JANUARY 2008 NEWS
Thursday 31 January 2008
Corzine tolls -
- From Paul Mulshine - NJ Blog - "Corzine is digging us into a hole of debt".
- One of many examples of influential people who apparently believe that borrowing $38 billion to be repaid sometime from road tolls is somehow reducing debt - Star Ledger - "When it comes to Corzine's debt plan, words matter".
- Mobilizing the Region - "Tracking NJ’s Great Leap Backwards: The Corzine Road Show" Politicker - "GOP, angry with Chamber of Commerce, rides the train anyway" Star Ledger - "Corzine sets three more town meetings to pitch toll hike plan" Newsday - "GOP stews while Chamber backs Corzine's toll hike plan" Brick Times - "RESIDENTS URGED TO SPEAK OUT ON GOVERNOR'S TOLL HIKE PLAN" Courier Post - "Hard questions expected at meetings" Courier Post - "Advocacy group forms to back Corzine on toll roads" Star Ledger - "Corzine hits more doubt on toll plan - But some support for idea emerges" The Hub - "Legislators: Corzine balances budget on backs of commuters" Star Ledger - "Corzine speaks to 700 at toll hike meeting in Cranford".
It seems to us that drivers are being sold a road tolls pup, but don't know it yet-
PC Mag - "In-Car Boxes to Help East Coast Sniff Out Traffic Jams".
New York toll -
Flushing Times Ledger - "Congestion commission eyes scaled-back plans" Queens Chronicle - "Queens Has Mixed Reaction To Congestion Pricing Plans" NY Times - "Congestion Pricing Plan Is Panned in Albany" Queens Courier - "Congestion commission to issue report" Streetsblog - "Congestion panel to recommend abbreviated pricing plan" NY1 - "Congestion Pricing Panel To Endorse $8 Fee" Daily News - "Albany trouble for congest plan" Daily News - "Congestion plan's moving" NY Post - "FINAL CONGESTION PLAN READY TO ROLL".
Other stories -
Pennsylvania - "Senior lawmakers defend I-80 tolls in remarks to editors" Utah - "New rules may change who gets into HOV lane" Texas - "183-A Electronic Toll Booths Reflect Societal Shift" North Carolina - "Tolls One Way to Pay for New I-85 Yadkin River Bridge".
"ERP hikes and extensions have, in the past, raised a chorus of complaints from drivers about having to pay more, yet still experiencing congestion or "stop-start" traffic on those priced roads"
Channel News Asia - "Will changes to ERP reap desired results?".
East Midlands Toll - "EXPERTS BACK ROAD TOLLS"
And - Derby Evening Telegraph - "SURVEY REVEALS EXTENT OF CITY'S PEAK-TIME CONGESTION NIGHTMARE" &nbp; Nottingham Evening Post - "STUDY MAPS OUT NOTTINGHAM RUSH-HOUR DELAYS" BBC - "Traffic survey reveals hotspots".
More on sNOw tolls
Reuters - "Getting trapped doesn't take its toll".
Helsinki Toll - "Finnish taxi owners and hauliers lend support to congestion charge"
Support for the charge seems to be on the basis that they would not have to pay it - News Room Finland.
"Proud of my record"
The London Mayor has been criticised over the last 7 days or so but he answers back in the New Stateman.
The £25 Con
Guardian - "Q&A: £25 congestion charge" Guardian - "Livingstone pushes forward with £25 congestion charge".
Wednesday 30 January 2008
End in sight
Scottish tolls are to end at midnight on Sunday 10th February. (More about this on our Scotland News page.)
Road pricing success
The advocates of road pricing often point to the claimed success of the Singapore road pricing scheme (they obviously turn a blind eye to reports on our news pages and on our Singapore section. Another report today says that Singapore which already rations the number of cars is to introduce further limits - Bernama - "Singapore To Reduce Vehicle Population To Ease Congestion". The story also says that "congestion levels have risen by about 25 per cent since 1999". Oddly enough the electronic road pricing scheme was introduced at - the end of 1998!
Helsinki Toll - "Helsinki's traders say congestion charge would repel shops"
News Room Finland.
Corzine tolls -
Newsday - "Corzine plan raises questions about property tax relief" Newsday - "Poll finds 'long uphill slog' for Corzine on toll road plan" Courier Post - "Toll road plan backed by Chamber of Commerce" Daily Record - "Kean warns Corzine fiscal reform will 'cripple economy'" Independent - "Legislators: Corzine balances budget on backs of commuters" Sentinel - "Coda
Toll hikes the last trick of a very desperate man" Star Ledger - "NJ Chamber of Commerce endorses Corzine's toll plan" Newsday - "Industry, labor eye Corzine toll plan as economic boost".
One of those querying the NJ Governor's toll scam is Paul Mulshine who also has other concerns - NJ Blog - "Stop them before they scan again".
Mr Lucky says that "I would take a dirt road through a cornfield in a tornado just to avoid paying that stupid buck toll" - On Milwaukee - "Illinois Trollway".
Mr Mary, Mary, quite contrary - CBS - "A Noticeable No-show".
Other stories -
Kentucky - "Abramson, others endorse bill that could mean tolls" Texas - "Portion of 183A could be video-tolled" DC / Virginia - "Kaine Raises The Specter Of Higher Dulles Tolls" Georgia - "New twist: Road money may stay in Atlanta" New Hampshire - "Bill will ease E-Z Pass rules" New York - "Sparks fly at hearing on tolls - Thruway Authority officials react to critical audit" Idaho - "Lawmakers introduce legislation to up school zone speeding fines, assess tolls" New York - "Gotta get moving" Alabama - "When the roads toll: Let's consider all options" New York - "CANAL: Local officials react to ideas for separating canal, Thruway Authority" Texas - "Toll lanes remain in ambitious I-35 plan, board decides" Texas - "183-A toll trap could be unsprung" West Virginia - "Solutions sought for road projects" New York - "Thruway Authority on hot seat" New York - "Public pressure over Thruway tolls".
Tuesday 29 January 2008
Helsinki Toll - "Congestion charging would not necessarily reduce traffic volume but only move it somewhere else."
Most Finnish politicians support the principle of tolling Helsinki, but there is one dissident who instead suggests "building housing along railways leading away from the capital" - News Room Finland - "Finnish housing minister shuns congestion charging".
More on Galileo reply
The Register - "UK.gov on Galileo: We can't stop it, just sign the cheque".
"Why I quickly turned to road rage!".
"yesinsurance.co.uk states motorcycles now over 50 times more dangerous than cars".
What's bugging you?
Today's Telegraph has a story - "Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day". This is not news to those who oppose what councils and others are doing. Bugging has probably been going on since the phone was invented, but MPs made it legal in 2000 when they passed the "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act".
Corzine tolls -
Courier Post - "Codey offers proposal to lease lottery" Courier Post - "Gov. Corzine defends plan for toll hike" The Record - "A Republican in Corzine's inner circle" Gloucester County Times - "Gov takes toll pitch to town hall'" El Diario - "Unreasonable tolls in NJ" Star Ledger - "Charges dropped against toll hike protesters".
The Trolls are planning an early fightback to the proposal from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to mainly use large increases in the gas tax to fund roads (see reports on the 15th and later). Another commission (National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Finance Commission) that was not due to report till the end of the year is to rush out an interim report arguing for tolls rather than a gas tax - Bond Buyer - "Funding panel to push tolls over gas tax".
Other stories -
New York - "Drop the toll increase on Thruway" Colorado - "I-70 fee proposal angers skiers" Kentucky - "Potential I-69 tolls given test drive" Massachusetts - "State must reinvest in transportation" New York - "Assembly Planning Hearings on Proposed Thruway Toll Hike on Tuesday" Kentucky - "Ohio River bridge tolls as possible budget solution" New York - "Millions Owed In Thruway Tolls, Fees" New York - "Reaction to Comptroller's Thruway Authority Audit" New York - "Spitzer: We Reject Thruway Toll Increases".
Monday 28 January 2008
The Transport Committee today published the Government response to the Committee's criticisms about the costs and delays of the Galileo scheme - html version pdf version. One of the main uses of the satellites is to be tolling on most European roads. The Government talks about the benefits of the scheme without once using the words "tolls" or "roads". Perhaps for their next trick they will tell us that after all, the Earth IS at the centre of the universe.
More on New London Toll getting closer
Evening Standard - "Mayor's anti-pollution zone targeting lorries with £200-a-day entry". (See the 24th for earlier report and link to official site.)
Transport talk about road pricing
The Transport Committee of MPs have a friendly chat with the freight industry about road pricing - Road Transport - "Committee hears industry freight movement views".
The traffic industry are having their biennial "Intertraffic" beano in Amsterdam from 1st to 4th April. It will include a "European Road Pricing Think Tank", "produced in co-operation with ASECAP" (the federation of European toll operators who seem to have links with the EU).
"Congestion hitting West Midlands"
BBC. It's a nice change to see that instead of suggesting more tolls, this story says "There have been calls for tolls on roads and bridges to be removed to help ease congestion.". On the local BBC News there was even a call from a West Midlands businessman for M6 tolls to be scrapped. The BBC said that the cost would be "astronomic" - in fact the cost would be about the same as the amount collected in taxes from drivers in just one week.
More on toll proposal
Barrie Examiner - "Tolls won't stop traffic".
Corzine tolls -
Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine to talk toll hikes in Voorhees tonight" Newsday - "Senate leader touts lottery lease as Andrews endorses toll plan" NJ Biz - "Do 75 Years of Toll Hikes Make Any Sense?" Daily Journal - "Workers' worst friend: Toll hikes, study says" Courier Post - "Spending scam" The Record - "Lonegan resumes attack on Corzine toll-hike plan" Newsday - "Andrews to endorse Corzine fiscal fix" Toms River Times - "Residents Urged To Fight Governor's Toll Increase Plan".
