JUNE 2010 NEWS
Wednesday 30 June 2010
More on the Bay area toll changes which kick in on Thursday - SF Bay Guardian - "Raising revenues on the backs of the East Bay/working class" SF Chronicle - "How to cross the Bay Bridge" Marin Independent Journal - "Higher bridge tolls take effect Thursday" KCBS - "Motorcyclists to Pay Bridge Tolls".
North and South - Gaston Gazette - "Bankrupt toll road in South Carolina casts doubt over Garden Parkway" WCNC - "SC toll road goes bankrupt".
Greater Greater Washington - "Is driving now cheaper than Metro? No.".
Sundry stories - Virginia - "McDonnell Proposes I-95 Tolls to Fund Improvements" Michigan - "Kane Co. may OK new Fox River bridge, and $1.50 toll" Indiana / Kentucky - "Louisville bridges may be tolled to pay for new projects" New Jersey - "Complaints against N.J. toll collectors are on the decline, officials say".
Big Blue stories
The worst cities for traffic, though the results need to be a taken with a massive "pinch" of salt - Sacremento Bee - "IBM Global Commuter Pain Study Reveals Traffic Crisis in Key International Cities".
"IBM is leading a project by the Energy Technologies Institute to analyse the impact electric vehicles might have on the UK power grid" - Green Wise - "IBM's Jon Bentley on powering our electric vehicles". Presumably the ETI / IBM report will omit to mention where the extra electricity is coming from. (The ETI by the way seems to consist of Government departments, including DfT, and six companies including BP and Shell.)
From the horse's mouth
BoE - "Why is CPI Inflation So High?" - They should know!
More on Government Carbon quango's second annual report
The Committee on Climate Change's report is now on their website, including this section on land transport -
Committee on Climate Change - "Chapter 4: Progress cutting surface transport emissions through low-carbon vehicles and alternatives to car travel" pdf.
We are pleased that they are not pushing any form of road tolls, but otherwise the report is the usual waste of paper. They could have suggested switching the emphasis from other road taxes to fuel duty but instead they suggest more use of the higher vehicle excise duty bands for vehicles that produce more CO2. It seems that the Committee don't realise that once you have paid the annual tax, there is no incentive to use less fuel.
They also back more money being given to manufacturers of electric cars and subsidies of £5,000 to individual purchasers. The Committee, like all Greens, seem not to have grasped the fact that, at the margin, the electricity generated to charge the batteries must come from non renewable sources. When the additional cost of making the vehicles and the charging structure is added in, electric vehicles are not only of limited use, they also have a bigger "carbon footprint" than a conventionally powered vehicle.
The main topic in today's PM questions was unemployment with Harriet Harman claiming that it would be going up, and the PM saying the opposite - BBC - "Forecast suggests 600,000 public sector jobs to go".
The acting Leader of the Opposition seemed to be relying on this from yesterday's Guardian - "Budget will cost 1.3m jobs - Treasury".
The PM may have been relying on the OBR who by "concidence" issued this - "OBR forecast: Employment 30 June 2010" pdf.
The OBR figures seem to be politically motivated as they do not show unemployment, only that they forecast employment to rise. The UK population is rising (by 400,000 in 2009), so over the next 5 years, both employment and unemployment may rise. Under Labour most of the jobs created went to immigrants, there is no reason to believe that it will be different over the next 5 years. Indeed it may get worse, as new jobs are likely to be lower paid and have worse conditions than those jobs that will be lost.
There is a report in today's Guardian about the ONS delaying figures - "Embarrassment for ONS as economic figures delayed".
The ONS say that a "quality check" revealed potential errors. This is the usual dodge that can affect all official data whether it be on the economy, traffic or temperatures. If the customer (the politicians) don't like the answers, then the statisticians are told to go away and "correct" the data. It is very easy to find mistakes, though of course a certain amount of skill is needed to make sure that only errors in the right direction are found.
Conning the Con
Guardian - "Boris Johnson: congestion charge confusion".
The "gridlock" that Dave Hill says will return is mainly caused by measures that he presumably backs which restrict and slows traffic.
TfL will lose income when the western Con goes, but there are other ways of getting revenue which do not have the hassle and trouble of the Con and which don't waste half the revenue in collection and enforcement.
PS More Con charge pushing from Dave Hill who doesn't seem to know that air pollution increased when the Con charge was introduced - Guardian - "Boris Johnson: clean air strategy breakdown".
Tag system may be changed to spy in the sky
Straits Times - "Call for new ERP proposals" Channel News Asia - "Satellite navigation ERP and electric cars possible on future road system".
Another report on trial removal of some tolls
Daily Yomiuri - "Toll-free expressways' economic effects unclear".
Trading roads in "communist" China
Capital Vue - "Shandong Expressway To Obtain 7.5B Yuan Of Assets".
More on Phillipines toll increases
PhilStar - "SLTC announces toll increase amidst protests".
Toll trap for tourists
Irish Central (USA) - "Tourists should not be hassled for bridge tolls".
Little more than hot air - Guardian - "Green setback for UK as British power supplied by renewable sources falls" Dept of Energy & Climate Change - Press relaese 24 June (pdf).
The statistics show how insignificant "renewables" currently are. In 2009 they made up 6.6% of electricity and 3% of all energy consumption. Only about half of these "renewables" comes from wind or water power, the rest oddly enough is from "greenhouse" gases, i.e. "landfill gas" and "other biomass".
The Government Carbon quango of lords and academics has issued its second annual report - BBC - "Advisors urge new UK climate policies" Telegraph - "UK must take radical action to meet climate change targets, watchdog warns" Guardian - "UK will miss carbon emissions targets 'unless government takes urgent action'" Committee on Climate Change - "Report (when it is released)".
Another quango, this time mainly made up of bankers, wants £550 billion spent on a Green bank with the aim of stopping CO2 - Guardian - "Government commission urges rapid setting up of Green Investment Bank" Green Investment Bank Commission - "Unlocking investment to deliver Britain’s low carbon future" pdf.
Greens are complaining that the G8 / G20 did not give enough hype to "climate change" - Voice of America - "Environmental Groups Blast G20 Summit".
Progress of America's anti-CO2 Bill - CNN - "Obama 'confident' in climate change bill's passage".
PA - "Warning over climate change 'taxes'".
A small chink in the curtain that covers the carbon trading scam - Publics (Bulgaria) - "Bulgaria suspended from U.N. Kyoto carbon trade".
Telegraph - "Inventor paints mountains white to combat climate change".
An even nuttier story - the motor racing industry say that they are going to cut down on CO2 - BBC - "Formula One embarks on carbon-cutting drive". Perhaps the first place in the race could go to the team with the lowest "CO2" - the cars could be pushed by the driver wearing an apparatus to measure how much CO2 they were breathing out!
Tuesday 29 June 2010
More on the Bay area toll changes which kick in on Thursday - Mercury News - "Higher bridge tolls just one way motorists are paying more" Inside Bay Area - "Bay Area bridge toll questions answered" Mercury News- "Carpool toll threatens popular practice".
Gaston Gazette (North Carolina) - "Bankrupt toll road in South Carolina casts doubt over Garden Parkway ".
Sundry stories - "New York City traffic congestion charge plan stalled by politics".
Minister goes to Crossing
Thurrock Gazette - "Minister visits QEII bridge".
More on the ultimate car scrappage scheme
On Saturday we commented that the speech by Raymond Lim, the Transport Minister, virtually confirmed that the ERP tolls have had little effect. Someone else has noticed this - Today - "So why are Singapore roads still congested?".
More on the arch criminals
Guardian - "Diplomatic crime sprees: foreign embassy staff exempted from charges".
Congestion charges step one - parking fees
Vietnam Net - "HCM City to collect time-based car parking fees".
Tail wags dog
iStockAnalyst - "Oil firms join clamor vs. SLEX toll increase".
Oil firms usually support tolls as it means that fuel taxes are lower than they might otherwise be, so it's strange to see them opposing tolls in this case.
Pay the "tolls" or they might take your tyres
Daily Independent - "Commercial Drivers Lament Extortion".
More on Budget
The Fabian Society say that when the effect of spending cuts is added to the efect of tax and benefit chages the poor are worst hit. One anticipated spending cut is introduction of "tolls or pay-per mile charges" to pay for roads - Mirror - "Tory budget cuts slash 22% of income from worst off.. 4% from rich".
Ups and downs
BBC - "Pound hits fresh 19-month high against euro".
All the main currencies are sick, it is just a question of which at any point in time is the least bad. Since the General Election, the pound has appreciated over 4% against the euro, but it is slightly (0.4%) down on the dollar, and nearly 7% down against the yen.
BBC - "House prices fell in May, Land Registry says" Land Registry - "House Price Index: May 2010" pdf.
Despite the fall. house prices are still up 8.2% year on year. Given the shape of the rest of the economy, inflation in house prices is a sign of a dysfunctional housing market propped up by low interest rates.
BBC - "UK to cut number of skilled workers from outside EU".
1,300 less immigrants will have no noticeable effect. Though the BMA have said that it will "leave the National Health Service without sufficient doctors to carry out its obligations". Now who is is that fought to limit the number of British people qualifying as doctors?
Last night's Panorama on the BBC was "What's Up With the Weather? By the usual editing, it gave the impression that sceptics were in fact almost 100 per cent believers in AGW. It devoted some time to the last British winter, but said that despite the snow it was "warmer than average". It also featured a car which had "zero greenhouse emissions", though that is impossible.
It gave its own version of the IPCC "hockey stick" projected on to an ice hickey pitch. The graph showed the temperature (variance from "average") from 1000 to 2000 AD. In the mids 1800s it was shown as minus 4 degrees and in 2000 as 7 degrees. As well as making up the data, it helps if you also misplace the decimal point!
