MARCH 2009 NEWS
Tuesday 31 March 2009
Get on your bike - New EU report
European Environment Agency - "Transport at a crossroads. TERM 2008: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union" pdf.
Buy roads recommendation - Goldseek - "My Favorite Way to Protect Against Inflation".
G20 summit - CNN - "Financial crisis dominates G-20 agenda".
Another legal challenge to border tolls, this times it is Connecticut / Rhode Island - Providence Journal - "Suit contests higher tolls for out-of-state drivers on Pell Bridge" EastBayRI - "Tolls are EZ, but are they illegal? Woman says 'Yes'".
Sundry stories - Maine - "York Officials Fight Back Against Turnpike Authority" North Carolina / Virginia - "Parkway fees idea generates feedback" "N.Y. Legislators Optimistic on M.T.A. Rescue Plan" Maryland - "$200M hole in transportation budget could be filled with ‘congestion pricing’".
Cambridge toll - opposition from a Tory councillor
Cambridge News - "Tory councillor is on congestion warpath".
Victorian Government claims that new road will not be tolled
Herald Sun - "No toll pledge on Frankston bypass" ABC - "Govt seeks tenders to Frankston bypass".
Monday 30 March 2009
Latest on American auto crisis
CNN - "Obama extends short federal lifeline to GM, Chrysler" White House - "GM & Chrysler".
The "Fact Sheet on the New Path to Viability for GM & Chrysler" mentions five times the need for more fuel efficient cars. But the new Administration is sending conflicting messages to car buyers (and thus car makers) as the DoT plan seems to be to phase out the gas tax in favour of road tolls.
Bit more on opposition to tolls in New Brunswick
Telegraph Journal - "Negotiate an end to bridge impasse".
Bit more on Don't bank on it
BBC - "Nationwide takes over Dunfermline" Bank of England - "News Release - Dunfermline Building Society".
Wheels within wheels
Cambridge News - "'Build on green belt and bring in charge'".
The "Centre for Cities" organisation also backed the Manchester Con, not surprising as it had various people from the Manchester establishement on its board. The Manchester establishment, which includes property developers, also seemed to be keen to cram as many people as they could into the area. Another board member is Tony Travers who is one of the two "transport experts" who is to recommend whether the Cambridgeshire Con goes ahead.
More e-tolls fun - Chicago Tribune - "Why do credit cards expire?".
President orders GM boss to go - CNN - "General Motors CEO resigns as part of bailout deal".
Bit more on Illinois toll "reforms" - Daily Herald - "Toll reforms tardy, but welcome news" Twin Cities (Minnesota) - "Not his car, but still his tickets? It's man versus state database".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "House takes on reform" New York - "Political factions try to come together on MTA deal" California - "91 Express toll lane prices to drop".
What next, air?
BBC - "Call for widespread water meters".
The report says that due to Global warming "river flows in the late summer and early autumn could reduce by over 50%, and as much as 80% in some places". Really? Even if this is an accurate forecast, then the most economic way of dealing with this is by spending on leak reduction and on building of reservoirs and imposing restrictions when there is a drought. Water metering costs a lot to instal and administer, and unless an even more expensive system is devised has no particular effect on peak demand. Water metering (and road pricing) are infantile suggestions from those who either can not see the whole picture or expect to profit in supplying and maintaining unnecessary systems.
There was a fuss over the weekend about what had been included in the Home Secretary's expenses claim. The reaction of the MPs is that they are reported to be calling in the police to find out who has been passing information to the press.
Sunday 29 March 2009
Tale of the Sea
Telegraph - "Rise of sea levels is 'the greatest lie ever told'".
Sundry stories - California - "Toil goes into toll roads" Massachusetts - "New law, same old Pike story".
New EU lorry toll laws may be delayed
European Voice - "Congestion charging plan faces delay".
Bit more on initial effect of Japanese toll reductions
Japan Times - "Drivers hit the road as discount tolls debut" Yomiuri - "Start of cheap road tolls sees jams".