USA Today - "Drivers to see major toll hikes".
Daily Green - "Drivers Should Expect Dramatic Toll Increases - Yes They're Annoying, But Tolls Are Good for the Environment". Some American Greens oppose tolls, but others, as here, seem to act as agents for those who want to see more fuel consumed. Tolls do not deter drivers though they may detour on to longer routes; vehicles waste fuel slowing down and stopping for tolls; and of course tolls do nothing at all to encourage fuel economy - only a gas tax can do that.
How to avoid tolls and burn up some calories - Austin American Statesman - "Man braves cars, bureaucrats to bike on tollways".
A driver is charged with doing 140 mph and also with not paying tolls - we wonder which charge carries the bigger penalty? Courier Times (Pennsylvania) - "Man charged after 140 mph police chase".
More on the unique official who says Thruway toll increases are not needed - North Country Gazette - "Comproller: Toll Hikes for State Thruway Unustified" (inc links to reports) Buffalo News - "Shifting of canal cost stirs concern" NY Times - "Comptroller Audit Critical of Toll Increase" Democrat & Chronicle - "N.Y. audit challenges Thruway toll boosts" Niagara Gazette - "NYS THRUWAY: Comptroller says no need for higher tolls" HV Press - "Toll Hikes Not Justified" (inc links to reports) NY Daily News - "DiNapoli's Triple Thruway Whammy" Newsday - "State comptroller releases audit critical of toll hikes".
Other stories -
DC / Virginia - "Can Private Equity Save The Dulles Rail?"
Washington State - "Toll takers tout service" Texas - "Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor plan is a hard sell" Texas - "Waco MPO to decide Tuesday about keeping I-35 toll option" Georgia - "There's a cure for traffic woes, but it's going to cost you" DC / Virginia - "Private Interest In Rail To Dulles".
Sunday 27 January 2008
Corzine tolls -
From Courier Post - "What do you think of the governor's plan to increase tolls?" -
"Gloucester County" "Burlington County" "Camden County".
NJ Blog - "Questions for Corzine and the answers you'll never hear" Asbury Park Press - "Monetization: Put the horse before the cart" Courier Post - "Reject Corzine's scheme to fix state's finances" News Journal (Delaware) - "N.J. looks to motorists for bailout" Courier Post - "Corzine gets a 'D' for making very few reforms" Press of Atlantic City - "School construction bonds / Interesting timing" Press of Atlantic City - "Readers split on governor's toll-hike plan" Star Ledger - "Corzine: Budget to take toll on Trenton status quo".
Other stories - New York - "Thruway toll hikes are not needed, audit by state comptroller says" North Carolina - "Toll Roads" California - "Doyle Drive is too vital to play games with seismic work" New York - "City drivers? Make 'em pay" Pennsylvania - "Getting Around: Turnpike payroll lists more than $1 million in 'chiefs'" Texas - "Corridor would gobble up land" Massachusetts - "Unburden the Mass. Pike motorists" Kentucky - "N.Ky. caught in middle on bridge tolls".
Cyclops and Sharing
Sunday Times - "Watch out, another traffic spy is heading your way". This idea is not new as the Forth bridge authorities at the end of November 2005 announced plans to use Cyclops to distinguish human skin and check up on how many people were in each car and thus determine the toll amount.
Saturday 26 January 2008
Times spinning for the rich
"Blaming carbon on planes ‘is flight of fancy’". The Troll Times advocates using tolls to force poorer drivers off the roads to make room for more important people, so this story is not surprising. It may be correct that car travel in total produces twice as much of the dreaded CO2 as planes, but one of the Times's very important people will be flying far more than the average person (most people in Btitain average less than one flight a year) and are therefore responsible for far more CO2 than a poorer person. Despite this a poor driver is stung for very high taxes while the frequent fliers pay no tax.
"Toll Discounts for Going Green"
New York Times.
Corzine tolls -
Newsday - "New Jersey weighs new approach to transportation funding" Asbury Park Press - "Corzine plan merits praise" letter Courier Post - "Corzine foe complains of probe" NY Times - "Ex-Mayor Resurfaces as a Corzine Antagonist" Star Ledger - "Counties that pay most tolls will get biggest return" Land Line - "Toll meetings continue in New Jersey" Newsday - "Corzine aims road work at areas hit by toll hikes" Newsday - "Corzine critic says AG investigating him, alleges harassment" Courier Post - "Codey: Lawmakers likely to reject toll plan".
CW2 (Colorado) - "Lawmaker wants to charge skiers to use I-70" Denver Post - "Pay to use I-70 at peaks?". Probably easier than charging tolls to cyclists!
Mary is doing her best to promote toll roads and prevent increases in gas tax - Tennessean - "Transportation secretary backs toll roads - Peters opposes federal gas tax hike for highways" AP /Al - "Alabama governor, transportation secretary promote toll roads".
Other stories - Kentucky - "Facts take a toll" Kentucky - "Williams' transportation funding proposal backed" Alabama - "Toll roads may pay for highway projects" Massachusetts - "Toll relief not in sight - Many vie for Big Dig cash" California - "Commuters get their say on Golden Gate Bridge toll hike" California - "Officials closer to toll hike" California - "Golden Gate Bridge board OKs toll-hike meetings" Oklahoma - "Municipal toll roads become likely path" Pennsylvania - "I-80 tolls plan will only make matters worse" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike bankrolls PennDOT again" Pennsylvania - "Sky's the limit for tolls under state transportation funding" New York - "Disconnect between Pols and People at Brooklyn traffic hearing" New York - "Commission to make final report".
Snow, so no tolls
China has been doing its best to increase CO2 levels, but it seems to have not made it any warmer. To help food reach the cities, tolls have been lifted on vehicles carrying food supplies - Reuters - "Snow snarls transport, strands thousands in China" AP - "China Eases Tolls for Food Trucks".
"Whether road pricing works or not at that price?"
Congestion in the pioneer of road pricing - Channel News Asia - "Congestion will have long-term impact on productivity and health".
More on Toronto toll proposal
Daily Observer - "Toll roads are not the answer".
There have been about 100 petitions to the PM against one toll or another, with a few exceptions they have been ignored by the news media, but here is a plug for one - This is Gloucestershire - "PETITION CALLS FOR TOLL BAN".
Friday 25 January 2008
Most people support the idea of car sharing though in practice few do it. Or at least we thought so till yesterday the DfT issued this press release - "Rosie Winterton launches new car sharing research". Though things are not quite what they seem - The Register - "DfT magicians conjure a nation of car sharers".
Helsingin Sanomat - "Helsinki to study introduction of congestion charge".
Later report - YLE - "Transport Minister Supports Rush-Hour Toll".
Which? say that the records that the police use to check on uninsured drivers are not up to date - Manchester Evening News - "1.5m could have cars seized".
Humber Toll - More on PM's response to petition
Market Rasen Mail - "PM's Humber Bridge toll response causes dismay".
Corzine tolls -
Asbury Park Press - "Throw away the shovel" Courier Post - "Officials apologize for toll plan protest arrests" Courier Post - "Plan would give frequent toll-road users up to 20 percent discount" Star Ledger - "Codey offers up his version of commuter savings - Plan would benefit only E-ZPass users" Land Line - "Critics say Corzine rushing toll plan" Politicker - "'Toll rage tales' now posted on Assembly Republican website".
Only a letter, but we like the headline - Virginian Pilot - "Tolls are a bad idea".
thenewspaper.com - "Toll Road Agencies Hire Lobbyists, Violate Law".
Late reaction to the Commission proposal for higher gas taxes - Buffalo Business First - "U.S. transport plan gets mixed reviews".
Other stories -
New York - "Silver signals support for traffic pricing" New York - "Report: Panel likely to smile on Manhattan traffic fee plan" Texas - "Officials want to keep North Texas toll collections out of state's hands" New York - "Change takes its toll on Verrazano - Old booths to be dismantled, say officials" New Hampshire - "Toll hikes driving more motorists to get E-ZPass" Kentucky - "Bridge tolls are likely" New York - "Congestion pricing hearing sparks little interest on Staten Island" Illinois - "Vote for candidate who will stop tolls" letter Texas - "TxDOT schedules second town hall meeting in Huntsville" Texas - "I-35 may add more lanes, tolls" Washington State - "Sound Transit weighs new ballot issue" Massachusetts - "Bargain for Bechtel, catastrophe for the rest of us" Pennsylvania - "Does the toll road need lobbyists and bureaucracy to this extent?" Massachusetts - "State must raise money for roads and rails" New York - "Traffic Panel Members Expect to Endorse Fees on Cars" California - "Public Meetings Planned To Discuss GG Bridge Toll" California - "Public Meetings Planned To Discuss GG Bridge Toll".
Gazette - "Beef up Turcot toll plan: expert" VUE - "Call autoholics anonymous" Standard Freeholder - "No tolls, please!" Canadian Free Press - "Toll roads - at least we voted for them".
Thursday 24 January 2008
The Government have released the results of surveys of public attitude, mainly related to global warming and what should be done about it - DfT (links to downloads of data etc are at top right of page). One interesting result is in Table A1 of Annex A - only 1 per cent of those surveyed think that congestion is the most important problem facing Britain.
The ultimate urban myth?
Most New York papers are still backing the Mayor's toll plans, and deceiving their readers with the usual myths about the London Toll charge. For instance today's NY Times Editorial says "London ... adopted congestion pricing, charging drivers to use certain streets. Traffic moved faster, tailpipe emissions went down and the fees collected went to improve public transportation." - "The Answers to Gridlock".
Other NY Congestion toll stories today - Queens Courier - "Too Many Questions; So Few Answers" Queens Courier - "Congestion pricing answer to traffic woes" Queens Courier - "Queens pols weigh in on congestion pricing" Queens Courier - "5 Different Pricing Plans" New York Sun - "Congestion-Pricing Plan Needs Some Tweaks".