The programme ended with the chief Government adviser on climate change saying "What risks are we willing to take? The average homeowner probably has fire insurance. They don't expect a fire in their home yet they are still willing to take our fire insurance because they don't want the risk.". Taking the population as a whole, insurance is a reasonably low cost way of spreading out the costs of a definite event (in 2006 there were 436,000 fires in Britain). Spending trillions on carbon sequestration, scams like carbon trading and very inefficient "renewables", is an outrageously expensive way of dealing with a problem that may not exist. Britain should focus on a problem that definitely does exist and is the principal one - stemming population growth.
A more neutral view - Climate Skeptic - "Catastrophe Denied" audio with embeded slide show.
Many sceptics accept some of the fundamental planks of AGW though they have doubts about the overall position, here are a couple of reminders that there are some that believe the AGW house is built on straw -
The Stefan-Boltzmann formula is used to calculate what in theory the temperature of a body is. For the Earth without "greenhouse gases" it gives a temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius. This paper, published a month ago, casts doubts on whether the formula accounts for the observed temperatures on real bodies including the Earth - I love my carbon dioxide - "A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?".
As well as the dispute over what the base temperature of the Earth would be without any "greenhouse gas" effect, there is a long running dispute on one of the AGW pillars - whether the greenhouse gas effect is consistent with thermodynamic laws - Climate Realists - "Why conventional Greenhouse Theory Violates the 1st Law of Thermodynamics".
Monday 28 June 2010
Increases to the tolls that were supposed to be abolished
Global Times - "Belated Web uproar over toll increases".
Details of the Bay area toll changes which kick in on Thursday - SF Chronicle - "Toll changes may lead to tie-ups on Bay Bridge" lots of comments NBC - "Tolls Going Up This Week".
Another toll in financial trouble - Business Wire - "Fitch Downgrades $115.9MM Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Auth (FL) Revs to 'C'".
Sundry stories - Maine - "Traffic patterns: Maine Turnpike Authority chief is unruffled by controversies" California - "Officials commission report to gauge if drivers will use 91 toll lanes in Corona".
Diplomatic staff not paying the Con are compared with those enaged in human trafficking
Evening Standard - "Foreign envoys escape trial for ‘serious crimes’ thanks to immunity rules" AP - "US tops list of unpaid London traffic toll fees".
Trial removal of tolls (on about 20 per cent of expressways) started today
Mainichi Daily News - "Multiple expressway sections made toll-free nationwide".
PSThe Government Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism have said that in the first 12 hours, traffic increased by 63 percent on the now toll free sections compared with a week earlier. Daily Yomiuri - "Toll-free expressways, but at what price?" Japan Times - "Toll-free highway trials start"
FT interviews Transport Secretary, who gives nothing away
"Transport secretary battles to keep projects on track".
Tolls reduced on empty tunnel
Sydney Morning Herald - "Shades of Sydney as motorists fail to see benefit of new Brisbane tunnel" The Australian - "Clem7 operator slashes road toll" Sydney Morning Herald - "Tolls slashed again for unpopular Clem7" Brisbane Times - "Clem7 toll slashed to $2".
Advantage taken of barrier-less tolling
Daily Telegraph - "Millions in tolls unpaid".
Based on past experience it will be the Australian women who are plucky enough to defy the trolls.
VAT threat gone (or is it?
Irish Examiner - "NRA agrees to absorb exttra VAT charges".
The unanswered question is how will the private financers of these roads still make a profit if the Government pockets part of the toll as VAT?
PS A story which seems to contradict the previous one, but though it is published later it may be older - Herald - "Planned 21pc toll hike adds insult to injury - AA".
Update on Phillipines toll increases
Manila Times - "VAT to push toll even higher".
"National" side lose
Sport24 - "Germany sweep England aside" Mirror - "90 minutes of misery: How England's 4-1 humilation against Germany played out" Telegraph - "World Cup 2010: World reaction to England's defeat".
If it had not been for a disallowed goal, England might have gone on to beat Germany, but their overall performance in the World Cup has been dismal. Though perhaps England gets what it deserves from its "National" side. For a start, the teams have as their "National Anthem" a song which is a plea to God to save the monarch. Originally the monarch was George II, and he was being saved from the Jacobites. By coincidence the King that was to be saved had been born in Germany.
It is perhaps appropriate that England does not have a real national anthem, as the England team manager until recently could not speak English. The top clubs in the Premier League are dominated by players who are not eligible to play for the "National" side and most of the top clubs are foreign owned. At the end of the 2009/2010 season the ownership of the top ten clubs was -
Chelsea - Russian, Man United - American, Arsenal - American / Russian, Tottenham - English, Man City - United Arab Emirates, Villa - American, Liverpool - American, Everton - English, B'ham City - Hong Kong, Blackburn - English.
Sunday 27 June 2010
Old toll to be resurrected
Derby Evening Telegraph - "Bell tolls for free bridge use".
As far as we know there is no statutory toll on this road. If the local authority wanted to stop this toll then they could easily do so, for a start they could threaten to erect their own toll on the public highway immediately oustide this road which it is claimed is private. But pigs will fly before any authority helps drivers.
A new tale
Kent OnLine - "Hi-tech tolls to end Dartford Crossing queues woe".
When in oposition, the transport minister was strongly opposed to the tolls. Now that he is in Government it appears that he does not want to carry on with the previous Government's deceit - that the tolls were there to reduce congestion. Instead it seems that we are now to have open road tolling. Such barrierless schemes rely on 99% of drivers being malleable and backup camera systems and heavy penalties for those who aren't. It will be interesting to see if the Government or whoever they may sell the crossing to, will be prepared to take the risk that a lot of British (and foreign drivers) may not be tame pussy cats.
The PFI / PPP scam
Chronicle Herald - "Economist condemns P3 projects: Loxley sheds light on murky world of public/private partnerships".
Soon after he was appointed, the new Chancellor told the FT that he would clean up PFI by bringing it back into the public spending accounts. He has said no more about it, and it seems certain that the Government will continue with the scam, which was started by Norman Lamont, in the 1992 Autumn Budget Statement, and vastly expanded under Labour.
Straits Times - "Civil servants sacked".
Which is stranger - toll officials being sacked or Australians who are not eager to hand over toll money?
Sundry stories - California - "Bridges to cost $1 more to cross" California - "Bay Area bridge tolls climb higher" Florida - "Toll road tough sell for funding parkway" Georgia - "Toll authority cracking down on deadbeats in Ga. 400 cash lanes".
In Bangalore - Deccan Herald - "Paid parking or road pricing?".
In Kochi (Cochin) - Hindu Business Line - "Transport roadmap for Kochi".
Bit more on VAT threat
Breaking News - "VAT on M50 toll would add insult to injury, says AA".
A rather late reaction from the AA, as this was announced over two weeks ago, and EU law requires VAT to be added to privately operated tolls.
Train Operating Companies are worried that Governemt will back bad schemes
Mercury - "Rail firms call for review ahead of expected cuts".
Though the taxpayer pays for a large chunk of rail spending, the companies are worried that they may have to try and recover some of the cost of these poor value for money schemes from passengers.
Get on yer bike
Mercury - "Duncan Smith considers incentives to relocate jobless".
Let's hope that the roads don't become crowded with cyclists! Jobless people moving to areas where there is currently work will create problems if the area is crowded. Perversely one of the reasons that those areas will be crowded is because most immigrants will tend to locate in areas where there is work and where there are already immigrants. If we had a lot less immigration, then there would be less crowding and more chance that either employers or British workers would move.
Saturday 26 June 2010
Possible return of Kewstoke toll
Mercury - "Toll would be 'unfair to Weston'".
This toll was indefinitely suspended in 2005 as it cost too much to collect and possibly because of concerns for safety of the toll collectors. Some residents want the toll brought back to discourage outsiders from using the road.
ABC - "Raising gas tax may have some advantages" video.
The former Transportation Secretary may be supporting increased gas taxes, but while working for George Bush he was officially pushing tolls and roads privatization.
As is usual with stories like this, it concludes that the use of gas taxes should only be temporary as the use of petroleum is declining, so you will need - "tolls, public private funding, pay-for-use express lanes". The point that for many reasons you will for the forseeable future want to encourage less use of petroleum is ignored.
Jakarta Post - "Congestion pricing scheme for Jakarta".
The writer suggests that the Jakarta system should be made easier than the Singapore one, and doesn't understand that complexity and difficulty in paying are the main ways that these schemes have an effect on traffic. The writer does not say whether the people of Jakarta are as easily controlled as those of Singapore. Without this element a tag and camera system will quickly collapse into anarchy.
The ultimate car scrappage scheme
Today - "The Big Story - A question of supply and demand: Transport Minister Raymond Lim on balancing car ownership and the need to keep traffic flowing".
Anyone who has ever looked at our description of the ERP system will know that the tolls have little effect and that drivers in Singapore use their car far more than drivers in Britain. A figure which, according to the Minister, will over the next ten years grow by another 60 per cent.
BBC - "Interim cap on non-EU migrant workers coming to UK".
Most immigrants come from the EU, and it is unlikely that anything the Goverment will do will have much effect on the 600,000 who move to Britain each year or on the increased number of births due to immigrants.
"Business leaders" say that controlling immigration could harm the economy. The truth is that adding to the population reduces the well being of those that are already suffering from an inadequate provision of assets such as houses and roads.
G8 Muskoka Initiative
Vancouver Sun - "Leaders approve maternal health initiative" UNICEF - "Statement by UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, welcoming the G8 Muskoka Initiative on maternal, newborn and under-five child health".
Over the five years of this plan to help mothers, there will be about 770 million births and a net increase in population of nearly 400 million.
Another 5 years
BBC - "Cameron wants troops home from Afghanistan by 2015".
Britain and America started bombing Afghanistan in October 2001, and by the end of 2001 they had succeeded in helping the Northern based rebels in defeating the Government. If Britain is to stay there for another 5 years, we will have been engaged for 14 years - longer than both world wars combined.
Another programme coming up in the BBC's efforts to convince a sceptical public - "What's Up With the Weather?".
Weather Action commenting on recent world weather - News No22 (24th June).
More on the upper atmosphere - Updated News - "Absence of sunspots make scientists wonder if they're seeing a calm before a storm of energy".
