commercial News - "Alternative funding key to fixing Toronto gridlock: Report".
From maniacal Montreal Mayor - Ctv - "Mayor wants toll roads, higher gas taxes".
Wednesday 3 August 2011
Aussies want as much tolls as they can drink
According to a poll (details not available) carried out for the trolls, Australians don't want roads to be financed from taxes - The Australian - "Taxpayers tell state they prefer private sector to foot bills for infrastructure".
Law firm pushing tolls, this time it's through pay per mile tags which would be read at all Interstate entrances and exits - Land Line Mag - "Plan would charge trucks a new toll for every mile traveled". (Despite the headline the proposal would affect all vehicles.)
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Tollway system no open road" letter "Hard to tell where Illinois tollway fee hike will go ".
Toll tales from Canada
Montreal Mayor volunteers to be unpopular - BC Local - "Tremblay pushes for bridge tolls".
Big Austrian trolls tell Moscow that they must have a Con
Moscow Times - "Paid Parking Essential to Congestion Charge ".
Tale of the Car and the High Speed Train
IoL - "Car in N1 rush hour beats hyped train".
Tuesday 2 August 2011
Jakarta Globe - "Car Color-Coding Bid to Ease Congestion".
Toll tales from Oz
Hills Shire Times - "Road rip-offs: Hills resident campaigns against tolls".
More on latest toll plans
Herald - "Battle to control new M50 tolls".
"Adding more lanes that can be used by everyone is most efficient and more humane for the unwashed masses who don't kowtow to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats" - Fredericksburg (Va.) - "Just say no to pricey HOT lanes" letter.
A banker says - "Happy days can again lie in our future after all!". All you have you to do is to create a Federally guaranteed bank that will give out money for things like toll roads - Huff Post - "A Prudent Method to Rebuild America".
Sundry stories - NJ - "Selling Highways Was Debated" Maryland - "Toll hikes will have negative impact" Maryland - "MdTA will delay toll hikes" video Ohio - "Quinn swerves around proposal to double drivers' tolls".
Gold in Indian roads
First Post - "Private bidders see profits in govt rejected road projects".
Bit more on the new South African tolls
ITWeb - "Foreign drivers to escape e-tolling".
Bit more on Tolls coming officially to Sri Lanka
Daily News - "Toll system soon on Southern Highway".
Monday 1 August 2011
More on Dartford robbery
News Shopper - "Trial to suspend toll charges on Dartford Crossing under fire" East London Advertiser - "East London facing stealth tax from Dartford tolls, Assembly' chief warns".
Florida paper educates its readers that they can't afford higher gas taxes, but they should be eager to have more tolled roads - Daytona Beach News Journal - "Adding toll lanes to I-4 -- the time has come".
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Blagojevich name still appropriate for tollway signs" Maryland - "Bay Bridge drivers to get toll hike reprieve".
Waiting on the South African trolls
ITWeb - "No ministerial decision on e-tolling".
"Won't pay" action continues
emg - "Taxi owners to blockade tolls at Rio-Antirrio bridge" Guardian - "Greece debt crisis: The 'we won't pay' anti-austerity revolt".