New London Toll getting closer
Only 10 days left to London's next Toll Day (4th February) - Road Transport - "London LEZ is imminent - Are you compliant?" Official Low Emissions Zone site.
Corzine tolls (there are still a considerable number of reports on this, and only a selection are shown) -
NJ Blog - "Wheels are falling off Corzine's plan" Asbury Park Press - "Toll hike meeting produces few answers" Courier Post - "Plan would bring new schools" Courier Post - "Lawmakers sharply question toll-road plan" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Editorial: Toll Protest" NY Times - "A Toll Increase in New Jersey? Residents Weigh In" letters The Record - "Town apologizes to Lonegan for arrest" Star Ledger - "As Corzine rolls out toll-hike proposal, budget woes arise" Trenton Times - "Toll hike foes warn of impact on safety" Trenton Times - "Toll hike foes warn of impact on safety".
With the opening of the new Tacoma Narrows toll bridge, business is booming - in the courts, who have nearly 70,000 cases to deal with - Peninsula Gateway - "Court to alleviate bridge infractions stemming from new bridge".
Other stories -
California - "Marin leaders set to reject toll on Doyle" Pennsylvania - "Group against I-80 tolls listens to public, also against plan" Alabama - "Toll roads are not the only answer in Alabama" Florida - "Traffic drops during one-way tolling trial period" Illinois - "Authority taking its toll on C. Illinois" New York - "Are free subways in our future?" Virginia - "Study examines HOT lanes' effect" Washington State - "Tax Exemption Could Slice $43 Million Off Narrows Toll Costs" Washington State - "We’ll name our own bridge, thank you" Massachusetts - "Let’s get real about fiscal reality" New Hampshire - "House kills bill to remove Merrimack toll plazas" Washington State - "The I-5 bridge tolls for thee" California - "FasTrak Slow To Repay Overcharged Customer".
Good news or bad?
The auction prices for right to buy a car in Singapore have fallen, but this may be because bad news for drivers is expected - Singapore Today - "COE prices fall across board".
Wednesday 23 January 2008
Discouraging car use
- Business Standard - "Cars or scars?".
Beat the heat
Government press release - "UK welcomes EU climate change proposals" Euractiv - "EU unveils plans to beef up carbon trading scheme". Perhaps it would be easier if we all moved to Iceland, though that would not line the pockets of the carbon traders or the sellers of quack remedies for global warming.
Easy come, easy go
Accountancy Age - "Million driver loophole through road tax".
Humber Toll - Recycling
When the Prime Minister replied to the petition against tolls (see 15th January), he apparently reused an earlier reply - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "GOVERNMENT ISSUED WRONG PETITION REPLY". The Prime Minister's revised reply is - here. The PM says that reducing bridge debt (£330 million) "would result in an extremely heavy cost to the public purse". Jim Allcroft of Humber Action Against Tolls says - "The Government seems to have money available for Northern Rock and for going into Iraq and Afghanistan.".
IBM discover tolls
IBM have registered a US patent for - "A method and system are provided in which average vehicle speeds of tolled and non-tolled road segments between two locations are monitored and saved for reference in providing dynamic adjustment of the toll amount to be charged for use of the tolled segment in order to insure an efficient use of the tolled segment and a determination of an appropriate toll amount to be charged drivers in the tolled segment in view of real time traffic conditions of the tolled and the non-tolled segment. The toll adjustments are determined based upon the difference between actual average speeds of the tolled segment and actual average speeds of the non-tolled segment such that the toll adjustments are dynamic and depend upon real time traffic conditions in both the tolled and non-tolled segments of the travel route." - Slashdot - "IBM Patents Pricing Motorists Off Highways" (story has over 600 comments).
Corzine tolls (the Governor is reported to be taking a short break from promoting his plan at home, he is in Davros - no doubt the forum there will be very interested in his plan for borrowing $38 billion with the cost of it to come from road tolls) -
Local Source - "Tell Corzine what you think about plan" Star Ledger - "Senator: Checking Corzine's willingness to compromise toll hike plan" Newsday - "AC casinos back Corzine toll increase plan" Newsday - "Senator: Hearing will test Corzine's willingness to compromise" Asbuy Park Press - "Council criticizes toll road plan"
Newsday - "Senators wants details on Corzine plan to hike tolls to solve fiscal woes" Daily Journal - "Senators want details on toll road plan" Asbury Park Press - "Lawmakers call for probe of protest arrests" Asbury Park Press - "Legislator asks if governor can see the future" Asbury Park Press - "State must not wait to address financial crisis" Home News Tribune - "Lawmakers rap tolls on Rt. 440" Asbury Park Press - "Here's the people supporting Corzine's plan" Asbury Park Press - "They want Lonegan arrest made a civil rights case" Asbury Park Press - "What a difference 75 years can make" The Record - "Editorial: Dismiss charges against protesters" The Record - "Senate committee to open review of toll plan" Express Times - "Doherty assails tolls plan - Calls it a 'disaster.' says Gov. Corzine's town meetings 'rigged.'" Sentinel - "Corzine plan may take heavy toll on local traffic" Star Ledger - "Corzine names steering panel for toll hike plan".
A driver is stopped, arrested, handcuffed and has his licence suspended and car impounded for allegedly not paying a 75 cent toll - Concord Monitor - "75-cent toll glitch buys cuffs". What does it say about the way in which Americans meekly submit to tolls, when this story is only in the news because the driver did not owe the 75 cents.
Other stories -
New York - "Bd. 1 Challenges Congestion Pricing" Illinois / Missouri - "Gambling on the bridge" Illinois - "Suburban Man Racks Up $17,000 Bill For Unpaid Tolls"
Arkansas - "Public invited to speak on proposed regional road funding" New Hampshire - "Bill would kill toll-bridge project" Maine - "Region officials discuss York Toll Plaza in Ogunquit" Texas - "Proposal to build new I-35 bridge becomes entangled in toll road debate" Alaska - "A waste - Why is the Knik Bridge Authority spending on lobbyists?" California - "Golden Gate Bridge board ponders $1 toll raise" California - "$6 toll proposed for Golden Gate Bridge" Oregon / Washington State - "Daily toll calculated for I-5 bridge" Illinois - "Power of tollway should be reined in" Virginia - "Beach revs up for I-264 toll sequel" Illinois - "Unpaid Tolls Lead To Bill For $17,000" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Editorial: Transportation Funding".
"Tolls strike fear, loathing in hearts of car junkies"
A bit more on Toronto tolls - Star and Whig Standard - "Report calls for fuel tax; City would earn millions, expert says" .
By coincidence, Toronto politicians have also been talking about road tolls as one way of averting a global warmimg disaster - Star - "GTA to face grim future due to global warming - City must improve its planning, look at toll roads, experts say". It is not clear who warming would be a disaster for - perhaps the makers of anti freeze and snow blowers?
Tuesday 22 January 2008
More electric sheep
Israel apparently plans to drive all vehicles by electricity - The Register - Green Computing - "Israel electric car project aims to wipe out oil". They may manage to replace oil, but according to Ministry of EnvironmentalPprotection nearly all of Israel's electricity comes from burning coal, gas or oil.
A tale of give and take
The politicians in Britain and America are busy pumping mega cash into the system and cutting interest rates to keep inflation up and to bail out banks who took a risk too far. The biggest single injection so far is the £55 billion ($107 billion) loans and guarantees given by British taxpayers to the Northern Rock bank - a leader in lending money to fuel runaway house prices. In Britain and America if you want to take risks and be bailed out if it goes against you, then it is best to foul up in a big way. Are the Governments with all this largesse for banks and billionaires, the same ones who treat all drivers as criminals and cash cows? Times - "Gordon Brown's Black Wednesday" PA - "Rock rescue bid: Darling under fire" BBC - "Timeline: Northern Rock bank crisis".
Home for spare cash
Australia may get even more toll roads as way of soaking up investment funds cash - The Australian - "Super plan to boost tolls".
Bikers go free
The politicians have noticed that many bikers don't pay road tax - BBC - "Four in 10 bikers dodge road tax" Independent - "Four out of 10 bikers dodge road tax" Times - "A million drivers are exploiting loophole in road tax payments". The Lib Dem Transport spokesman "called for a move to a road pricing system that would enable VED to be abolished". If bikers are not paying road tax then it would be interesting to know how the Lib Dems plan to send them their road toll bills. By coincidence the Motor Cycle Industry Association have today issued various demands. The demands include exemption from road pricing and parking and congestion charges.
The Times asks - "Where should road tolls go?". The answer is that most of it will go to those who are paid to collect and enforce it.
- BBC - "Election 100-day countdown begins". One safe prediction about the next London Mayor is that most voters will have voted for one of the other candidates.
More on Welsh Road Pricing
From the Western Mail - Tories say - "Road charging in Wales is ‘backdoor taxation’".
Corzine tolls -
Daily Journal - "TOLL ROAD PLAN: Another poll shows little support" Newsday - "Senators look for residents to come talk about tolls" Asbury Park Press - "Trickling down to the masses" NY Post - "Doubts raised on independent entity for state roads" Land Line - "Toll hike protesters feel New Jersey’s jackboot" NJ Biz - "Trucks vs. Toll Hikes - Increased fees could drive more rigs to local roads" Courier Post - "IRS has yet to weigh in on toll plan".
Other stories -
Pennsylvania - "Even as tide shifts on transportation funds, a gasoline tax still is fairest approach" Pennsylvania - "I-80 toll debate heads Wednesday to the Poconos" California - "Proposed taxes may increase South Bay motorists' cost to drive" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike pays high toll for Pennsylvania, D.C. lobbying" Florida - "Women Voters want Collier to say ‘No’ to I-75 tolls" Florida - "Bonita quick takes: Are toll lanes on Interstate 75 a good idea?" Virginia - "Va. Leases Busiest Roadway - Private companies can collect tolls for 75 years" New York - "Is this what the future holds for Grand Island Tolls?" New York - "Congestion-pricing plan hearing Thursday".