More on whether the new PNM in Oz is a true beleiever - Sydney Morning Herald - "How Abbott found an unexpected ally over climate change in the Gang of Four".
James Delingpole v. George Monbiot - Telegraph - "Moonbat + Amazongate = Prize Pillock".
The wider (non) debate - Cambridge Scientific Alliance - "Politics, scientific credibility and environmental policymaking".
Telegraph - "Japanese told to go to bed an hour early to cut carbon emissions".
If going to bed early leads to more births, then you have swapped a theoretical problem for a real one.
Friday 25 June 2010
Buses doing well
A report commissioned by the DfT into the bus industry which indicates that they are making bigger profits than expected - DfT - "Review of Bus profitability in England" pdf.
It is amazing how small the bus industry is - only £4 billion of revenues.
Blow to Indian trolls
BBC - "India to scrap petrol subsidies" Hindustan Times - "Govt hikes fuel prices, runs into opposition" Economic Times - "Fuel price decision to make country efficient".
Greens want the Mayor to keep the Western Con
Mayor Watch - "London exceeds air pollution targets".
Air pollution does not keep out of artificial boundaries, and PM10s are mainly not created by road transport, and the part that is road transport in the centre of cities mainly comes from buses, taxis and lorries. Cars (from fuel combustion, brake wear and tyre wear) are only responsible for about 8% of PM10s in England.
Seven days a week
Daily Telegraph - "Sydney's week-long peak hour ".
Bust - Greenville News - "Southern Connector goes bankrupt" SF Chronicle - "Connector 2000 Association Files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy".
Despite new toll roads finding difficulty in getting finance Investment U is pushing them - "This is One Tax We Need to Raise".
Sundry stories - Indiana / Kentucky - "Tolling scenario outlined at KIPDA meeting" Texas - "Proposal to extend Texas 360 gets mixed reviews" Tennessee - "Orange Route axed, TDOT official says" "North Carolina jumps on I-95 toll bandwagon".
Oregon - "Poll: More drivers will take transit with 520 bridge tolls" California - "Solo drivers can soon pay to enter I-680 carpool lanes" California - "One Week Warning: Tolls Going Up".
More on Portugese Government wants to toll motorways
Portugal News on Line - "Motorways take their toll".
South African tolls sop for bikers
News24 - "Gauteng toll: Bikers may pay less".
The Press - "York transport chiefs to draw up plans to ease traffic gridlock".
Truro Daily News - "Peaceful protest".
More Polish tolls
The News - "For whom the toll tolls".
More on new South African tolls
Jacaranda - "Motorists to cough up for road upgrades".
Bit more on Welsh politicians promised easier tolls extortion
South Wales Argus - "Severn Bridge card payments ready ‘before Ryder Cup’".
This version has Norman Baker saying that "he did not expect the planned VAT increase to 20 per cent be passed on to users of the bridge." He is misleading the MPs, as the VAT going to the Government reduces the net income to the concessionaire and means that bridge users have to pay tolls for longer.
Thursday 24 June 2010
Welsh politicians promised easier tolls extortion
Western Mail - "Promise over card payment on bridge".
No off peak offers
BC Local - "Cars won't get off-peak discount on tolled Port Mann".
The reason given by the Transportation Ministry for no off peak reduction for cars was that it would not reduce peak period congestion "because commuters have little choice on when they travet".
Disable pay for "inefficient administrative procedure"
Croatian Times - "Administrative setbacks in ensuring toll-free roads for persons with disabilities".
Latest DfT Stats
DfT - "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain Main Results: 2009".
Traffic was down slightly for the second year on the run - DfT - "Road Statistics 2009: Traffic, Speeds and Congestion" (links to data on the right).
Bonuses as usual in Britain's subdidised Rail business
BBC - "Network Rail bonuses criticised by transport minister".
More on something old, something borrowed, something blue
The Budget, apart from the VAT rise, seemed more like a Lib Dem or even a Labour budget, so the effects are surprising, particularly when the effect of what Labour had already announced is taken into account - Guardian - "Budget will hit poor harder than rich, according to IFS report" IFS - "Personal taxes and distributional impact of budget measures".
UK Pop up 400,000 in one year
BBC - "UK population rises to almost 62m, ONS says".
As is usual, the increase is said by the ONS to be mainly due to births rather than immigration, but this ignores the fact that a very high proportion of births are to familes that migrated to the UK in the last two generations.
The Oz PM who backed down on carbon trading threat is replaced - Guardian - "Gillard cautious on climate change".
Despite the headline the new PM in her first speech said that "I believe in climate change. I believe human beings contribute to climate change." It seems that the change in PM means that Australia is now the same as other countries, it is has a leader that talks the talk but will not threaten to lead their country first over the top.
George Monbiot accuses "deniers" - Guardian - "Sunday Times throws scientific caution to wind with 'Amazongate' hatchet job".
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Bit more on Budget
When the Chancellor listed various asset sales yesterday, he did not mention the sale of the Dartford Crossing that had been planned by Labour. This looked like an oversight, but may have been deliberate - Kent OnLine - "Crossing sale put on hold in emergency budget".
Portland Mercury - "CRC Won't Toll I-205, Expert Accidentally Calls New Tolling Plan "Stupid."" inc video.
Sundry stories - Texas - "DOT OKs $1.465B for LBJ Freeway in Dallas" Georgia - "State Study Looks at $1 Tolls on GA 400, Candidate for Governor Vows No GA 400 Tolls" Georgia - "Nathan Deal gives Ga. 400 tolls a place in GOP race for governor".
Coalition accused of Budget Con
BBC - "Budget: Harman says government 'not being straight'".
One member of MPC breaks ranks
BBC - "Bank of England member votes for interest rate rise" BofE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting 9 And 10 June 2010" pdf.
Truckers complain about illegal tolls
Telegraph (Calcutta) - "Truckers at PC door over tollgate ‘tax’ ".
Phillipines toll increase delayed
Manila Times - "SLEX toll rate hike deferred to July 7".
More on something old, something borrowed, something blue
BBC - "Budget: Osborne rejects Labour 'carping from sideline'".
One of yesterday's announcements was that variouis benefits or pensions that are currently linked to RPI will be instead linked to CPI. The main difference is that the CPI excludes housing costs, so this suggests that the Chancellor expects housing costs inflation to exceed other inflation. Yesterday the Governor of the Bank of England indicated that he would do whatever was necessary to ensure growth. This can only mean that he plans to create more inflation.
FT - "Plans for climate change levy delayed".
More proof that it's getting hotter - Washington Post - "2010: Warmest spring on record for Washington D.C.". The Washington metropolitan area has a population of 5.4 million and has been growing at an annual rate of over two per cent, largely due to immigration. It would be surprising if it was not getting warmer.
More on scientists who believe are far more numerous and more respected than the doubters - James Delingpole in Telegraph - "'Climate change sceptics have smaller members, uglier wives, dumber kids' says new study made up by warmists" Scientific American - "Experto Crede: Climate Expertise Lacking among Global Warming Contrarians" CBS - "Climate Change Researchers: Not all Expertise is Equal" pdf.
View on AGW from an engineer (of sub orbital planes) - "An Engineer's Critique of Global Warming 'Science'" pdf.
Tuesday 22 June 2010
Tolls reduced to try and increase traffic
Straits Times - "Lower tolls on Second Link".
Something old, something borrowed, something blue
BBC - "Budget: Osborne's 'tough' package puts VAT up to 20%" Direct Gov - Treasury Budget 2010 (pdf) HM Treasury - all the Budget 2010 docs.
Much of the Chancellor's speech had been given to the press before it was read out to MPs. The overall impression is that the tax and benefit changes (apart from the VAT rise) were largely Lib Dem inspired, and though there will be lots of winners and losers, their overall effect will be small and the big economic impact will be from the public spending cuts.
One of the "announcements" that the Chancellor boasted of was potentially improved pensions through the "triple lock" - "With this coalition Government pensioners will have the income to live with dignity in retirement"; though this possibly notional gain is more than offset by increase in pension age. The Chancellor though cutting some family benefits (particularly for those on higher incomes), announced a big increase in the each child element of child tax credit costing two billion pounds, and that certain other credits would only be given were there was at least one child under five years old, presumably designed to make sure that Britain gets even more crowded.
The Chancellor said how important infrastructure was, by which he appears to mean spending on railways and trams. There was nothing in the speech about tolls though the Budget report refers to "attracting private sector investment in the UK’s infrastructure". We will have to wait and see what happens.
The Chancellor mentioned the fuel price regulator and also the possibility of reduced fuel tax rates for those living ouside the cities, but made no commitment.
PS On Capital Gains Tax, the Chancellor said that it was too complicated to bring back either the inflation indexing or the taper relief to offset his increase in the tax rate. Instead the threatened rise from 18% to 40% is now to 28% and the rise will only apply to higher rate tax payers - Telegraph - "Budget 2010: CGT rise to hit investors' pockets". The Chancellor's remarks confirm that fairness has gone out of the window, and the new regime will act as a spur for wealthier people to sink even more money into their first home (which remains exempt from any tax) and reduce other, potentially real, investments in the economy. It is also a sign that equally unfair and uneconomic Lib Dem proposals for road pricing may eventually be Coalition policy.
One way not to dash through the tolls - NBC - "Car Cannonballs Over DFW Airport Tollbooth" video.
Sundry stories - California - "Toll Violators Face DMV Hold".
California - "Legislators unite against practice of charging tolls for ride-sharers" Virginia - "Second public hearing on George Washington Toll Road Authority scheduled tonight before Fredericksburg City Council" Louisiana - "Lawmakers grant Grand Isle residents free ride over new bridge after first paying for tag" California - "The Bridge Isn't Built, But the Bike Path Might Be Moving" "California Assembly acts to close red-light camera, toll loophole" Texas - "Construction begins to remove Dallas North Tollway booths".
Bit more on tags on the tolls that were supposed to be abolished
Global Times - "Drivers offered half-price electronic toll devices".
"You, your car, and climate change"
It seems that the answer to reducing CO2 is congestion charging - National Environment Research Council.