Don't bank on it
Scotland's biggest building society joins the casualty list - BBC - "Brown offer to Dunfermline savers" FT - "Dunfermline Building Society faces forced sale" Daily Mail - "State takes over Dunfermline as last ditch rescue bid fails".
Dumfermline was a model building society. In its 2007 accounts it had £1.989 billion of "Loans fully secured on residential property" funded by deposits of £2.171 billion. It was also a model of a sick bank as it also had on the balance sheet £1.209 billion of other advances and securities which it is reported included American sub prime mortages.
Perhaps under the bed is the safest place for any savings, and with interest rates at virtually nil, why would anyone deposit money with a bank?
Saturday 28 March 2009
Too many take the bus
Times - "End of the road for free go-anywhere bus pass for the over-60s". If you subsidise transport then more people will use it, but one group that are now to be excluded are drivers who "park-and-ride".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Agency needs more time to respond to Chafin’s FOIA request" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Pa. lawmakers want to restrain DRPA" Florida - "We think: It's their way or the highway for Orlando's autocratic X-way authority" Massachusetts - "Editorial: Legislation to protect tollpayers".
Illinois - "Tollway Spring Cleaning Makes Drivers Happy" Washington State - "Bridge Tolls" letter Connecticut - "Committee approves study of electronic border tolls" Washington State - "Olympia: Gas Tax Revenue Down, Tolls and $4.3 Billion in New Transportation Spending".
Continuing pressure for MTA bailout - NY1 - "State Lawmakers Work On MTA Rescue Plan" video NY Daily News - "State legislators to offer up plan to derail MTA's doomsday budget" Newsday - "Albany foresees deal to bail out cash-strapped MTA" Newsday - "Legislature plans fix for NYC transit budget" Reuters - "Moody's says MTA financial woes may threaten rating" NY1 - "Credit Agency May Downgrade MTA's Bond Rating" video.
More on effect of Japanese toll reductions
Mainichi Daily News - "First day of 1,000-yen rides on Japan's expressways meets mixed reviews".
Pound going cheap
Times - "George Soros: Britain may have to seek IMF rescue". This may only be an attempt to force the pound even lower - Reuters - "Sterling falls to 1-wk low vs dlr; weak UK GDP weighs".
In recent years the pound was at its highest in 2007, it peaked against the euro around the 22nd January 2007 when a pound was worth about 1.54 euros and it peaked against the dollar about the 9th November 2007 when the pound was worth about 2.1 dollars. Today the pound is worth 1.08 euros (a fall of 30% from the peak) and 1.43 dollars (a fall of 32% from the peak). Xe.com - historical charts facility.
The revolution does not start here
BBC - "G20 protesters to march in London" Put People First.
The coalition of charities, greens and unions who have organised this are not likely to worry the establishment. They have at least one thing in common - they support "congestion" charging!!
In the dark
BBC - "World prepares for big switch-off".
Another stunt by the climate loonies. The amount of lights that will be switched off will probably be the equivalent of the total energy consumed by the world's 6.8 billion people in about one minute of the year. In the real world to compensate for just one year's growth in the world population, EVERYTHING would have to be switched off for 104 hours.
One way to evade fuel tax
BBC - "Wind-powered car breaks record".
Friday 27 March 2009
More e-tolls fun
NZ Herald - "Toll road's charging goes awry again".
BBC - "UK economy shrinks at faster pace".
An economist at Deutsche Bank says - "On the face of it this rise is good news - it means that a large portion of the necessary rebalancing of the economy away from spending and towards saving has occurred already". Everyone knows that both the Government and most individuals have been spending money that they have not got. But in that case why have interest rates been cut to almost zero, which encourages spending and forces some pensioners to eat into their savings?
More bad news for MPs with two homes
BBC - "House price decline accelerates".
Whatever level house prices reach, it is likely to be still too high. The reason is an inadequate supply of decent homes and a rising population. Vested interests will ensure that few new homes are built and that immigration continues.