More on Toronto tolls
Peterborough Examiner - "Toll roads fairer way to fund 400 series roads: Trent prof" London Free Press - "Tolls, taxes only way to solve traffic crisis" York Press - "Report recomends new road tolls, gas tax" Daily Commercial News - "Road tolls, fuel taxes offer brighter future for Ontario infrastructure, study says" Canada.com - "Study urges tolls, fees and taxes to support Ontario roads, transit".
Monday 21 January 2008
A study commissioned by the construction industry suggests using tolls and other taxes to pay for a construction spending spree - Toronto Sun - "New road tolls? Study also to recommend fuel levy to pay for transit systems in GTA, Hamilton" 680News - "Road tolls, gas levy should fund highways, transit systems, study says".
Press release (pdf file) Report (pdf file).
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
- Kicking Tyres - "Electric Drivers Recharge for Free in London". This story is not news, but a reminder that the Greens who push for road tolls etc have similar intellects to sheep. An electric car takes up as much space as a conventional car, but is exempt from parking charges and the London toll, but best of all the electic power is provided for free. What the sheep do not seem to know is that at the margin all electricity comes from burning fossil fuels ("renewables" and nuclear go into the baseload), and electricity is far more inefficient at converting energy than a car with a conventional engine - so the result is more of the dreaded CO2.
Boris in front?
The "influential" support Boris for Mayor and "45 per cent of respondents said the congestion charge was very or fairly important in determining who they would vote for, while 54 per cent said it was not very or at all important." - Evening Standard - "Boris wins London influentials' backing with 6 per cent poll lead".
Humber Toll - latest protest
Yesterday's demo at the bridge included three MPs - all Labour - but no sight of Gordon Brown! Scunthorpe Telegraph - "PROTEST RECEIVES MOTORISTS' BACKING" Grimsby Telegraph - "BATTLE TO AXE TOLL TAKEN TO BRIDGE".
Tory answer to congestion
The traffic figures published by the DfT in early December are still being bandied about courtesy of the Lib Dems - The Cornishman - "CAR DEPENDENCY SOARING". It is worrying that the Tory shadow Transport Secretary says - "These figures are a damning indictment of the Government's failure to tackle road congestion. Having promised to cut congestion to below the level in 2000, all the Government have to show for the motorist is ever-increasing traffic levels. It is little wonder that, as a result of the Government's inaction and indifference, we have the most congested roads in Europe." The implication is that the Tories do not want more and better roads - like the Government the Tory answer to congestion is apparently to force some drivers off the road.
Fuel Tax freeze
There is a call from "businesses" to stop next planned fuel tax rise - BBC - "Call for fuel tax rise to be axed".
The Highways Agency claim that traffic lights at motorway slip roads will reduce congestion - BBC - "Traffic lights 'to cut M1 jams'".
Corzine tolls - NY Post - "GARDEN STATE'S WEEDS: HIGH TAXES, HIGH TOLLS" letters Asbury Park Press - "A Catch 22 situation with proposed tolls agency" Daily Journal - "Want $43,000 in overtime? Work for the Turnpike" Press of Atlantic City - "Cheaper gas with higher tax? It could happen possible" Press of Atlantic City - "Toll hikes unfair to commuters" letter The Record - "Never fold when playing monetization poker".
Other stories - Nevada - "Higher gasoline taxes? Federal panel proposes a horrible idea" New Hampshire - "Bill now blocks bridge project".
More on Welsh Road Pricing
From Daily Post - "Road tolls ‘only for new routes’ in Wales" "A transport network of our dreams".
Sunday 20 January 2008
Welsh Road Pricing or not
Wales is to get more road pricing powers when the Local Transport Bill is passed, but the Deputy First Minster tells the BBC that it will be - "Road pricing 'only on new roads'". If this was true why would they be seeking wider powers?
Democracy the New Jersey tolls way - NJ Blog - "Democrats find a strange way to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King" Star Ledger - "Bogota ex-mayor arrested at toll protest" Newsday - "Toll plan opponent arrested at Corzine event".
Other Corzine tolls stories - Newsday - "Early debate focuses on what Corzine's toll plan means for debt" Asbury Park Press - "2 years in, Corzine's grade is incomplete" PhillyBurbs - "New Jersey toll roads are a bargain - for now" Asbury Park Press - "Ground zero for toll hikes" Gloucester County Times - "For whom to sell tolls? Truckers say plan may force them out" Gloucester County Times - "Even Dems uncertain on Corzine toll plan" Asbury Park Press - "Timeline for Corzine's tenure" Asbury Park Press - "Key issues faced by Corzine so far" Courier Post - "Opposition to toll-hike plan coming together" Press of Atlantic City - "Corzine pitches toll plan to packed house in Cape May County" New York Times - "Corzine Is Ready to Deal to Get the Toll Plan He Wants" Asbury Park Press - "Power to the people".
New Jersey tolls are certainly a good deal - for those who are employed there - one toll supervisor last year got $124,000 - Courier Post - "Turnpike Authority workers rack up OT".
Other stories - California - "Toll collection machines draw complaints" Ohio - "Gas tax may pay for bridge" California - "Keeping public needs in focus in P3 deals" Pennsylvania - "Bigger cast in play for Pa. Turnpike" Washington State - "Is Gregoire hyping disaster to sell bridges?" Massachusetts - "An overburdened turnpike".
Saturday 19 January 2008
Tyne Toll - Councillor wants them removed
Shields Gazette - "Calls to scrap Tyne Tunnel charges".
Cambridge Toll - Bosses concerned
CEN - "Vehicle charge being imposed, say bosses".
Under pressure, Governor Corzine has now published the secret report produced by British toll consultants (it is in the form of 4 pdf files) - Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four.
Some of the related stories - New York Post - "DRIVERS EYE TOLL DETOUR" Courier Post - "Cars, trucks might bypass N.J. toll roads" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Report: N.J. toll hikes would fill the side roads"
New York Times - "Study Says Drivers Will Use New Jersey Toll Roads Despite Increases" Asbury Park Press - "Toll hikes would shrink road use more than 20% to 30%, study says".
Other Corzine tolls stories - Star Ledger - "Corzine taking his toll tour to Cape May" Courier Post - "List of losers" letter Courier Post - "Passing buck" letter Press of Atlantic City - "Before toll hike: Cut state workers" letter The Record - "Corzine: Toll hikes a certainty" New York Times - "Fixing a Budget at the Toll Booth" Star Ledger - "The Toll Plan is a dinosaur" Star Ledger - "Tolls up, whether you want them or not" Star Ledger - "Corzine: If plan fails tolls still will rise" NJ Blog - "Don't Like Corzine's Plan? What's Yours?".
New York Times - "Work Is Afoot to Take the Free Out of Freeway".
Other stories - Virginia - "I-81 Toll-Ban Proposal Wins Groups' Support - Conservationists Say Bills Add Accountability" New York - "Legislature Says Tolls Are Bad For Our Economy" Washington State - "State To Test High Occupancy Toll Lanes On SR 167" Massachusetts - "More turnpike toll hikes down the road?" California - "Schwarzenegger infrastructure plan questioned" Pennsylvania - "Growing Front Pressures Toll Plan".
Wrong shade of green
A suggestion about why the home of road pricing may suffer from slow traffic - Singapore Today - "Where's the green wave?". Having traffic lights as long as possible on red is of course the way to be green!
Friday 18 January 2008
Humber Toll - more on research study
- Halifax Evening Courier - "Major Humber tolls study approved".
Toll cameras are a "highway improvement"
Kensington & Chelsea Council said that some TfL cameras were breaking planning laws. The planning inspector has sided with TfL - Planning Resource - "Toll cameras escape enforcement move". (Though this story has appeared today, the decision was made in early December.)
How to borrow $40 billion and repay it PLUS interest at high rates PLUS the cost of collection from road tolls - Politicker NJ - "Modern day Plunder". Politicians from all parties are never short of ways of spending money, and if the Governor gets away with this plan, then American roads users will be in "bondage" up to and beyond the point that gas eventually runs out.
Other Corzine tolls stories -
Star Ledger - ""The power to tax involves the power to destroy"" Asbury Park Press - "Corzine's toll hike proposal facing bumpy ride" Asbury Park Press - "Lawmakers want more info on Corzine's toll plan" Press of Atlantic City - "More town hall meetings set on Corzine debt plan" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine toll plan encounters two new roadblocks" Star Ledger - "Toll-hike plan faces north-south questions of fairness" Star Ledger - "Corzine to release the secret study behind his toll-increase plan" Trenton Times - "Comprehensive strategy" Politicker NJ - "Senate Democratic leaders urge Corzine aides to bring in-depth info" NJ Biz - "Truckers: Toll Increases Could Shut Down Big Warehouses" Politicker NJ - "DeCroce likens Corzine's toll road tactics to political extortion".
A lesson on how not to remove tolls - Brooklyn Paper - "Not-so-quick fix for VZ toll plaza".
Other stories -
Pennsylvania - "Scarnati opposes 'foreign' turnpike" New Hampshire - "State gas tax increase debated" Pennsylvania / New Jersey - "DRPA's Binge" Virginia - "Commuters cool to HOT lanes" Virginia - "No sleep lost over I-81 lane idea flop" Texas - "Corridor of change: East Texans express their opinions for and against" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike's defenders go on offense" Pennsylvania - "McCall forges ahead on tolls" Florida - "Pay Lanes on I-4?" Washington State - "Tolls 'wave of the future'" New York - "Hollywood at the Erie County Legislature" New York - "Road Pricing and public transit: "the virtuous circle"" New York - "Traffic plan's impact on Queens mixed: Report" Pennsylvania - "TURNPIKE BOXES" Pennsylvania - "Analysis Finds Study Against Turnpike Privatization Ignores Its Own Evidence".