Traffic update on new bridge
The Province - "Drivers not paying the price for new bridge".
"An interesting concept"
Stuff - "Traffic congestion toll still on cards".
Land of Two Tolls
Middletown Press - "Probe looks into truckers’ ‘tolls’ in Afghanistan".
The official tolls in Afghanistan are based on the vignette sytsem, i.e. you need a special sticker to use the "toll roads". We don't know to what extent this official system is enforced. According to the Afghanistan Revenue Department (Introducing a Road Toll System in Afghanistan pdf) - "The Ministry of Finance Road Toll is the only legitimate government road toll in Afghanistan. Do not make payments to anyone for using the roads, other than to purchase a valid decal.".
More sound and fury
BBC - "Budget: Tough tax rises and spending cuts expected".
Accouding to the OBR set up by the Coalition, the forecast of the public sector deficit has gone down and the GDP growth forecast has also gone down. That would tend to mean that cuts in public spending and tax rises should not be implemented quickly. But the political game means that is just what we will get, though the size of them may not be significant (for the economy as a whole - some people and organisations will feel the pain) as the Coalition is according to its Budget leaks, going to proceed with various giveaways including an income tax reduction costing five billion pounds.
The most significant aspect will not be the overall budget, but the indication as to who the winners and losers will be over the next five years. If Business Green are to be believed, businesses are queuing up to throw themselves under the wheels of the AGW juggernaut - "Businesses urge Osborne to step up green tax plans".
The Sun may be on the wane and it seems that "the sunspot bonanza of the last century is over" - Washington Post - "Scientists find a big drop in the strength of solar magnetic fields" PhysOrg - "Team Observes Record-Low Densities in Upper Atmosphere".
Scientists who believe are far more numerous and more respected than the doubters - BBC - "Study examines scientists' 'climate credibility'" Telegraph - "Climate change sceptic scientists 'less prominent and authoritative'" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - "Expert credibility in climate change" pdf.
This paper does not refer to AGW but to "ACC" or "anthropogenic climate change". Can they not agree that it is getting warmer?
Monday 21 June 2010
Best union in Britain
BBC - "GP waiting time target 'scrapped'".
The last Government made it easy for GPs to earn well over £100,000 despite extensive cuts in the hours they were supposed to be available. The targets that GPs were given in order to earn their maximum pay, were probably easy to fiddle, but if there are to be no targets then the BMA will have to work even harder at stopping new entrants to this pay elite.
Sundry stories - Florida - "Cape resident says city not taking toll cut" Massachusetts - "On Big Dig, governor's race is an overdue moment of truth".
Sunday Express - "Foreign Lorries Will Be Charged To Use British Roads".
More on Tolls uncertainty
Daily Yomiuri - "Yellow lights flashing on toll-free plan".
Another problem with the empty toll tunnel
Courier-Mail - "Clem7 overcharges utility driver for 'commercial vehicle'".
Sydney tolls increase
Daily Telegraph - "Toll owners raise fees".
PFI in India
Himacahal Live - "PPP as a solution for efficiency and performance?".
Phillipine toll increase may be delayed
Inquirer - "Let Aquino decide on SLEx toll hike–Palace ".
Guardian - "10:10 campaigners push to keep summer time all year round".
Yesterday the Europhobic Sunday Express was also backing a call to "bring British time in line with mainland Europe" with "Double Summer Time" in the summer and single Summer time in the winter - "Government Is Considering Lighter Evenings All Year Round".
Most of Britain lies west of the Greenwich meridian, and a switch to Central European Time from GMT would mean that for most people in the summer, midday would come just over two hours later than it would based on natural local time. Most people want to lie in bed in the mornings and any all year round tinkering with the clock will just mean that there is pressure for the opening hours for schools, shops and work to be pushed back.
BBC - "Ridge clue to Antarctic ice loss".
As is usual with most of these stories about Antarctica melting, what is not said is that the warming is only in part of Antarctica, for most of the last two decades, 70% of the continent seems to have been getting colder.
PS The Register - "Antarctic glacier melt maybe 'not due to climate change'".
The end is nigh - MSNBC - "Oceans choking on CO2, study finds".
Apology to believers - NY Times - "British Newspaper Apologizes to Climate Scientist".
Guardian - "Manufacturers appeal for simplified carbon tax".
The simplest thing that they could do is remove it as it is a largely cosmetic tax raising less than one billion pounds a year towards the 700 billion pounds that the Government is spending.
Saturday 19 June 2010
Florida Times-Union - "Reader feedback: Taxes for roads?".
Sundry stories - New Jersey - "Exit 17 interchange on the Atlantic City Expressway is open — but get your E-ZPasses ready" Texas - "Construction on cashless toll booths to begin on Dallas North Tollway June 21" California - "Toll Increase Coming to Bridge Near You".
Inflation fuel diminishing, for now
Though the Bank of England is succeeding in its unofficial target (which is to create house and other price inflation), there has been a bit of a mystery for the last few months as though the Bank is achieving its aims, it is despite the extra money leaking out somehow - BofE - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending): May 2010".
The Bank, not realising that the alocholic has passed out, may decide that it can keep him drinking by giving him more cheap liquor. The Bank's base rate is already down to almost zero, and the Government has said that it will cut its spending, so we may see the bank printing even more money.
Friday 18 June 2010
Examiner - "Say it ain't so...'Road user fee' to be tacked onto property tax bill?".
Washington Times - "Editorial: Nickel-and-diming commuters".
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Turnpike Worker Accused of Stealing Toll Money" Georgia - "I-85 Tolling Project Gets Green Light" some comments New Jersey - "New AC Expressway Exit's Toll Set At $3" New Hampshire - "Zippity-do-dah; I-95 high speed E-ZPass lanes open in Hampton" DC / Virginia - "What new HOT lanes mean for Va." letters Texas - "Cintra says LBJ financing 'completed'" "Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to begin $27.6 million in projects on toll roads".
BBC - "Dartford Crossing protest over sell-off proposal".
Study suggests a Bournemouth Con
From Daily Echo - "Is congestion charging the answer to area's traffic problems?" "The plight of the charge brigade" "Congestion charging factfile".
The study is being paid for by the Borough of Poole, Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council, the Highways Agency, the Regional Development Agency and the Government.
PS Theme D BBC - "Congestion charge plans for Dorset unveiled".
New toll road troubles rumble on
Inside Costa Rica - "Autopistas Losing ¢9.1 Million Daily In Tolls From Road Closure".
Portugese Government wants to toll motorways
Portugal News on Line - "Government looks to charge tolls on Algarve motorway".
Tags on the tolls that were supposed to be abolished
Shanghai Daily - "Toll discounts for drivers with e-tags".
Jakarta Post - "Explanation of proposed road pricing plan needed".
Department for Education - "Michael Gove outlines process for setting up Free Schools".
"Free" means of course paid for by the taxpayers. As this policy will lead to more schools, it will mean that either taxes have to rise or that resources are diverted from somewhere else. That priority is given to such a daft policy does not augur well for what the Coalition will dabble in next.
Salem witch trial
BBC - "Congress tells Hayward BP ignored oil well dangers" CNN - "BP executive failed to answer questions, lawmakers say".
A Republican on the Committee referred to BP being subject to a "shakedown", and the Americans have briefly turned their venom on him, though at least he is not in danger of being lynched because he has an English accent.
Modern "science" - BBC - "Ancient climate change 'link' to CO2" National Science Foundation - "Interview with Dr. Timothy Herbert explains his research" video.
Analysing three million year's worth of mud from the southern hemisphere to come to the conclusion that climate changes were largely global is merely a waste of time. The conclusion that these temperature changes were due to changes in the level of CO2 is one that seems to have no evidence to support it.
Note that as usual with AGW advocates the term "Ice Ages" is used instead of "glacial periods", this obscures the fact that we are still in an Ice Age - which started at about the point that this "research" goes back to.
Scientists say that because of AGW, the winters in "Europe, Asia and parts of North America" will be colder with a lot more snow - Inter Press Service - "Polar Heat Bringing Harder Winters".
Most reports say that there is a LOT less ice in the Arctic, here is an exception - Vancouver Sun - "Arctic ice scan dispels meltdown: study".
A sceptical view of greens - Canada Free Press - "Gagging on Green Garbage".
British politicians urge the spending of more billions on "carbon capture" - Guardian - "Gas power stations 'should have carbon capture'".
Will they, won't they in America - CNN - "Senate Democrats struggle with climate change legislation" NY Times - "White House Seeks to Bolster Role in Senate Climate Talks".
Two leading AGW apostles win prizes - Guardian - "UK government's environment adviser wins major international green award".
Thursday 17 June 2010
FTA "open minded" on truck tolls
FTA - "Fuel tax needs urgent reform, FTA tells Treasury".
Natural Resources Defense Council - "Dumping the Pump".
The NRDC, with one million members including movie stars, is one of America's greenest groups. They have the usual delusion that buses and mass transit don't rely on gas and as is usual they seem to be influenced by trolls. Instead of advocating higher gas taxes to meet their aim of reducing "greenhouse gas emissions", they want "road pricing". In previous statements they have even suggested that the gas tax be replaced with tolls that vary "according to fuel ecomony to reward the purchase of more efficient vehicles"
Sundry stories - Georgia - "Tolls Coming to HOV Lanes of I-85 in Gwinnett" video New Hampshire - "Officials tout toll plaza as lanes officially open" New Jersey - "Toll exit off Atlantic City Expressway for airport opens" Georgia - "HOV toll lane project goes to bid".
BBC - "Coalition government axes £2bn of projects" Treasury press notice (pdf).
There are no roads schemes cancelled, but there is one "suspended" - the A14.
Trolls meeting in Toronto
A gathering to see how more money can be taken from drivers - Transport Futures - "Road Pricing & Leadership Summit".
Latest DfT Stats
DfT - "Bus (inc Light Rail) Statistics" (England only).