Bit more on the Chinese tolls that were "removed" from 1st January
china.org - "Toll gates driving Shanxi motorists mad". Strange that an official Government site should admit that those who profit from the tolls are ignoring the law that abolished them.
Obama's Transportation Secretary still pushing tolls rather than gas tax - Land Line Mag - "LaHood wants all funding options on the table except fuel tax" Senate - archived webcast of hearing on “The Need for Transportation Investment”.
Bit more on the 600,000 "toll violators" that are being asked to cough up - Chicago Tribune - "Toll violators getting break on fines" Chicago Tribune - "Illinois State Toll Highway Authority: Board offers temporary clemency to toll scofflaws".
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Residents, officials say businesses and roadways would be affected adversely by tolls on Interstate 84" California - "Less traffic prompts price cut on OC toll lanes" Texas - "Highway reconstruction project by Dallas/Fort Worth Airport gets" Pennsylvania - "Pew must know Pa. Turnpike a stinker" New Hampshire - "Speeding drivers pay price at tolls".
Mass tolls - Boston Globe - "Residents balk at paying more to cross bridge" Metro West - "The Metrowest Caucus of the House of Representatives:Pike toll delay is a victory for MetroWest" NECN - "Town Meeting: Gas tax" video Boston Globe - "Aide: Governor Patrick focusing on long-term, not poll results" lot of comments.
The Trolls are still angry that there are not more bridge tolls to pay for the MTA excesses - Wall Street Journal - "New York MTA Rating In Danger Due To Rev Woes -Moody's " Streetsblog - "The Day After" Staten Island Advocate - "Staten Islanders have to swallow $13 V-N cash toll" NY Daily News editorial - "Give Carl a call: Let Sen. Kruger know how you feel about the fare hikes he's says will happen" Journal News - "Next stop for MTA fare-hike mess: Waiting" NY Times - "M.T.A. Is Warned It’s Facing a Downgrade in Its Bond Rating" Staten Island Advocate - "Legislature's dithering pushes $13 toll on the Verrazano closer to grim reality".
We are sailing
Bournemouth Echo - "Swanage ferry toll rises spark outrage".
Ferries are not highways but two are in law treated the same as tolled bridges and tunnels. One of these is the "Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry", the other one is the "Dartmouth-Kingswear Floating Bridge" DfT (the two ferries). It seems that the names of the ferries may have caused MPs to think that they were roads. Even more bizarrely treated the same as a tolled bridge is the Lynmouth and Lynton Lift "railway" - DfT - "Lynmouth and Lynton Lift".
Tory wants to force people out of bed earlier
Politics - "Yeo calls for an end to daylight robbery this weekend ". The aim it seems is to move us permanently to Central European time, in order to reduce CO2. What is never clear with these loony ideas is why people would not press for the opening hours of shops, schools, businesses and public transport to be shifted an hour later thus negating the effect of being on Berlin time rather than GMT.
In safe hands?
Bank of England - "'Tough Times, Unconventional Measures'". It seems that the Bank is not overworking the printing presses to aid industry and to protect jos, it is "to meet its inflation target". A strange aim, but even stranger as the inflation target of two percent increase in CPI is also a limit (with the Governor having to write to the Chancellor if the "target" is exceeded) and the Bank is already over the limit.
Bit more on truckers opposition to tolls
Telegraph Journal (New Brunswick) - "Politicians disagree on removing tolls".
Business group want Severn tolls removed - but will wait
Western Echo - "Severn bridge tolls ‘a burden that should be abolished to help Welsh economy’". It is welcome news that the FSB are asking Aberystwyth University’s business school to look at the economic effect of tolls. But very odd that they are not worried that the Government are pocketing £150 million in VAT and that they seem to believe that the Government will remove the tolls once they have collected one billion pounds plus the VAT.
Cambridge Con will save lives
Cambridge News - "Charge will hit hard, but could save lives".
The Terminator goes over the top
Globe and Mail (Toronto) - "The pursuit of P3 happiness". Strange that the California Governor wants to go down the PPP road at a time when the bankers are even more reliant than usual on the vast amounts of money manufactured by Government and handed out to the banks at the front door as well as the back door.