"Road tolls for Toronto?"
- Eye Weekly.
Thursday 17 January 2008
Today London - Tomorrow the World
The leader of London's Greens wants the city's anti driver policies spread throughout Britain - Guardian Comment - "Now we're in a jam".
"Huge rise in traffic choking the roads"
- Times. An interesting story, but as far as we can see this refers to statistics that were published a month ago (see our news for 13 December "Local stats").
Corzine tolls not as smart as a gas tax - Star Ledger - "Smart cars, not-so-smart politicians".
Other Corzine tolls stories - Asbury Park Press - "Official blasts N.J. toll hikes" Asbury Park Press - "Fairer tax structure needed to complement toll increases" Asbury Park Press - "Truckers face "rent increase" with Corzine plan" Asbury Park Press - ""Bring it on," loud and clear" Courier - ""Poll shows most voters oppose Corzine's toll hike" Newsday - "Poll: Heavy opposition to Corzine toll hike plan" Home News Tribune - "Gov warns of reduced aid - Tax relief hinges on toll plan" Asbury Park Press - "Hearing scheduled for toll plan without a bill" Press of Atlantic City - "Corzine tells mayors important programs hinge on his debt plan" Press of Atlantic City - "Toll-hike plan / Spreading the pain" Courier Post - "Despite fiscal woes, Corzine spends more" Jersey Journal - "Arrogantly socking it to drivers" The Record - "Pay-to-play ban would improve toll plan".
Other stories - New York - "Majority Of NY’ers Reject Congestion Pricing: Poll" New York - "As anti-pricing arguments fall away it's just parking and politics" Virginia - "Supervisors Oppose Greenway Tax Cap Bill" Virginia - "Plan to widen Interstate 81 falls apart" Pennsylvania - "Republican lawmakers reconsider plan to lease Turnpike" Ohio - "Gas-tax plan may pain motorists" New York - "Congestion cash would to go for mass transit upgrades under proposed plan" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA toll hike delayed" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Toll plan not new to DRPA" California - "Transit official to Marin: Deal on tolls - or else" Pennsylvania - "Senator touts $1B turnpike plan" Virginia - "Nichols' bill would stop HOT lanes" New York - "Congestion pricing debate heats up" New York - "Congestion Pricing and Disparities in Commuting" Fleet Owner - "Reaction to highway commission decidedly mixed" Texas - "Tolls-vs-Tax debate has a big day".
Turn of the screw
Norway, which possibly has the highest car taxes of any European country, plans to have more tolls - Aftenposten - "Cars are not welcome". Is Norway able to extort so much money from drivers because cars are so essential?
Fine time for trucks
A scheme for toll reductions for trucks is being replaced with a system of fines on trucks which use alternate routes - Supply Chain Review - "Toll-free truck scheme scrapped on Gateway, Logan motorways".
Wednesday 16 January 2008
Humber Toll - More on PM's answer to petition
- Scunthorpe Telegraph - "PM SPARKS 'DISGUST' OVER TOLLS".
Bit more on Road pricing Dole
As reported yesterday the Government has given three areas (Bristol, Cambridgeshire and Manchester) a bit more money to spend on consultants etc looking at road pricing - BBC - "Extra £1m for congestion solution" Transport Briefing - "Pump priming surplus shared out to three TIF bidders" BBC (Bristol) - "Congestion charging a step closer" Bath Chronicle - "CONGESTION CHARGE MOVES CLOSER" Manchester Evening News - "C-charge: £1.5m boost for bid" Cambridge Evening News - "£1m road tolls 'bribe'".
More on the recent research report on toll roads - Newspaper.com - "Study: Toll Roads Divert Traffic, Increase Accidents". Includes link to the report (pdf file).
Corzine tolls - The Bulletin - "Corzine Is The Worst Kind of Liberal" Newsday - "Corzine to pitch toll plan to mayors" Star Ledger - "Corzine takes toll hike pitch to Morris County tonight" Newsday - "Poll finds Gov. Corzine's approval rating falling" Home News Tribune - "Toll plan unfair to area's drivers" The Record - "Governor offers traffic fix for toll hikes" Trenton Times - "Let the sun shine in" Star Ledger - "Making the wrong choice" Star Ledger - "Senate leader urges Corzine to introduce toll legislation soon" "NJ Invests in Citigroup, Merrill Lynch" (part of the state's $81 billion pension fund) Star Ledger - "Keep on trucking".
More reaction to yesterday's proposal, from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, for a higher gas tax - The Day (Connecticut) - "Increase In Gas Tax Proposed For Transportation Upgrades" Fort Worth Star Telegram - "Federal panel urges steep rise in gasoline taxes" Journal Gazette(Indiana) - "Souder, Pence criticize plan to raise fuel tax" Philadephia Inquirer - "Study: Gas-tax hike the way to go - Researchers say that adding or increasing highway tolls will hurt the economy" Philadephia Inquirer - "Study: Toll roads alone won't pay for U.S. highway needs" Hartford Courant - "Gas Tax Hike Urged To Fund Road Work" Newsday - "Transportation panel: Triple U.S. gasoline taxes" Houston Chronicle - "Fed's proposed gas tax hike fuels outrage" Pittsburgh Post Gazette - "Panel wants 5 to 8 cent annual gas tax hike for 5 years" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - "Increase in federal gas tax is proposed to fund road repairs - Report blames Minnesota bridge collapse on design flaw" Bond Buyer - "Study: Raise Fed Gas Tax" The Hill (DC) - "Transportation study recommends gas tax hike, other fixes to meet growing infrastructure demand".
From the Village Voice some "Congestion Pricing Questions".
Other stories - New York - "Congestion Pricing Opposed At Town Hall" Florida - "Group opposes I-75 toll lanes at council meeting" New York - "Feds urge flexible city bridge toll pricing" Pennsylvania - "Lawmaker wants to lease Pa. Turnpike in 3 parts, repeal I-80 toll" California - "Supervisors criticize toll hike to rebuild Doyle Drive" Pennsylvania - "GOP gets behind turnpike lease" New York - "Congestion pricing key to MTA's growth".
"Personal Mobility, Status Enhancing and Sexual Insecurity Compensatory Device"
Cars - Vancouver Sun - "Climate change policy, transportation reality".
Tuesday 15 January 2008
The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission report is out today - AP report earlier AP report. A few reactions - eTrucker - "Panel recommends vast transport spending program" Star Telegram (Texas) - "Report recommends big gas tax increase" RTT - "Committee Calls For 40 Cent Increase In National Gas Tax" SF Chronicle - "Congressional commission recommends 25-cent gas tax hike". The report (pdf file).
Road pricing Dole
Early in December the Government announced that it was to give some councils more money to spend on consultants etc looking at road pricing. It seems that the cash has now been shared out - Peterborough Evening Telegraph - "£1m fund for congestion charge plan". Note that the £1m is just for Cambridgeshire. The Government have not issued any press release, so we don't know the full details.
Proof that you really can fool most of the people most of the time
eGov - "London wins top international award for congestion charge" BBC - "Award for cutting city congestion".
Move on the right
Today there is another attempt to sell road pricing - BBC - "British roads 'unfit for purpose'" Guardian / PA - "British roads 'not fit for purpose'". Most previous attempts have been orchestrated by the Government and their allies, but this move comes from a right wing think tank which has more in common with the Tory party, the Times and the Telegraph than with Labour. As usual the BBC instead of quoting the real opponents of road tolls quote from the AA - a private company. (The link the BBC usually have to the AA is to the page selling insurances etc, but the link in their story takes you to American Airlines!)
PS These have now been published on Policy Exchange website (pdf files) - Report Executive Summary.
PPS It comes as no surprise that the RAC Foundation are also backing more charges on drivers - What Car.
PPPS A story on the Public Private Finance site says that the report "was produced in cooperation with two big PFI players, Serco and the lawyers Bevan Brittan."
Humber Toll - PM's answer to petition
Over 8,000 people signed a petition to the Prime Minister asking for the Humber bridge tolls to be reduced. The PM has taken Pontius Pilate as the model for - his answer. News stories - Grimsby Telegraph - "PM STEERS CLEAR OF BRIDGE TOLL SOLUTION" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "BROWN RESPONDS TO BRIDGE TOLL PETITION".
The campaign against the tolls carries on - Market Rasen Mail - "Appeal to join Humber Bridge toll rates protest".
This is another story that the trolls will not like - a research report concludes that tolling a road may "result in more crashes and increased costs" - Physics - "Toll road privatization may result in indirect impacts".
Corzine tolls -
Star Ledger - "Corzine lets the cat out of the bag" The Record - "Corzine 'toll road' show lures 800 to Hackensack" Asbury Park Press - "Most readers find fault with plan to hike tolls" The Record - Letters (3 pages) The Record - "One guarantee of the toll plan: More pork" The Record - "One guarantee of the toll plan: More pork" Star Ledger - "An anti-toll crowd lets governor plead case" New York Times - "To Sell Higher Tolls, Corzine Talks Bonds" Star Ledger - "Corzine continues to pitch toll-hike plan" City Journal (NY) - "For Whom the Roads Toll" Star Ledger - "A citizen's view on regaining fiscal stability".
Other stories -
Pennsylvania - "Information concerning the turnpike project" Pennsylvania - "Opposition to tolling I-80" Massachusetts - "Officials warn of toll increases on Pike" Illinois - "Toll enforcement fix will have to wait" Florida - "Toll change nickel and dimes away discount" Rhode Island - "More opposition rings out against Mt. Hope Bridge tolls" New York - "Hearing set on higher Grand Island bridge tolls" California - "Bridge board rebuffs Doyle Drive toll proposal" Washington State - "Pay first, think later" Texas - "Public meetings begin in gigantic Texas toll road project".