Not much use, as light rail is lost in other figures, and they seem to have stopped collecting stats for the number of passeger journeys on non local sevices back in 1990. For none of the years do they indicate the average journey length per passenger, so when comparing the trend in passenger journies with the trend in bus miles, it is not possible to tell whether changes are due to differences in bus loading or in length of a passenger journey. But for what it's worth in 1960 there were 6.2 passenger journies per local bus mile, in 1997 it was 2.7 and now it is 3.1.
DfT - "Core Accessibility Indicators".
In plain English, these stats show how difficult it is get to work, schools, shops etc by various modes. Not surprisingly it is easiest by car.
Highway movie data base
Telegraph - "Government vehicle surveillance database storing 250 journeys for every motorist".
Reward for incompetence
The Governor is to be given more power to steer the SS Great Britain on to the rocks - BBC - "Osborne gives Bank of England top regulatory role" BofE - "Mervyn King, Governor Of The Bank Of England, At the Lord Mayor’s Banquet for Bankers and Merchants of the City of London at the Mansion House on Wednesday 16 June 2010" pdf.
America loots BP
The Americans are seeing red and green, they want blood and as much money as they can grab - BBC - "US Congress set to grill BP chief Tony Hayward" CNN - "Democrat: Lawmakers going to take Hayward's 'hide off'" NY Times - "With Criminal Charges for Oil Spill, Costs to BP Could Soar".
The rig and most of the other companies involved in the oil rig accident were American owned. The Americans have to some extent hampered the operations to mop up the oil because of the Jones act which protects American workers and companies from competition. It is a pity that Britain seems to be incapable of looking after the interests of British companies, it seems that they are all doomed to be either robbed or be taken over by foreign pirates.
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Deputy PM pushing road tolls?
Cambs 24 - "A14 could become toll road".
The Government collects about one hundred thousand pounds a minute from drivers, so the £1.2 million which they can't afford to spend on the road, is what they "earn" in just 12 minutes.
PS The "million" quoted by the paper should probably have been "billion". £1.2 billion would take a bit longer to get from drivers - 8days!
Grimsby Telegraph - "Slow traffic on A180 caused by bridge survey".
The survey was presumably arranged by the previous Government who had said that they were looking at removing tolls. The new Coalition will be moving towards more tolls, so this survey is a waste of time, unless there is some ulterior motive.
Employment - spin it as you wish
BBC - "UK unemployment increases to 2.47 million" ONS - "Labour market statistics June 2010" pdf Guardian - "Unemployment: what the experts say".
SeaCoast Online - "Open-road tolling reopens Thursday in Hampton" Press Herald - "Our View: New Hampshire
debuts a toll system that works".
The biggest wonder of etolls is that it is claimed to substantially reduce problems that the trolls never admit to before they have spent millions on new systems and persuaded drivers to be tagged and filmed.
Sundry stories - North Carolina - "Toll road idea gains traction for I-95" North Carolina - "Road Ahead Likely to Include Tolls" DC / Maryland - "The true cost of driving the Dulles Greenway" letter.
Tolls no guarantee of good roads
Narinjara - "Transportation Hindered on Major Road in Arakan". Adam Smith and John McAdam would agree!
More on topsy turvy tolls
It is clear that the Japanese Government has abandoned the promise to remove tolls, but some trials are to go ahead - Japan Times - "37 highways to test going toll-free".
Some previous trials were a farce as drivers still had to queue at the toll booths. In any case, those with a financial interest will make sure that these trials will be considered a failure and the burden will not be shifted from tolls to a gas tax.
"Research and education for the Common Good"
For a change the latest toll pushing is not in Ontairo but in Alberta from the Parkland Institute who's motto is "Research and education for the Common Good". They favour user charges rather than taxes, and on roads they say that the gas tax does not cover the costs of roads and the "externalities" including "greenhouse gas emissions". Their solution is, of course, not a higher gas tax, but tolls on most roads - Calgary Sun - "Calgary road tolls urged" Parkland Institute - "No Free Lunch: Financing the Priorities of Calgarians" pdf.
Two more from Canada
BCLocal - "Golden Ears Bridge a year old".
BCLocal - "Apply tolls fairly" letter.
"We will make BP pay"
The American revolution continues, the President declares war, though no tea has been dumped in the sea yet - New York Times - "With Call to Arms, Obama Seeks to Shift Arc of Oil Crisis" CNN - "Obama, BP set for Gulf oil showdown" CBS News - transcript of the President's speech ABC News - "Obama: BP Will Pay for Its 'Recklessness'" lot of comments.
Who was it that said "the debate is over?" BBC - "Climate panel chief welcomes climate debate".
The answer to the question is the IPCC and millions of other AGW advocates. The phrases "climate change" and the "debate is over" produce nearly two million hits on Google. The credit for the first use of the phrase seems to be President Clinton speaking in the summer of 1997 at the time the Kyoto protocol was being drawn up.
New Scientist - "What's wrong with the sun?".
ABC (Oz) - "Whale poo fights climate change: study".
Tuesday 15 June 2010
Wearing the hair shirt again
BBC - "PM says sorry over Bloody Sunday".
According to the BBC - "Thirteen people were killed when Parachute Regiment soldiers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry on 30 January, 1972.". The British soldiers lied about the shooting, according to Lord Saville and the other two judges, who presided over the Inquiry.
It is plausible that soldiers who thought that they were under fire were reckless in shooting at where they thought the firing was coming from and that as a result unarmed people were killed. But the judgement goes a lot further than this, so has the BBC got any film of the soldiers opening fire on the march? And if there is this clear proof , then why did the Inquiry take so long to reach its conclusions?
Some of the events that were happening 38 years ago and which are not the subjects of Inquiries, were - the ongoing American war in Indo China which resulted in millions of deaths in North and South Vietnam and in Cambodia, the massacre of over 100,000 Hutus in Burundi and the ongoing Portugese Colonial war in Angola and Mozambique.
PS Comments in the House of Commons 38 years ago when the first discredited Inquiry report was released - Hansard - "Northern Ireland (Widgery Tribunal Report)".
The green angle
One possible reason that the President and others are treating the Gulf oil spill as the biggest disaster ever is because of the Bill that they are trying to get through Congress - Voice of America - "Obama Urges Congress to Enact New Climate Law".
Tonight the President will address the nation on the oil spill. Let's hope that he does not declare war on Britain, as the British forces may be confused as to who's side they would be on!
PS "It wuz me" so we have to "bike to work, plant a garden, do something" - NY Times - "This Time Is Different".
If America wants to reduce oil consumption, then logically this would mean higher gas taxes, which would either be offset by reducing other charges and taxes or used to reduce the astronomic Government budget deficit. Instead all Americans are likely to see are the usual crooks (at home and overseas) being subsidised to run inefficient energy alternatives and deal in carbon trading scams. These measures will have little effect on oil consumption and will add to the deficit.
Inflation (CPI) "only" 3.4%
BBC - "UK inflation fell to 3.4% in May but stays above target" ONS - "Consumer price indices : May 2010".
With the older RPI index showing inflation of 5.1%, while interest rates are almost nil, the Governor of the Bank of England must be due for a pay rise.
The RPIX index is usually close to the CPI as they both exclude mortgage interest. In April the RPIX is more in line with RPI, possibly becuase they both include Council tax increases, and the CPI doesn't.
NewsWeek - "Paving the Way for Profits : Why America's public highways are becoming private property".
A bridge for cyclists - paid for by driver's tolls - iStockAnalyst - "Officials plan bridge over Sir Francis Drake Boulevard for bikers and walkers in Larkspur".
Sundry stories - North Carolina - "Transportation secretary: State seriously considering I-95 tolls" California - "Tolls going up but service gets worse" letter "North Texas Woman Unknowingly Owed $11k To NTTA" Washington State - "New regional transportation plan charts responsible strategy" California - "Take a drive on bold idea highway, at your expense".
Joe - "Additional electronic tagging services get green light".
Tolls temporarily lifted due to congestion
Vietnam News - "Traffic jams twin bridge in HCM City for hours".
Going by the picture the "traffic" is nearly all bikes and buses.
Phillipines VAT addition to be rushed through
Manila Times - "Tax bureau rushes road toll VAT ahead of Aquino govt".
One of the first Coalition promises was to raise state pensions "by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%" (under existing law the annual increase in state and public sector pensions is tied to RPI, though in some years Labour has raised the state pension (not public sector) by 2.5% if that was more than inflation). The Coalition are now hinting that they will cut back on public sector (not state) pensions - BBC - "Public sector pension costs 'to double in five years'".
There is no logic in all this, as many public sector pensions are funded. The proportion funded would be even higher, but the Government in most cases - including civil servants, teachers and police - treats the pension contributions as revenue instead of putting them into a fund. What we need is a reform of all pensions, as part of which all the state, public sector and private sector pensions should all be part of one united, consistent and funded system.
Monday 14 June 2010
CBS - "Obama Compares Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill to 9/11".
Given that America has enough nuclear and other WMD to destroy the world several times over, it is worrying to see the mania that this oil spill has caused.
Apart from the President's remarks, there is a mass boycott of gas stations that use the BP logo, and some senators are virtually saying that the "British -BP" have been bribing the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service to let it get away with unsafe practices.
Perhaps someone should remind the American public of how many people have been killed and are still being killed because of their military actions in Indo China and elsewhere. Someone might also mention the leak from the American owned Bhopal pesticide plant which affected hundreds of thousands of people with at least several thousand dying.
Going down - Growth AND deficit forecasts
The new "Office for Budget Responsibility" have reduced the last Government's growth forecast for 2011 from 3.25% to 2.6% - BBC - "Fiscal watchdog downgrades UK growth forecast" OBR - "Pre-Budget forecast June 2010" pdf.
As the OBR has been set up by the new Chancellor, it was not possible that it would not have reduced the forecast. Reduced growth means less tax income and more unemployment pay etc. So the belief is that the new Government will give this reduced growth forecast as a reason for bigger cuts in public spending.
The forecast of lower growth will make the private sector less optimistic, which added to the reductions in public spending will mean lower growth. So the OBR forecast reduction in growth is bound to be proved correct. The only question is will there be any growth at all?