Letter complaining about the Port Mann tolls - Surrey Leader (B.C.) - "Bridge out".
No tolls for National Tomb-Sweeping Day
China Post - "Motorists warned of traffic congestion coming April 4, 5".
Skye tolls campaigner has a go at legality of cameras in Scotland
BBC - "Bid to make speed cameras illegal" Herald - "Appeals against speed fines cannot be backdated".
New roads on the way? Or just chaos?
BBC - "Road chaos fears over wind farms".
Democracy at last!!
BBC - "PM and Palace 'discussed reform'". The fact that 99.99999995% of the British population would still not have a chance to be head of state is apparently of no importance. Most British people are conditioned from birth to think that it is normal to have a hereditary head of state and hereditary head of the state religion. So it is is a surprise that according to the poll that the BBC have not fully published it seems that nearly one in four people have shaken off the conditioning.
Thursday 26 March 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Including how Illinois plans to deal with its 600,000 unpaid tolls - "Texas Senate tentatively approves ban on tolls for existing roads" Illinois - "Toll scofflaws offered a big break on fines" Illinois - "Tollway proposes scofflaw system reforms".
Irish drivers still having e-tolls fun
Herald - "M50 tolls shake-up after your protests".
Manchester Evening News - "Clegg call for TIF cash". Have the Lib Dems lost their usual script?
A few brave souls
NZ Herald - "Toll-dodging higher than expected".
More on truckers opposition to tolls
New Brunswick Business Journal - "Trucking association calls for end to highway, marine tolls in region".
Toll road boss rakes in more than the Governor - WDBO (Florida) - "Xway authority director is highest paid in Florida". He has just survived a bid to oust him - WFTV (Florida) - "Chairwoman Asks To Fire Authority Director".
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Tollway officials weigh breaks for violators"
Virginia - "Midtown Tunnel group seeks to trim costs, tolls" Virginia - "Should tolls be part of scenic shortcut?" Kentucky - "Fate of bridges' funding bill is uncertain; tolls a hitch" Pennsylvania - "Alternate funding for 422 explored ".
Washington State - "Lake Washington bridges should be tolled – ASAP" Florida - "Toll increase rolls forward" Land Line Mag - "Kansas bill dead, called for using speed to determine Turnpike tolls" WESH - "Expressway Authority Won't Delay Toll Hike" video Washington State - "If tolls go up, they should be equal numbers".
Massachusetts stories, including Senate agreeing a merger of the various transit and road agencies which may reduce waste but will also make it easier to use road tolls and gas tax to subsidise mass transit - Boston Herald - "FastLane users now on fast track for refunds" WBUR - "Turnpike's Bonds Face Downgrade, Senate Votes To Overhaul Transportation" Berkshire Eagle - "Senate plan saves $6.5B" Worcester Telegram - "Super transit authority pushed" Republican - "Transport overhaul supported" Boston Globe - "Senate backs bill to merge T, Pike" Boston Herald - "Transport bill passes Senate".
More on the MTA budget agreed yesterday which included fare and toll increases. The state is still considering a bail out and various interests are still screaming for more tolls - Staten Island Advance - "Staten Island's Sen. Savino: Still hope on fares, tolls" NY Times - "The M.T.A.’s ‘Doomsday’ Budget" Staten Island Advance - "MTA pushes Verrazano cash toll to $13, starting July 11" Newsday - "MTA votes to raise fares, cut transit services" video.
Newsday - "Lawmakers appear no closer to deal on MTA rescue" NY Daily News - "Blame 'Gang of Three' traitors - Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada - for MTA fare hike" Yonkers Tribune - "MTA: Pay More, Get Less By Henry J. Stern" NY1 - "MTA Approves Doomsday Budget" views Streetsblog - "With No Plan for Transit, the Next Fare Hike Is Just Around the Bend".