More give and take
Yesterday the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor said that he would scrap the Western extension to the London toll zone. Last night the Tory candidate joined in - BBC - "Cut congestion zone, says Johnson" Politics - "Livingstone rivals pledge to scrap western C-charge".
Monday 14 January 2008
East West toll
Blogger Phil Jacobs (Phil's blog - Lloyds TSB Action Group) has sent us part of some correspondence he had with the European Transport Directorate. He asked them - "Both the M25 and M4 motorways are integral components of the European East West road network. Each have tolls ( M25 Dartford Crossing, M4 Severn River Crossing) at bridges/tunnels which lead to miles of congestion at peak times. The hold-ups adds to cost of business, increases the carbon footprint of the area and is contrary to the aim of easy east west travel throughout the EU. The tolls were initally levied to pay for the bridges, but both have now collected more than the cost of construction. Can the Transport Directorate order the UK government to scrap the toll booths and get traffic moving?"
The answer in brief was "No", but it seems that they are already examining the Dartford tolls (possibly because they are legally not tolls, but charges under the Transport Act 2000).
A bit of give and take
The Lib Dem candidate for Mayor has given his views on the London Toll. He would scrap the Western extension and the planned Low Emission toll. For the original central zone he would either increase the toll to £20 or ban most of the traffic - Evening Standard - "Ban on cars or £20 C-Charge".
"Record car ownership in Beijing"
More on Corzine Tolls -
Star Ledger - "Corzine is set to resume his pitch for toll-increase plan" New York Post - "JERSEY'S TOLL TAX - A BAD PLAN TO FUND OLD DEBT"
Times of Trenton - "Pushing monetization" Press of Atlantic City - "The governor's toll-hike plan" The Record - "Half in poll oppose toll increases" NJ Blog - "A Taxing Question" Bloomberg - "New Jersey's Corzine Takes Toll-Plan Sales Pitch on the Road".
Other stories -
Washington State - "Transportation - Paying for road projects" New York - "Profits from Mayor Bloomberg's congestion plan may go elsewhere" Texas - "Local residents comment on proposed toll lanes" Indiana - "Electronic tolling months away for Indiana Toll Road".
Sunday 13 January 2008
New York Toll
On Thursday the State Commission appointed to look at the New York City Mayor's toll plan issued - its interim report (pdf file). (See also stories on Thursday, Friday and Saturday below).
The report says (page 37) that "The London scheme is most similar to the Mayor’s plan and is similar to the alternative congestion pricing plan in some respects." It gives brief details of the London scheme - "Drivers into central London’s Congestion Pricing Zone (CPZ) are charged a flat £8 ($16) fee between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays. Evaluation studies have shown that the number of vehicles entering the CPZ is down 16 percent from prior to the implementation of the charge. In 2006, the charging zone generated
net revenues of £123 million ($244 million), which were used to fund enhanced bus service and other transit improvements.". This simplistic and inaccurate description throws doubts on how thorough a job the Commission have done - the important fact that London traffic speeds are now as bad as before (and a lot worse than in New York) is not revealed, and the quoted net revenues figure is not correct.
In any case the Commission has come up with four other ways of reducing traffuc. The 5 choices which are now on the table are:-
"The Mayor's Plan" - London style charge with the boundaries being 86th Street and the bridges. The toll would be $8 ($4 if toll boundary not crossed), and existing tolled bridges would become "free".
"The Alternative Congestion Pricing Plan" - Similar to Mayor's plan but zone would only be below 60th Street and there would be no toll if the boundary was not crossed.
"The East River and Harlem River Toll Plan" - Mayor's plan dropped and instead the free bridges would be tolled ($4 each way).
"The License Plate Rationing Plan" - Most vehicles would be banned one day a week from the area south of 86th Street. Based on the last digit of the license plate .
"The Combination Plan" - One part is measures to increase the cost of parking. The other is an $8 tax on taxi trips south of 86th Street.
The Commission is to hold a public hearing on January 16 and will vote on a final traffic congestion mitigation plan (which could be any of the above or something else) at its January 31, 2008 meeting and pass its recommendation to the Governor, State Legislature, City Council, and Mayor. Given the importance of the decision, this haste is most unwise.
More on Corzine Tolls -
Asbury Park Press - "We'll believe, when pigs fly" PhillyBurbs - "Truckers searching for 'free' way" Asbury Park Press - "Stop madness of monetization" Asbury Park Press - "Shore commuters would bear brunt of Corzine's toll hikes" Daily Record - "Asking the governor" New York Post - "TAKING A TOLL" Press of Atlantic City - "Readers pan Corzine's plan to hike tolls" Courier Post - "Higher tolls will affect all consumers" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine's toll hikes may yield windfall" Courier Post - "Corzine hits road with toll hike plan" The Record - "Let's face reality" Star Ledger - "Truckers begin mapping out cheaper alternate routes" Star Ledger - "BATTLE LINES DRAWN ON TOLL HIKES" Star Ledger - "Monetization plan's assets and drawbacks" New York Times - "No Lack of Curiosity, or Civility, at Corzine’s First Forum on Toll Proposal" Newsday - "Motorists who live near toll roads could get hit hardest".
Other stories - Virginia - "Land battle" California - "6 reasons why Doyle Drive toll must be stopped" Washington State - "Narrows tollpayers won’t be alone for long" Washington State - "Fixing Low Rider, tale of the tolls" New York - "Toll trolls should be stopped" Massachusetts - "Tax hikes, agency reform needed to save state transportation" California - "Costly glitches: Fix FasTrak system".
Saturday 12 January 2008
Euro toll consultation
The Commission towards the end of last year issued a consultation paper on - "Preparation of an Impact Assessment on the Internalisation of External Costs". The "objective of this document is to focus specifically on the role of pricing instruments", i.e. road tolls. The consultation has now closed, but there are no prizes for guessing the results.
"Congestion charge sets dilemma"
Greece is considering congestion tolls, but it would first have to "educate" the public - Kathimerini.
East Midlands - Parking place levy
- Nottingham Evening Post - "LEVY 'COULD CLOG ROADS'".
On Thursday we had a link to a story in Today's Trucking on the expected report from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. The report is not due out till the 15th but the Wall Street Journal has a further story on it. It seems that 9 members of the Commission want a substantial increase in gas taxes, but the other 3 members (including Mary Peters) want road tolls and not gas taxes - "Highway Panel to Seek Higher Gas Tax". There are many reasons (not least of which is that much of the oil is imported) why America should be encouraging reduced fuel consumption, we hope that those who favour this are not beaten by those who promote tolling.
More on Corzine Tolls -
Asbury Park Press - "Freeholders won't back Corzine's toll-hike plan" Newsday - "Corzine hits road to pitch hiking tolls to fix state finances" Star Ledger - "Turnpike data show flaws in toll plan - E-ZPass 'regulars' would bear burden" New York Times - "Toll Increases in New Jersey Would Be Steep, and the Debate Will Be Fierce" New York Times - "Road Show to Sell Toll Raises" Star Ledger - "Calculating Your Toll Hike 101" Asbury Park Press - "Toll hike to reduce debt faces public roadblock".
Other stories - Washington State - "Getting rolling on road tolling" California - "Doyle Drive reconstruction: Battle of north vs. south" California - "Golden Gate Bridge directors put off Doyle Drive toll decision" Illinois - "Save money: Cut the toll authority" New York - "Free Transit For All?" New York - "New congestion pricing options as the debate continues" New York - "Congestion Commission Releases Report; Revised Pricing Plan Best Option" Washington State - "No More Free Ride to the Eastside: 520 Tolls Are Coming" Washington State - "520 Bridge Toll Possible in the Next Year" New York - "Let's hear about Mayor Bloomberg's Transit imnprovement plan".
The Mayor intends that cars with the lowest CO2 emissions pay no London Toll and those with high emissions pay a lot more. Now an organisation that calls itself "Clean Green Cars" is saying that the cars with the lowest emissions should still pay, and is also calling for reduced increases for those with the highest emissions. We are used to the strange ideas of Greens, but this latest twist is apparently because they think the Mayor's plans may encourage more people to drive!!! Easier Motoring - "Emissions-based London congestion could increase greenhouse gases" Clean Green Cars.
Friday 11 January 2008
European Help for Toll operators
The European Union and Investment Bank provides financial help to private toll operators to reduce the risks of toll road schemes - Edu Bourse - "The Loan Guarantee Instrument for Trans-European Transport Network Projects - Frequently Asked Questions".
More on Corzine Tolls - Asbury Park Press - "Toll hike to reduce debt faces public roadblock" Star Ledger - "Jerseyans could get break on toll hikes"
Courier Post - "Corzine might cut toll break for some" Gloucester County Times - "Toll company may be able to skirt OPRA" The Record - "Pigs may fly before toll hikes are approved" Bloomberg - "Jon Corzine Gets Ready to Pitch Yet Another Big Deal" Newsday - "Corzine pitches Wall Street on plan to boost tolls, reduce debt" Star Ledger - "Wall Street will love it. Will N.J.?" The Bulletin - "Corzine's Backdoor Tax".
A poll yesterday indicated that if the New York tolls were to be spent on transit, them a majority would support the idea - Gothamist - "Poll: Congestion Pricing More Appealing if Mass Transit Actually Improves" NY Daily News - "Cut traffic, boost transit" NY Daily News - "Poll: N.Y.ers support congest plan if it means money goes to mass transit" NY Post - "ANTI-DRIVE-FEE NYERS WILLING TO $HIFT GEAR". This poll result is based on the same misconception which has been used in Britain. The reality is that these sort of toll schemes are very expensive to set up and run. The vast bulk of the income is wasted on collection and enforcement.
Other stories -
Washington State - "Tolls now, replace bridge later" comments New York - "Traffic Panel Leaning Toward Modified Congestion Pricing Plan" Rhode Island - "Portsmouth sounds off against Mount Hope Bridge toll" New York - "Grand Island tolls soar" New York - "Focus on five options for trimming Manhattan traffic" California - "Brake on toll scofflaws" Alabama - "A toll road ahead?"