PS The OBR have also reduced the forecast Government debt. This is in line with the last Government actual debt figures being lower than expected (see "Better late" on 22 May), but it is still surprising that the OBR are saying what, in this case, the new Chancellor probably does not want to hear, as he will now be under pressure to moderate his cuts.
Time for a change?
A reminder of a couple of old pieces on what causes congestion - Transport Watch - "Time To Change Gear" ABD - "Congestion".
The point for the new Government is that to some extent they can reduce congestion by stopping the spending of money on measures that restrict, stop and slow motor vehicles.
Comment on "auto pay" problems
Kable - "TfL admits congestion charge autopay problems".
The Illinois toll authority is to stop corruption and become efficient - Rockford Register Star - "Tollway needs to fix roads, agency's credibility".
More on "Guess the Tolls" bridge
Vancouver Sun - "Reasons to be cross about a new bridge".
BBC - "Windscreen water infection risk".
If this is getting through the windscreen, how about all the other fumes? Should we wear a mask?
By the way, auto firms say that you should not use washing up liquid when cleaning the windscreen or bodywork as it will damage the glass and paintwork, so what does it do to dishes?
Sunday 13 June 2010
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Tolling the future: Barr’s 2019 prediction prematu".
Empty toll tunnel reduces congestion
Courier-Mail - "Clem7 eases surface congestion".
Any traffic removed from other roads will tend to reduce congestion (assuming that the roads being quieter doesn't attract more traffic). But the optimum distribution of traffic can only exist when the traffic pattern is not distorted by tolls.
Continuing troubles on new toll road
Inside Costa Rica - "San José - Caldera Closed From Atenas To Orotina!".
Denial that it was Margaret Thatcher who was midwife to the birth of AGW as a god - Telegraph - "Was Margaret Thatcher the first climate sceptic?".
Perhap Christopher Booker should read this - John Daly - "Global Warming: How It All Began".
Cyclists bare all to show what they think of drivers - News1130 - "Taking it all off to fight climate change".
The Register - "Giddens, Lawson argue quite sensibly on climate change".
Don't bank on it
BBC - "Bank commission calls for 'profound reform' of banks" The Future of Banking Commission report (pdf).
Reform of any part of the British financial system that might have a positive effect on the average investor will not happen. All we will get is a reshuffling of the deckchairs, while we wait for the next financial disaster.
DC chats to BO about BP, but we don't know what was said - BBC - "The prudent US-UK diplomacy of the BP spill".
It isn't clear whether the dislike for things British is because of watching too many Hollywood movies where the English usually play wimps or villains or because the British are said to have tortured the President's grandfather - Times (December 2008) - "Beatings and abuse made Barack Obama’s grandfather loathe the British".
Another flavour of what some Americans think was in the CNN report of the World Cup game between the USA and "the so-called inventors of the game, England".
Saturday 12 June 2010
The most expensive toll yet? Washington Post - "Md. announces toll rates for Intercounty Connector" WTOP - "MDTA releases ICC toll rates".
Sundry stories - New Hampshire - "One dead, another injured in Everett Turnpike rollover" Louisiana - "Will Grand Isle residents pay toll?".
Irish Times - "NRA defends disparity in toll charges".
There is no justice or logic to tolls, only how much they can extort, i.e. "the amount a driver would pay before opting to leave the motorway to avoid the toll".
Forcing older vehicles off the road
Berita Jakarta - "City to Soon Implement Vehicle Age Restriction Policy".
Taking older buses and cars off the road may result in congestion from cyclists and pedestrians! As usual the real problem is people. Fifty years ago the city had a population of one million, today it is estimated as between 9 and 23 million, depending on where the urban boundary is drawn.
One man who is not pushing tolls in Toronto
The Star - "Pantalone rules out road tolls".
As with Jakarta, the congestion and the demand for "mass" transit is largely due to population growth - in 50 years the population of the Greater Toronto area has grown from 2.5 million to 6 million.
Cameron standing firm
The British PM's stance on the attacks on Britain from America's President seems to be leaning towards the anti BP side, hardly a surprise. It is also not a surprise that yesterday he doubled the "operational allowance" i.e. the daily war pay supplement. America's war in Afghanistan has been going on in one form or another for most of the last 30 years. Britain's direct involvement "only" began in 2001, but perhaps Britain should be considering whether it gets any credit for its support.
Comment on the "British" leak - New Scientist - "Whose spill is it anyway?".
Last month was the joint warmest May globally since 1880 ("joint" because it was the same temperature in 1998) - GISS data updated to May (see bottom left).
We have not yet seen this record on the AGW sites, but the GISS data was updated on Thursday night. It would be interesting to know why these temperature change records are not made more of. Are the AGW camp worried that the data will eventually be found out to be biased?
"Group of 77" wants more money and less CO2 from the "industrial" nations - BBC - "Gulfs remain after UN climate change talks in Bonn".
The Group of 77 actually consists of 130 "developing" nations, including China and India, that have over half the earth's land surface - Wikipedia map. This group already have about 80% of the Earth's population and are major sources of migration. Perhaps the other countries should be concerned about what this mean's for the future, rather than waging a war on CO2.
Friday 11 June 2010
Sundry stories - Michigan - "Opsommer: Plan takes away say about toll roads" Pennsylvania - "Business supports fee hike for roads" Pennsylvania - "Local lawmakers mull raising gas tax to repair roads" Virginia - "Chesapeake rejects latest Dominion Blvd. bid" comments Louisiana - "Senate committee says Grand Isle residents must continue to pay La. 1 toll" comments.
Turkey brings in punitive charges for those who don't use toll tags
Today's Zaman - "Cash option at I.stanbul-ankara tollbooths to be abolished by July 1".
Empty toll tunnel was forecast
Courier-Mail - "Clem7 tunnel team knew of risk".
More on new toll bridge near Liverpool and other transport schemes being reviewed
Stories on the toll bridge - BBC - "Disappointment over Mersey Gateway bridge scheme delay" Liverpool Daily Post - "Government funding axe threat for Mersey Gateway project" Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway project could drown in a sea of cuts" Runcorn & Widnes News - "Mersey Gateway team still confident it can present a ‘compelling case’ for funding new Runcorn-Widnes bridge" Runcorn & Widnes News - "Halton’s proposed new Mersey crossing in doubt after funding is put on hold " Crain's Manchester - "Second bridge over the Mersey looks sunk".
Some of the other stories following yesterday's written statement to the Commons (continues on a second page) - Regen - "Revealed: List of 62 transport schemes put on hold" New Civil Engineer - "Government postpones decisions on all local transport schemes".
More tolls pushing
The Social Market Foundation two months ago (before the election) suggested that the roads should be sold off and tolled, they are pushing the idea again - SMF - "Axing & Taxing - How to cut the deficit" (see part 3 on page 35).
We said last time, this suggestion was worrying "when you see the many establishment names on the Foundation's main board or advisory board. They include George Osbourne and Vince Cable.". Rumour has it that George and Vince are both now part of the Coalition.
Welcome to Ireland
Irish Times - "Motorists set for 21pc tax hike on tolls" Independent - "NRA takes its toll on the motorist" letter Irish Times - "VAT to be charged at tolls owned by State".
Indian toll threat
Times Colonist - "HST protest could lead to road tolls on reserves".
More on Tolls will be higher than they said
Vancouver Sun - "Critics say 48 hours to pay Port Mann Bridge toll 'unreasonable'" Ctv -"B.C. premier under fire for new bridge surcharge" CBC - "Extra Port Mann bridge fees don't worry truckers" comments.
What the public think on inflation
BofE - "Bank of England/GfK NOP Inflation Attitudes Survey".
Yesterday there was a survey of what Americans thought, now it is the turn of the Brits - BBC - "Belief in climate change 'drops' in the UK" Cardiff University - "Public Perceptions of Climate Change - Summary Findings of a Survey Conducted from January to March 2010".
Despite the headline a significant majority of those surveyed still believe in "climate change, sometimes referred to as ‘global warming’" (78%), that it is at least partly "caused by human activity" (also 78%) and they are concerned about it (71%).
They appear to have deep faith in scientists as they support "geoengineering approaches to tackling climate change", even though 50% of those surveyed had never heard of it.
When asked how they had "noticed any signs of climate change during their lifetime", 58% said "changes to weather", and only 6% said"Hotter/warmer/milder weather". So it seems that the greens, carbon spivs, and politicians have succeeded in making people believe that whatever happens to the weather, it is due to anthropogenic global warming, though 99% of people would probably not know what it is.
BBC - "Himalayan climate impacts 'cannot be generalised'".
Though some people will benefit, the report apparently says that "the food security of 4.5% of the total population will be threatened as a result of reduced water availability". What the report presumably turns a blind eye to is that the population of the Indian sub continent is increasing by 1.5% - every year.
BBC - "Rich countries accused of carbon 'cheating'".
A nostalgic look back at CO2 before it was discovered that it was really a pollutant - New Scientist 2 Feb 1984 - "Solar scientists go green with envy".
Thursday 10 June 2010
New toll bridge near Liverpool kicked into touch?
Click Liverpool - "Runcorn toll bridge bridge plan demolished?".
If correct, then this is a big relief as the plan would have created a precedent. The forecast was that no one would use the tolled bridge, so they intended to also toll the only practical alternative which currently carries over 80,000 vehicles a day - for free.
The cyclists having another go at forcing the cars out of their way - BikePortland - "Another big idea: Make driving less convenient".
Sundry stories - Michigan - "Opsommer: 'Bridge' bill actually would open door to toll roads" New Jersey - "Your comments: N.J. toll plazas could feature sponsorships, advertisements under proposed law" West Virginia - "New Website Part of Route 35 Toll Study".
Tolls will be higher than they said
All Voices - "Tolls and Trains may Derail BC Government" The Province -"Toll for new Port Mann Bridge will be $5.15 for casual users" comments The Province - "Port Mann tolls set to sting" CBC - "B.C. misleading on Port Mann tolls: NDP" lot of comments.