Poor and children will pay the price for Climate Change
BBC - "God 'will not give happy ending'". In our view the Archbishop has this the wrong way round. It is the those who are most discadvantaged who will pay the price to those who expect to make large profits from probably futile attempts to stop an effect that may not exist. If the world's religions are really concerned about the poor and the future, then why do they not support attempts to discourage population growth rather than in some cases trying to out breed their competitors.
FTA still backing road tolls
Report from the FTA "Urban logistics" conference held on 17th - Road Transport.com - "Labour MP says road pricing is inevitable". The ex Roads Minister says - "I think you will eventually have to buy a slot to be on the road; and that's the way roads will be in 20 years." Is this claim based on inside information?
Another "promise" of no tolls
ABC - "Frankston bypass will be toll free, Brumby says" The Age - "Brumby rules out Frankston bypass tolls".
Cambridge cyling establishment back Con
Cambridge News - "Congestion 'killing' city bus services". The bus company say - "We either need to do something fairly drastic or we should not build 58,000 extra homes." Most unusual for anyone to realise that a major cause of congestion is increased population. Perhaps if everyone was encouraged to cycle all the time, there would be no more babies!!
Bit more on Taiwanese trying to get toll reductions
China Post - "Lawmakers urge NT$10 cut in southern Taiwan tolls".
Another conference for the traffic cops
Public Service Events - "'Road Network Management: Keep Britain Moving'". The same interests who were pushing road tolls seem to be moving on to pushing similar technology to catch drivers who they think are going too fast. Two of the aims of road pricing remain. Firstly, to treat drivers as nascent criminals who have to be herded, controlled and restrained. Secondly to sell and profit from the technology and services that enable Britain to move towards 1984.
Dartford - more Government lies
A petition to the PM from Councillor Clarence Barrett of the Havering Residents' Association asking for the Datford tolls to be removed, closed at the beginning of the year. The petition got 9,427 signatures. Twelve weeks later here is the PM's answer - "Dartxx - epetition response".
What local Coucils get up to
BBC - "Councils 'ignored Iceland risks' ". Some of the lost money is from pension funds, but most is from cash reserves. This is unused money held by the Councils who at the same time claim that they have none to fix things like holes in the road.
BBC - "Extent of council spying revealed". There is no real way of knowing who the Council, Government and other authorities are getting the Security Service and GCHQ / SIGINT to snoop on and what is the real purpose. Does anyone believe that the authorities are going to give a frank answer to a Freedom of Information request?
Wednesday 25 March 2009
American tells Canadians to toll roads
Calgary Herald - "Calgary should build toll highways: Economist".
Taiwanese do not agree on toll reductions
Taipei Times - "Calls to cut all freeway tolls rejected".
Truckers oppose old and new tolls in New Brunswick
Canadian Transport & Logistics - "APTA rejects bid to reintroduce tolls to NB highways" Telegraph Journal - "Truckers call for removal of tolls on Harbour Bridge".
Connecticut may have second thoughts on reintroducing tolls -
Connecticut Post - "Questions abound on toll possibility".
Report on the failure last year of the Pennsylvania Trolls plan -
eGov monitor - "Study: Why Pa. Turnpike plan failed" Forbes - "Pew study assesses failed Pa. turnpike lease plan" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Learning from Pa.'s failure to lease turnpike" inc link to report Fox - "Pew Report Finds Major Flaws in Pennsylvania's Effort to Lease Turnpike".
Sundry stories - Florida - "Expressway Authority Rejects Call To Delay Toll Increase"
New Jersey - "Turnpike widening flawed, group says" New Hampshire - "Tickets and tolls: Better speed limits needed" Florida - "Expressway Authority Going On With The Tolls".
Georgia - "HOV Lane Changes: A Done Deal" Florida - "Expressway Authority To Set New Ethics Rules" "Maine Turnpike Authority needs transparency" Washington State - "State tolls policy could change".
Florida - "We think: Goings-on at X-way and airport authorities exact unfair price on the public" New Hampshire - "State Police aim to slow drivers at tolls" West Virginia - "Trio of turnpike bills not dead, senator vows" Georgia - "Tolls for Gwinnett HOV lanes coming".