Illinois - "Worrying about his use of tollway I-Pass" Rhode Island - "Alternative to tolls discussed at hearing last night" Washington State - "Narrows Toll Discount Likely to End Next Year" West Virginia - "’Pike board awaits second phase of auditor’s report" New York - "Commission meets on Manhattan traffic congestion options" Washington State - "WA gov's 520 bridge plan" Florida - "Federal Funds Awarded To I-95 Express Lanes" New York - "Weiner and Wylde square off in pricing forum" Washington State - "Getting rolling on road tolling".
Thursday 10 January 2008
Humber Toll research
- Halifax Evening Courier - "Council calls for bridge toll research".
East Midlands Toll - but not for nurses they say
- Derby Evening Telegraph - "SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR NURSES?".
South West Tolls
The politicians who make up the South West Regional Assembly propose more people, more house building and introduction of road tolls in Bristol, Plymouth, South East Dorset and Exeter - 24Dash - "Blueprint for the South West".
Later report - Execter Express & Echo - "REGIONAL MASTERPLAN CALLS FOR 47,000 NEW HOMES".
More on Corzine Tolls - Newsday - "Commuters could get discount, plan must be politics-free" Star Ledger - "Corzine wants to soften the blow with toll discounts" Star Ledger - "A $65 Turnpike Toll?: Questioning Corzine's Toll Hike Plan" Courier Post - "Group has concerns about toll road plan" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine's plan facing a tough ride" Star Ledger - "Governor recruits an old foe as fiscal plan pitchman" NJ Blog - "The cat's out of the bag -- now what?"
Sparta Independent - "Motorists look for answers as Corzine readies toll hike" NJ Biz - "Most Toll Payers are Commercial Drivers or from Other States" Star Ledger - "Questions and answers on how it all would work".
Today's Trucking - "Major fuel tax hike proposed for highway funding in US". (The organisation releasing the report on the 15th).
New York Toll - Streetsblog- "Bridge Toll plan headlines Congestion Commission report" New York Times - "Congestion Pricing and Its Alternatives" NY1 - "Traffic Panel Weighs Congestion Pricing Against Other Plans" NY Daily News - "Q Poll: Congestion Pricing Still Unpopular" Staten Island Advance - "Vast majority of Staten Islanders oppose congestion pricing, poll shows" AHN - "Tolls On Manhattan Bridge Proposed To Decongest Area" WNBC - "Commission To Weigh Alternative Congestion Pricing Plans" NY Daily News - "To tame traffic, make subways & buses free - yes, free" NY Daily News - "Tolls eyed on all Manhattan bridges" NY Post - "$PAN-PLAN SWAP - TOLLS EYED IN LIEU OF CONGESTION FEE" Newsday - "Panel to mull alternatives to congestion pricing" NY Sun - "Taxi Prices May Rise With Congestion Pricing".
Other stories -
"California Toll Agency Wants Power to Seize Cars" New York - "Traffic increases to record high with removal of toll barriers" Illinois - "Cintra Chicago Skyway Dec traffic down 6.8 pct yr-on-yr" New Hampshire - "Two officers, prisoner slammed at York tolls" New Hampshire - "Two officers, prisoner slammed at York tolls"
Alabama - "Bypass toll is on table" California - "Toll panel targeting FasTrak cheaters - WORST OFFENDER OWES FINES NEARING $50,000" California - "Move ahead on a Los Angeles toll lane" Mississippi - "Airport route may be toll road" Illinois - "The toll authority acts like the mob" California - "Plan for toll lanes on L.A. County freeways is in fast lane" Rhode Island - "Gallison would prohibit return of tollbooths at Mount Hope Bridge" New York - "Toll trolls should be stopped" New Jersey - "That eye in the sky may be more nuisance than divine omniscence".
Two from Oz
Toll Growth - The Australian - "Transurban performs".
Toll Dreams - NineMSN- "E-tag nightmare fines".
Wednesday 9 January 2008
Report on the Australian bank that has "the best toll road assets in the world. And, not coincidentally, the only unregulated ones". These are the M6 in Britain, the San Diego 125 and Toronto's 407 - "Golden toll roads drive MacBank".
Yesterday, New Jersey's Governor unveiled the details of his whizz to pay off New Jersey's massive debt and substitute it with new "tolls" paper debt. There have been hundreds of reports on this story - (all stories on Google, excluding duplicates). It is surprising how many people seem not to have known what was coming. Here are some of the stories -
New York Times - "Corzine Proposes Steep Rise in Tolls" The Record - "Lawmakers, drivers lash out at toll-hike plan" Asbury Park Press - "Give voters the final say" Star Ledger - "When he leaves that foxhole, Corzine doesn't do it at a walk" Home News Tribune - "N.J. on road to ruin under Corzine toll-hike plan" Asbury Park Press - "Here's the main plan" Daily Record - "Why not a vote? Send governor'stoll plan to the ballot" Gloucester County Times - "Tolls may drive more to local parallel roads"
Press of Atlantic City - "Corzine plans major toll hike to pay debt" Press of Atlantic City - "Parkway travelers say 'yikes' to Corzine plan for toll hikes" Courier Post - "Higher tolls to affect everyone" Courier Post - "Experts: N.J.'s plan is country's biggest" Courier Post - "Corzine pins debt bailout on substantial toll hikes" The Record - "Drivers' questions, sobering answers" The Record - "Crafty timing on toll increase" Star Ledger - "Corzine tells how he'll 'fix this mess'"
NJ Blog - "Corzine unveils plan for state finances" New York Times - "Corzine Proposes Huge Financial Move for N.J." The Bond Buyer - "Corzine's plan could allow $37B of Toll debt - NY Governor seeks debt restructuring" New York Times - "A New Agency for Roads, or Version 2 of the Turnpike Authority?" New York Times - "Corzine Proposes Steep Rise in Tolls" NTJ Blog - "Monetization plan looks like a dead zeppelin" Politicker NJ - "Today's speech and Corzine's reelection prospects" NJ Blog - "Legislators react swiftly to Corzine's toll hike plan"
NJ Blog - "Full transcript of Gov.'s State of State Address".
The Governor's "plan" is possibly based on his experience as a bond trader and later as head of Goldman Sachs - biog on wikipedia. It may also be based on a report that the Governor refused to release last year. The report was from the British firm of Steer Davies Gleave who were hired to advise on sale or leasing of toll roads.
Other stories - California - "Unpaid tolls to cost MTC $3.5M" New York - "Adding insult to injury as tolls escalate" New York - "Toll hike to $1 on Grand Island bridges outrages drivers" New York - "Commission studying congestion plan to weigh alternate plans" California - "Plan for toll lanes on L.A. County freeways is in fast lane" California - "MTC Planning Crackdown On FasTrak Scofflaws" Virginia - "The Problems Of I-81" Washington State - "Bremerton's Red-Light Money Could Be Tapped By Initiative".
Newcastle Toll - maybe
On the 1st November we had a report - "Newcastle Toll - looks like no", but the Lib Dems want to have another think about it - Evening Chronicle - "Road tolls back on the agenda".
Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ça change
At the cost of very many lives, the US was eventually "persuaded" to leave Vietnam, thus allowing the Communists to take over the whole country. Despite that Vietnam is now building roads the American way - tolled - Vietnam News - "Expressway consortium gets rolling".
"C-Charge 'putting cyclists in danger'"
Problems are being caused by traffic skirting the Congestion zone to avoid paying the London Toll - Islington Gazette.
"Go East" young man
A letter suggesting building of a new town / city facilitated by the removal of the Humber bridge tolls - York Press - "Build to the east".
Tuesday 8 January 2008
The Daily Telegraph sometimes gives the impression that it is opposed to tolls. Today it has a piece on the M6 Toll - "Cost of M6 motorway toll soars by 50 per cent". The paper quotes from "motoring groups" the RAC Foundation and the AA - it is a fantasy that these groups represent motorists or that they oppose any form of tolls Though as the Telegraph also manages to give the impression that the Transport Committee might be sympathetic to motorists, perhaps this is all a dream.
"Road pricing costs you".
Today, New Jersey's Governor is to reveal more of his financial whizz to pay off New Jersey's massive debt and substitute it with new "tolls" paper debt that would have to be paid off through a massive increase in existing road tolls and new tolls on currently free roads -
Courier Post - "Motorists dread proposed toll hikes" CBS - "N.J. Motorists Fear Toll Increases" NJ Blog - "Where not to go to fix NJ finances" Newsday - "Corzine's plan to fix fiscal woes through higher tolls" Newsday - "Corzine to pitch increasing tolls 50 percent every four years" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine: Hike turnpike tolls?" WNBC - "Corzine Expected To Propose Toll Hike In State Address" Star Ledger - "Corzine finalizes highway toll increase plan of 50 percent-plus" Star Ledger - "Corzine seeks tolls on Rt. 440" PennLive- "Corzine looks to drivers today to pay down state debt and repair highways and bridges" NJ Blog - "Judging the Corzine plan".
From Chicago Daily Herald on the problem of the people who the authorities say don't pay - "Solve major problems in toll collection" "Chasing toll cheats can be profitable" "Toll authority still can't tow scofflaws" "Toll officials draw a blank on cheats tally".
An example of the toll economics that is being sold to Americans Marketplace (California) - "Rush-hour pricing? Let's just do it". We are not sure which is the best bit - Is it that tolls (rather than fuel taxes) is the way to deal with "global warming"? Or is that peak period tolls "would help our troubled real estate market. It would be easier to buy a home further away from town, again because commutes would be shorter. This would help many home prices and give us more residential choice."? It isn't clear whether road tolls are meant to "help" home prices up or down. But whichever way they go, the commuter will still be financially worse off because of the road tolls.