More (self) praise for South African tolls
MoneyWeb - "Pay, pay and you can have decent roads".
The Old Lady keeps on inflation course
BofE - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and Maintains the Size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £200 Billion".
It is anyone's guess, when, or even if, the SS Great Britain will be run into the rocks again, but if there is a next time, then the ship will probably be beyond refloating.
Louise Ellman is again the chair of Transport Cttee
BBC - "Hodge elected as chair of key Commons committee".
New bio-fuel rules
BBC - "EU biofuels 'need to be certified for sustainability'". Thanks to the EU, we will have another area that the spivs will make money on with the trading of fraudulent pieces of paper.
York Con even less likely
York Press - "Brakes put on York road toll plans".
The masses must go by mass transit
Earth Times - "'Car crazy' Indians urged to use mass transportation".
India's roads and cities would be a little less crowded if since independence the population had not increased by over 800 million (350 million in 1948 and 1,170 million now).
Mayor says "No" to more tolls
East London Advertiser - "Boris rules out suburban road tolls in pledge to London Assembly".
The FT in praise of South African tolls
"Roads: Tolls provide a route through the jams".
South African politicians and those that will cream the money off these schemes will agree with the FT, but based on the reports that we have from time to time from South Africa, neither the people nor local businesses would agree with the FT.
New PM, same policy
The Japanese PM, Yukio Hatoyama, and the Secretary General of the main Government party, Ichiro- Ozawa, had to resign a week ago over the issue of American bases on Okinawa. A new cabinet under Naoto Kan was formed this Tuesday, but it seems that the DPJ Government will continue to renegue on its promise to abolish tolls - Japan Times - "Maehara still has Futenma, JAL, road toll vows to contend with".
Possible troll transfer - Sydney Morning Herald - "Could council buy Queensland Motorways?".
"Go Between" bridge losses - Sydney Morning Herald - "It's a long way to be back in black".
Ontario likely to extend the notorious 407ETR
Truck News - "Ontario government gets ball rolling for Hwy 407 expansion".
Blame the Brits
BBC - "Oil spill: BP shares plummet 11% on Obama fears". The various shades of green are going after the British bogeyman despite three facts -
Oil licences set a cap on how much compensation will be paid (as otherwise companies might not take the risk of drilling). This oil rig is American owned (Transocean) and is only leased by BP. The company that was responsible for the operation that went tragically wrong was Halliburton, another American company.
It seems that as with the revolution of 1776, the Americans do not want to pay for the services that they get.
Needs more studying
BBC - "Degree costs a burden on taxpayer, says David Willetts". Before bumping up fees, the Government should look at what the aim is behind sending so many people to university for three years. In many cases there must be better and cheaper ways of achieving the objectives.
According to a new poll, 77 per cent of Americans "support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant" - Discovery - "American Concerns About Climate Change Climb" Yale University - "Climate Change in the American Mind: Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in June 2010" pdf Yale University - "Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in June 2010" pdf.
Boldly going where they have not been before? Telegraph - "Nasa's first ever 'field trip' to study effects of climate change on Arctic ice".
The story starts "Nasa has switched part of its focus from space". In fact the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (part of NASA) is one of the main sources for the "cleaned up" data that purports to show how the Earth's temperature has steadily increased over the last couple of centuries, with a record level being reached in April.
Wednesday 9 June 2010
A cyclist wondering why taxis are also part of the roads elite
Guardian - "Why are taxis king of the road when they carry so few passengers?".
West London Residents' Association asks people to say "no" again
Wembley & Kingsbury Times - "Congestion charge consultation".
New UN Climate boss says that "rich nations" must make bigger promises - BBC - "New UN climate chief calls for more ambition".
Meanwhile a lawyer from Pennsylvania Law School has looked at the reports of the UN's IPCC - Motley Fool - "Specifically for ChrisGraley, llcx, and nzsvz9" Probe International - "Global Warming Advocacy Science: a Cross Examination" pdf.
Star Ledger - "N.J. toll plazas could feature commercial ads, sponsorships under proposed law" How many businesses will be daft enough to think that advertising next to a toll booth will improve their image?
Sundry stories - "Rhode Island bill seeks tougher penalties for those who don’t pay bridge tolls" Florida - "Authority looking at I-75 toll lanes in Collier, Lee rolls back into picture" inc poll.
BBC - "Forum for the Future calls for 'open' population debate" Daily Mail - "Britain will struggle to handle 'catastrophic' population growth unless changes are made". It is rare for a green organisation to say that problems are caused by population growth, though as the "Forum" have nothing yet about this on their site, it is not clear what they are saying.
PS They eventually published this blog item - "Population - time to face the future" and this report - "growing
pains - population and sustainability in the UK" pdf.
There are a couple of stories today that illustrate that the Government does not understand the population problem.
One is - BBC - "English rules tightened for immigrant partners". This rule (which was due to come in anyway) will have almost no effect on the number of immigrants or how many children they have. It's main purpose is to give the illusion that the Government are in control and are doing something.
The other is - BBC - "Councils to get help to stop 'garden-grabbing'". We live in an over crowded country (particularly England where these rules would apply) with a shortage of homes. The main aim of planning policy should be that windfall gains do not all accrue to landowners but are shared by those who are adversely affected by any new building in their neighbourhood.
Another account of the Heartland Institute's Climate Conference - New American - "Climate-change Science".
Where to cut - Gerald Warner in Daily Telegraph - "Public consultation on cuts is vapid PR: better to save £205bn by cutting climate change agenda".
Tuesday 8 June 2010
From Transport Watch
Suggesting that one of the things the Government should be cutting is rail - Letters. The relevant ones are dated 20 May and 26 April.
Another evaluation of energy efficiency and how much carbon is created by use of electric compared with conventionally fuelled vehicles - "Electic And Conventional Drive Vehicles".
Sundry stories - Maine - "Army Corps questions MTA plan for York tolls" West Virginia - "Turnpike tolls may continue past 2019".
Met Office Climate Summary for May. Not everyone would agree that "Mean temperatures for the month ended up close to normal.". The word "snow" is not mentioned though they were still skiing in Scotland up to the end of the month.
The Met Office have dropped "Days of Snow Lying" from their actual and anomaly maps since December. Is this because the data might seem to be at odds with their claims about the temperature?
On Sunday night, the BBC continued with its efforts to "educate" the British public about the science of Climate change. A large part of the "Atmosphere" programme in the "Power of the Planet" series was about where the Oxygen in the atmosphere came from. It seems that plants don't exist and that CO2 has nothing to do with the process by which much of the oxygen was formed and is replenished. Instead the oxygen all comes from cyanobacteria breaking down the H2O in sea water.
The only thing that CO2 does is act as a "greenhouse gas". There was the usual assertion that the changes in the earth's temperature in the past have been driven by changes in CO2 levels, and that any increase would be catastrophic - "Throughout Earth's history as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have changed so has the temperature of the whole planet. In fact it's now becoming clear that relatively small changes in carbon dioxide could begin a chain reaction and this would lead to unexpectedly large changes in our climate.".
EU Energy Portal - "England team fights climate change en route to the World Cup". With preparations like this, no doubt the World Cup will be coming home, at least as soon as they have sorted out what carbon credit they will need to buy for the extra weight on the return flight.
Monday 7 June 2010
Now here is the not yet the worst news
BBC - "Cameron: 'Difficult decisions' on pay and benefits" text of PM's speech.
The economy is in dire straits, but the forecast Government deficit is really no worse than what was known before all the parties issued their election manifestos. The massive deficit is partly because Britain is a nation of spenders, but is mainly because of the mess that the Bank of England encouraged. The City is likely to continue to be helped with cheap money and only nominal regulation, so we may eventually find ourselves falling down a deeper rabbit hole.
The PM twice mentioned "climate change" in his speech, perhaps an indication of one area where UK plc will be wasting even more money than now. Let's hope that when we know who is going to be hurt by spending cuts and tax increases, it will not again be the users of the roads system.
Hauliers get ready to jump over the cliff
Road transport - "RHA meets with new Transport Secretary".
Sundry stories - Virginia - "Tolls take a toll on workers, state residents" letter Michigan - "Bridge legislation takes a wrong turn on tolls" letter.
Another road pricing push
FT - "Radical transport thinking sparks dispute".
As usual it is assumed that drivers are stupid and weak and that they are either ignorant of the facts or have short memories.
The FT says that "Both sides of the dispute about how to plan the transport network’s future believe it is vital to introduce a system of per-mile charging for road use.". It also quote an academic - "The problem is congestion. How do you solve congestion? It’s road pricing."
The trolls, greens and economists may want this to be so, but the reality is different.
Taxation of fuel is far and away the most economic system for charging for fuel use and also has the advantage of encouraging reduced fuel use and lowering emissions.
Road pricing is a very expensive way of shifting traffic and a very poor use of resources. It is far better for UK Plc to spend more in improving capacity. Even with existing spending, more could be done if the apparent aim of the authorities was not to hamper and slow traffic.
Sunday 6 June 2010
Kent News - "Foreign truckers could be made to pay to use roads".
Britain's politicians seem to suffer from dementia. The plan to toll foreign lorries was abandoned in 2005 for reasons which still apply. Putting tolls on roads that only foreign lorries pay would be against EU rules and would not be economic to collect. There are better ways to even out the unfair advantage that foreign lorries have - if that is the real aim. Perhaps what they are really after is introducing road tolls on British vehicles by the back door.
Sunday Express - "Safeguard All Our Futures By Getting Tough On Lax BP".
Over the last 50 years, most of Britain's industries have been destroyed. Initially the damage was done by the unions, then we had managers who failed to make real investments while taking inadvisable risks in other areas. We have also had Governments who have broken up successful firms in the interests of "competition" and have encouraged foreign firms rather than our own. Now it seems that the news media are trying to demolish anything which is still standing.
Northern Echo - "Bollard claims new victim".
Britain's other "congestion charge" is bizarre in various ways, one of which is that it is only payable between 10 AM and 4 PM, and thus excludes what would normally be the peak traffic periods. It is more akin to a visitor tax.