MTA has agreed the fare hikes including increases on the tolled bridges and tunnels, but for the moment the East and Harlem River bridges reamin untolled -
Staten Island Advance - "Staten Island's Rep. McMahon condemns MTA fare and toll increase" NY1 - "MTA Approves Transit Fare Hikes, Service Cuts" video NY Times - "M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services" Reuters - "NY transit agency hikes subway fares, cuts service" Bloomberg - "New York Transit Agency Approves 25% Bus, Subway Fare Increase" AP - "NY transit agency adopts fare hikes, service cuts".
Before the vote - NY Daily News editorial - "Let 'em have it: Call your legislators and give them hell over looming MTA fare hike".
Massachusetts stories - Republican - "Paying as you go on the Turnpike" WWLP - "Lawmakers considering more taxes" video.
Bit more on new EU lorry tolls
EurActiv - "EU presidency forging consensus on green road charges".
Fools rush in
For the first time since 2002 a sale of Government bonds was not fully subscribed - BBC - "UK government bond auction fails". The real mystery is that even though the interest rate was 4.5%, how did they manage to sell any 40 year bonds?
In the great tradition of British democracy the Governor of the Bank of England was summoned to see the Queen - Times - "Queen invites Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor, to palace". This story is quite worrying. Was the Queen asking for a slice of the billions of pounds that the Governor is to run off the printing presses? (After all her face is on them.) Or given that this meeting was made public and given what the Governor said yesterday - Times - "The Old Lady Doth Protest", are the establishment warning the Prime Minister that they may get rid of him?
Tuesday 24 March 2009
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Economy drives road-tax revenue and driving down" New Hampshire - "Police: Toll speeding too common" Washington State - "Transportation Panel Proposes More Expensive Bridge Toll" Connecticut - "Our view: Toll benefits dubious at best" Florida - "Tolls are likely on proposed Outer Beltway".
Pennsylvania Turnpike boss found out - Pittsburgh Post Gazette - "Rendell fires turnpike chief" Philadelphia Daily News - "Rubin, target of probe, to take leave from turnpike job" some comments.
Border toll wars - Enterprise News (Boston)- "Hedlund, other lawmakers say no to border tolls" Eagle Tribune (Ma.) - "Lawmakers from two states oppose I-93 border toll" Union Leader (NH) - "Lawmakers protest idea for new I-93 tolls" Providence Journal (RI) - "Toll tussle: R.I. driver protests paying higher fees in Mass." Metro - "N.H. officials rally at State House against border tolls" WCVB (Boston) - "Protestors Fear Toll War On Interstate 93" video Boston Herald - "Bi-state anti-toll rally".
Massachusetts tolls stories - Patriot Ledger - "OUR OPINION: Balancing transportation budget on tolls is wrong" Republican - "Pike toll increase delayed" Wicked - "Pike board delays toll hike until July 1" Republican - "Patrick no longer pledges to remove W.Mass. tolls".
MTA bailout - NY1 - "Riders Become Resigned To MTA Fare Hikes" video NY1 - "Full MTA Board To Vote Tomorrow On Doomsday Budget" video Newsday - "'Doomsday' budget vote looms for MTA on Wednesday" Streetsblog - "Where Does the Working Families Party Stand on MTA Rescue?".
To boldly go on
The Prime Minister is trying to reform the world's financial system while combatting Global Warming and Terrorism - BBC - "Europe 'must lead downturn fight'". At this rate how long before they send for the men in the white coats?
Meanwhile the Governor of the Bank of England (which bears a very large share of the blame for the financial mess) seems to be beginning to have doubts. Though they are mainly about the billions that the Government is taking us into debt rather than the trillion or so that the Bank is handing out in various ways to its friends in the City - BBC - "King warns against more spending".