Other stories -
Rhode Island - "Legislator wants to sell naming rights to bridge" New Jersey - "NJ Year in Review: A Loss of Focus" New York - "Rockland Legislature minority wants governor to veto Port Authority toll hikes" Rhode Island - "Residents oppose raising Pell Bridge tolls" Washington State - "Tolling, HOT lanes spread in US, Creep forward in Puget Sound" New York - "GRAND ISLAND: Too much of a toll" Pennsylvania - "Act 44 And Tolling I-80: Sen. Scarnati's Failure".
"Oil is the problem, not cars"
The main problem with cars is said to be "burning petrol in a filthy and inefficient way". At the same time it is said that "Indian car buyers have always been fuel-efficiency conscious, owing to the given that fuel prices are high. In that light, should private transport be disincentivised (through measures such as congestion charges, high tolls etc.) as in the developed countries?" The simple man in the street might think that you would encourage reduced fuel use by taxing fuel. But India has learnt the lesson from the West and realises that the answer to the oil problem is of course tolls - Hindu News.
"Congestion charge loopholes: Now just learn the Knowlege..."
"UK Motor Industry 2007"
Monday 7 January 2008
Bath Chronicle - "CITY POLLUTION MOVE".
Government eating cars ..
From ABD - "Government Car Crushing Waste Scandal Must End".
.. and its appetite is growing
BBC - "Uninsured vehicles campaign grow". Vehicles (including motor bikes and commercial vehicles) that are not insured will in most cases not be taxed and the vehicle owner details may be wrong. It seems strange that the Police are apparently not also concerned about that.
"2007 transport review"
From Transport Briefing - Part one.
New Jersey - "Corzine Showdown in New Jersey Recalls Goldman Ouster" New Jersey - "Corzine readies plan to increase tolls to solve N.J. fiscal woes" New York - "Grand Island Tolls Up 33 Percent, Others Only 10" California - "Too big, powerful" first 2 letters New York - "Lawmakers balk about toll hike" New Jersey - "Plan sees Turnpike as energy generator" New York - "A Simpler Alternative to Congestion Pricing" New York - "Drivers React to Toll Hike".
More on Czech Truck tolling
Czech Business Weekly - "E-toll profits start rolling in". The Czechs may make a profit, but truck tolls in central Europe are a beggar my neighbour tactic founded on the majority of trucks being foreign.
Sunday 6 January 2008
Selling America - Dallas Morning News - "Carlyle's fund could cash in on privatizing".
The toll collectors are the law - Daily Herald (Chicago) - "Taking a heavy toll - Tollway aggressively chases accused scofflaws, regardless of cracks in enforcement system" Daily Herald (Chicago) - "Toll authority often willing to settle".
Other stories - New York - "Toll hike increase in effect for those who use cash" "A bigger toll on New Yorkers" New Jersey - "Motorists look for answers as Corzine readies toll plan" New Jersey - "New minority leader aims to stop road sale" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA decision to restrict activities hard to believe" Virginia - "Road malaise" Pennsylvania - "Join effort to stop I-80 tolls" Massachusetts - "Turnpike boss fires former MDC chief" Massachusetts - "Turnpike boss fires former MDC chief".
Former Roads Minister to work for Itis
Times - "Ex-transport minister takes job at road pricing firm".
Saturday 5 January 2008
Saturday - New Jersey - "Q&A: How increased NJ tolls would affect your life" New Hampshire - "Plans for privately funded bridge may be halted" Washington State - "Eyman camp files initiative targeting traffic" Indiana - "Toll Road cash gives Ohio River bridges key support" New York - "Thruway tolls headed up as lawmakers protest" New Jersey / New York - "Port Authority approves higher tolls, PATH fares" South Carolina - "Tolls on Interstate 95 just another Band-Aid" Rhode Island - "Public hearings set on bridge deficit" New York - "A Turning Point for Transit".
Friday - "Officials consider tolls for proposed elevated highway in Alabama" Alabama - "Toll roads" Massachusetts - "Turnpike director ponders cutbacks" Virginia - "Response to roads plan mixed" Massachusetts - "Big Dig's toll" Virginia - "Coalition wants a comprehensive I-81 solution" Virginia - "Coalition wants a comprehensive I-81 solution".
Thursday - Texas - "TxTag offering incentives to those with overdue toll bills" "TXDOT schedules 57 public meeting about Trans-Texas Corridor" New Jersey - "Wall Street "wizard" is just man behind the curtain" Florida - "Consultants to Study Toll Road Ideas" Pennsylvania - "Highway toll increases are still less costly than privatization" Pennsylvania - "Private cash may be way to finish Mon-Fayette Expressway".
Humber Toll - Petition closed
Grimsby Telegraph - "8,000 SIGN PETITION OVER BRIDGE COSTS" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "MORE THAN 8,000 SIGN TOLL PETITION".
- Melbourne Herald Sun - "Road toll subsidy scheme 'to cost $860m'".
London Travel report
Evening Standard story - "40 per cent of journeys still made by car" The 2007 TfL report (pdf file).
Bit More on Milan Toll
Times - "Congestion fee leaves Milan in a jam".
Severn Toll - Bit more on call for abolition
Neath Guardian - "Cimla councillor blasts bridge toll rise".
Wednesday 2 January 2008
More on Milan Toll
Guardian - "Milan's pollution charge gets off to smooth start" Bloomberg - "Milan Introduces City Center Congestion Charge to Cut Pollution " BBC - "Milan introduces traffic charge". The BBC report says that CO2 has gone down in the London Toll Zone. This may be so, but CO2 is not a pollutant - it is breathed out by all animals and taken in by plants. The published figures for real measured air pollution (such as fine particulate matter) in and around the toll zone show no improvement since the charge was introduced.
PS A message that we got today from Luca in Milan-
We're following the "London prescription"!
Today starts the "Ecopass" here in the old Milan: It sounds like an odd remake of "London: the revenge of congestion charge", but worse: with some little insignificant gap in the situations of public transport network! In fact we've only 3 lines underground, a confused plethora of bus lines and the oldest tramway system, maybe after the San Francisco!
You have to know that: all "transport system" here is built to reach the centre from any block but, eheh... If you need to reach a peripherical point, for example, from another peripherical point, even if it's far only two miles, you MUST go with your own car because, with ATM (public transports) you have to reach the centre and after, with harrowing tranquility, a bus line carry you at destination! Can you guess where are our houses? ..and our job place? ..and our schools? In the "City"? I don't think so friends!! Money money money, in the City there are banks only!
Well... uhmm, moreover: do you think that pollution will stops in front of forbidden zone? A sort of frontier between "paradiso" and "inferno"? That's a fantastic idea! My father smokes, but my mom has a congestion charge on bedroom, you know... her air's like Cervinia!! Just a moment pals! Here the problem is on thin powders like PM10 and PM2, isn't it? Do you remember what the grandmother did before sweeping the courtyard?? She wet it, no? To avoid what? Maybe the dust! Our mayor prefer to spend 24 billion of Euros in CCTV, but spray water with sweeping-lorries is pretty difficult!
We pay car's ownership taxes, regional add, plates, all highways, motorways, a lot of belts fees (when merging the Hinterland, the big metropolitan area), parking areas, and now: (applause) we pay a tax on every breath! ..and for sidewalks consumption? We're working on it!
We're back to Middle age! Italy's a republic, the soil is not a private property claimed by mayors!
Proceeding in this way every: city, municipality, county, province, mountain community, region, will ask a toll. We're lucky! A trip to Rome could be more expensive than a fly to Miami!!"
It is also reported that Germany is to use a different approach, which will be implemented later this month in Berlin, Cologne and Hanover. Vehicles will have to display a coloured (red, yellow and green) badge showing the level of "pollution". Vehicles with red badges will be banned from central areas. Offenders will be fined and have their driving licence endorsed.
Massachusetts - "Turnpike warns against Fast Lane abuse" New Jersey - "Still waiting to see plan for state toll roads" California - "Toll lanes may be price for freeways that move" Florida - "Toll bridges must serve our public interest" Florida - "Free bridge routes congested, drivers say - County says traffic down on all spans" "Another year of debt for New Jersey".
Neck and neck
According to the Evening Standard, a survey shows that it is a close contest for the London Mayorship. The survey also indicates that 42 per cent support the London Toll, and 44 per cent oppose it - "Mayor race: Livingstone and Boris too close to call".
"Transport agenda: what to watch during 2008"
Humber Toll - Petition closes today
BBC - "Bridge petition signed by 7,500" Grimsby Telegraph - "LAST CHANCE TO SIGN PETITION". The Petition.
Yesterday's toll increases
These were the toll increases for cars (rates for vans and lorries will be higher) - M6 Toll from £4.00 to £4.50 (both ways). Severn from £5.10 to £5.30 (one way). Tyne tunnel from £1.10 to £1.20 (both ways).
Tuesday 1 January 2008
From Tuesday, drivers will have to pay a toll when they enter the centre of Milan. The toll will be based on the "pollution" caused by the vehicle - Reuters - "Milan drivers face trend-setting pollution charge". Another illogical tax. It seems that it will be quite alright for the vehicles to circle round the centre all day without paying the tax providing that they do not cross the toll cordon, whereas a vehicle that crosses the line has to pay even though it may only go a short distance. The tax is said to be aimed at "fine particulate matter" but studies elsewhere have shown that the vast bulk of this in city centres comes from vehicles which will be exempted from the tax - buses and taxis (outside city centres PM 10s mainly come from trucks).
Severn Toll - More on calls for abolition
Western Mail - "Protests as Severn Bridge tolls spiral".
Dallas Morning News - "Shift may loom in toll road debate - Push for higher gas tax could follow chief's death".
Other stories - New Hampshire - "Need to read fine print on private bridge bill" letter New Jersey - "Toll-hike town hall meeting set for Hackensack" New Jersey - "Corzine to Tour State for Plan to Cut Debt With Toll Roads".