Driver resistance in Taiwan
Focus Taiwan - "ETC operator, government still at odds over toll collection system".
The Underground - "Faith leaders unite for climate-change legislation".
"Interfaith Power & Light" operate in just over half the states and is a "nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation in response to global climate change. Our goal is to help faith communities recognize and fulfill their duties as stewards of creation, while also serving as their voice on state and federal legislative matters." Not surprisingly it does not mention the effects of the "creation" of billions more people.
Saturday 5 June 2010
Update on the toll bridge dispute in New Brunswick
Telegraph Journal - "Deal offered on bridge".
James Delingpole in Telegraph - "I'd rather have Monckton in a foxhole with me than Monbiot".
AGW is 50 per cent of the warming - Nature News - "Glaciers' wane not all down to humans - Natural climate swings have had a major role in eroding Alpine ice".
Friday 4 June 2010
The war goes on
Telegraph - "Car parking wars".
The braver sex
News-Mail - "72yo rather go jail than pay toll". There have been similar cases before - all women.
No tolls plea
Queensland Times - "Mayor targets unfair tolls".
More on new tolls
Times - "Gauteng driving will be pricey".
More on - Reuters - "The congestion charging debate" two videos The Big Money - "Felix Salmon's Traffic Summit".
This latest toll push comes from a cyclist. In the debate, the "independent" chairman and three of the panel are pro tolls, only one panellist is on the no tolls side.
Sundry stories - "N.H. transportation officials: High-speed toll trial a success" New York - "McArdle’s objections to congestion pricing" Massachusetts - "Pike perk is workers’ free pass" Indiana / Kentucky - "Bridges authority seeks guidance on tolls" Florida - "Concerns raised over all electronic Crosstown Expressway tolls".
Bit more on tale of Two Toll bridges
CTV - "Toll bridge popularity remains unproven in B.C." video.
Sceptics are loonies - Guardian - "Climate sceptics and fringe political groups are an unhealthy cocktail" Guardian - "Monckton takes scientist to brink of madness at climate change talk" Guardian - "Viscount Monckton, another fallen idol of climate denial".
Many of those who are sceptics on AGW may well have other beliefs that are not politically correct or that are contrary to widely acceped science, but that does not prove that they are wrong. There is also something desperate in the use of the phrase "climate denial" and "climate scepticism". If anthropogenic global warming is a scientific fact then why do its advocates use increasingly vague terms for it?
Ups and downs of climate change - AFP - "Pacific islands adapt to climate change" New Scientist - "Shape-shifting islands defy sea-level rise".
It could be that, despite what these stories say, the islands are getting bigger over the last 60 years or so because there has been no increase in temperature that might have caused a rise in sea levels. Those low lying islands and coastal areas that are at risk are mainly in trouble because of over population.
Thursday 3 June 2010
Motorists' tolls to pay for cost of 500 million dollar bicycle lane on California bridge - Daily Oakland - "Bike Bridge Bill Clears Senate".
Bit more on cyclist pushing New York car tolls - The Atlantic - "Caveats on Congestion Pricing".
Sundry stories - Virginia / DC - "HOT Lanes May Break New Ground But Questions Remain" Texas - "Relieving I35 Congestion, moving trucks".
Europe gets tough on soft English
Guardian - "UK given final warning over London air quality" Mayor Watch - "EC threatens court action over capital’s air quality".
Most people want cleaner air but why should Europe be telling us what to do? All the politicians want to crowd more people (most of them immigrants) into London, so it will be difficult to reduce emissions there. Emissions which don't seem to come from cars, as when the Congestion Charge was introduced, the measured air quality fell according to the official data, though Transport for London produced a misleading report which gave the impression that air quality had improved.
Tales of Two Toll bridges
BC Local - "Bridge toll a ‘hot potato’" Vanocuver Sun - "TransLink considers reducing Golden Ears tolls".
Denial that Captain Bligh has ordered more tolls
My Sunshine Coast - "Bligh Government rules out congestion tax and distance-based tolling".
Bust toll to be bailed out
Bay of Plenty Times - "Council to hand on $65m debt?".
New toll road
Meath Chronicle - "New era for traffic-choked towns".
It remains to be seen whether Irish drivers will pay more blood money or will continue to use the old roads.
Wednesday 2 June 2010
More on unhappiness with toll plans
IoL - "ANC outrage at toll roads" Handy Shipping Guide - "Road Tolls Slammed by Hauliers Association".
More on Captain Bligh ordering more tolls
Courier-Mail - "Secret toll plan to charge motorists for every kilometre analysed by Bligh Government".
Annual house price inflation now at 8.5%
Land Registry - "House Price Index April 2010" pdf released 1 June.
Drug protection racket
BBC - "Watchdog backs a minimum price for alcohol".
This proposal is intended to protect the profits of the alcohol and advertising "industries". Presumably those who suggest this believe that the politicians would not support the better idea of a ban on advertising and promotion of alcohol, as that would hurt the politicians friends.
Stateline - "States find road and bridge money hard to come by".
Cyclist pushing car tolls - Wall Street Journal - "Putting a Price Tag on Manhattan Traffic" NY Times - "A Shining City on a Spreadsheet".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Wellesley man pleads guilty to skimming tolls from MA drivers" Texas - "Construction Moving Along on New Toll Road" Washington State - "How will tolling work on 520 if you aren't 'Good to Go?' " video.
Update on empty tunnel
ABC - "Too early to say if Clem7 going broke" ABC - "Will dismal traffic numbers pay the bills?" inc audio Sydney Morning Herald - "Traffic woes could keep Clem7 toll low".
Indians get tough
Times of India - "Toll evasion: Contractor files 47,500 cases".
Tolls to rise on loss making road
Bay of Plenty Times - "Tolls set to rise on Route K".
Prince Charles promoting Big Blue's "congestion charging" systems
Times - "IBM to organise summit at invitation of Prince of Wales".
Call for return of tolls to New Brunswick
CBC - "NDP, Greens revive toll highway debate".
Another proposal for Con Charge in China
What's On Xiamen - "Congestion charge system proposed in Xiamen".
Bit more on Sound and fury signifying nothing
BBC - "Original Severn Bridge maintenance cost raises concern".
It's a Cold Wind that's Gonna Blow - Pajamas - "Global Cold Wave May Be Looming — This Time, the Science Is Good" Scotsman - "t's summer, it's June, but the Scottish snow season goes on".
Tuesday 1 June 2010
Potential "unrest" in KZN
IoL - "ANC against proposed tolls ".
North Carolina and Virginia may collaborate on border toll - News Leader - "N.C. supports Virginia's plan to put tolls on I-95".
Sundry stories - New Hampshire - "High-speed I-95 Hampton tolls reduce traffic" Georgia - "Motorist Skips Out On Ga. 400 Toll 685 Times" New Jersey - "Gas tax hike: Are there any reasonable alternatives?".
Poll of the uniformed
Fleet Directory - "Should the Government sell off the roads?".
There is nothing about this story on the AA site yet. But if over 75% of drivers have supported the selling off of the roads but don't expect there to be tolls, then it shows that they are as financially ignorant as the politicians. Unless those who buy the roads are given the right to collect tolls, then the Government has in effect just swapped one form of debt for another.
Sound and fury signifying nothing
Western Mail - "‘Double whammy’ fear over Severn Bridge tolls".
The Welsh politicians seem to have forgotten that the bridge that needs repairs was built by the UK Government and a lot later handed over to the concessionaire that was building the newer bridge. So it seems that if there is a cable problem with the older bridge then the UK Government is liable.
Instead of standing up for Welsh drivers and businesses by demanding that the tolls be removed, the politicians fuss about things like this nonsensical issue of the repairs or about paying with plastic money.
Toronto Toll Touts say that it will be a "carbon tax"
Star - "Ontario has ‘lost momentum’ on climate change: environment commissioner" CBC - "Ont. environmental watchdog calls for road tolls" lot of comments Ctv - "Road tolls recommended to help curb greenhouse gas" Sun - "Road tolls pushed as a means to go green" Globe & Mail - "Road tolls could help in climate-change fight, Ontario commissioner says".
The report - Environmental Commissioner of Ontario - "Broadening Ontario’s Climate
Change Policy Agenda - Annual Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2010" pdf. Not a mention in its 40 pages of a gasoline tax!
The Commissioner's biog on Wikipedia says he "has a degree in plants and wants everyone in Ontario to pay more money to drive.".
New tolls nation complains about British operator
Central Asia Online - "Tajik toll road operator chastised by commission".
Zealots to get tough
NZ Herald - "Toll-dodger faces $26,500 in fines".
Bikers to join club
Northern Advocate - "Bikers set to pay highway toll".
Mayor does not like oficial cars
Telegraph - "All our limo-loving politicians should be sent down the Tube".
As Boris should remember from his time at the Palace of Westminster, for every MP who is travelling by official cars, there will be scores using taxis. If the Mayor wants to encourage MPs to ride a bike or take the Tube, he could consider whether he is brave enough to remove the freedom of taxis to use the bus lanes and not pay the "congestion" charge.
Moscow Times - "Government May Switch To Excise Tax for Drivers".
The chances of a fuel tax are slight, as tolls are far more easily diverted into private hands.
Bit more on tolls on road to nowhere
Inside Costa Rica - "MOPT Evaluates Suspension Of Tolls During Emergencies On The On San José - Caldera".
Guardian has a go at new Transport Secretary
"New transport secretary yearns for the golden era before the 'war on motorists' - Philip Hammond dashes hopes of continuing the green transport policies of last government". Will Dave now buy Philip a bike and coach him on riding the wrong way up one way streets?
Some are smarter than others when it comes to capital gains taxes
Telegraph on 30th - "Danny Alexander, new Treasury chief, avoided capital gains tax on house".
On one of the main sources of the "facts" - Canada Free Press - "James Hansen and Climate Change; NASA’s Disgrace".
On one of the most titled deniers - Sci blogs - "Don’t trust Monckton!".
On improving the spin - Wired - "Why Science Needs to Step Up Its PR Game".