The process which will lead to the first ever toll on a previously free bridge in Britain took another step today in Runcorn, with the pre Inquiry meeting for the plan to build a new bridge upriver from Liverpool and to toll that and the existing free bridge - Runcorn & Widnes World - "Countdown to public inquiry". At the meeting the chief Tory on the Council made it clear that his party backs the plan. One local resident was brave enough to point out that people did not know what was happening and that the local news media were only printing Council propaganda.
The Inflation Lie
The most widely used inflation figures in Britain was the Retail Prices Index, but that was changed by the Government in December 2003. They decided to highlight the Consumer Price Index which usually gave a lower figure for inflation. Recently, the RPI increase has been lower than CPI, mainly because of mortgage interest rates falling towards nil. So the Government aided by the BBC and other news media have switched the emphasis back to RPI - BBC - "Deflation risk as prices to fall" Telegraph - "Deflation expected to return to UK for first time in 50 years".
Despite raising the bogeyman of deflation, today's CPI is actually expected to show an increase of over two per cent. The real situation is even worse as the money supply figures released last Thursday showed year on year growth of 18.8 per cent. There is not usually a direct relationship between money supply and inflation as some increased money supply is needed because of growth, but over the same period there has been almost no growth. One of the possible beneficaries of these policies and the deception will be those MPs with second homes paid for by the taxpayer.
PS The above was written before the figures were released. The BBC instead of issuing a fresh story, rewrote what they (or the Government?) had originally said, and changed the headline to "Surprise hike in consumer prices". The Trolls at the Times are still misleading their readers - Times - "UK economy teeters on brink of deflation".
The actual figures appear to be deliberately published by the ONS in an obscure way which makes it difficult to link to them. But -
RPI change over 12 months is 0.0% (equivalent for the previous month was 0.1%).
RPIX (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) was 2.5 % up over 12 months (equivalent for the previous month was 2.4%).
CPI (the Government's preferred measure till it went above RPI) was 3.2% up over 12 months (equivalent for the previous month was 3.0%).
PPS As inflation was ABOVE the official target, there was this exchange of letters - Bank of England to Chancellor (pdf) Chancellor to Bank of England (pdf).
Drivers vent frustration at imitation toll booths
Sydney Morning Herald - "NRMA invites road rage rants on new site". What a pity that they don't do this at the real toll booths!!
Monday 23 March 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
NY - WNYC - "MTA Committee Approves Fare Hikes" NY Times - "Albany Leaders Struggle in Face of Budget Deadline" Streetsblog - "N.Y. Drivers’ Unexpected Ally: The New York Times Metro Desk" Daily News - "Gov. Paterson to MTA: Go ahead with Doomsday budget".
Other - New Hampshire - "Police Crack Down On Speeds At Tolls".
Wall Street Journal tells India to get tolling
"Breaking the bottleneck".
"PPP" stands for Public-private Partnership, i.e. a rip off of the public by private financers, often involving toll roads - Wikipedia - "PPP United States". But that will seem like petty larceny now that we have "PPIP" or the Public-Private Investment Program CNN - "U.S. unveils 'bad asset' plan".
Big Blue is going to save the Planet. It has video ads on various sites selling the benefits of new "smart" tolls, which it claims would save the US "two billion litres of petrol". It seems that IBM is not only a Troll, it is a European troll.
Woman driver sues over border tolls - Boston Herald - "Rhode Island woman sues over Massachusetts tolls".
Washington (DC) Post editor pushing tolls in Washington State - News Tribune - "Breaking the gridlock on paying for roads Replace gas tax with one on miles driven".
Bit more on Connecticut toll plans - News Times - "Wrongheaded Get ready to fight tolls on Interstate 84".
Sundry stories - California - "Is a Carbon Tax Good for the Economy?" Indiana - "Deal leaves state with 1 less worry" Florida - "Political fundraising at Orlando airport: Crotty files reveal parallels to practice at toll agency" Florida - "Don't punish Wekiva Basin for toll-agency brouhaha".
Massachusetts tolls stories - Boston Globe - "Pike board expected to delay toll hike" Boston Herald - "Patrick no longer pledges to remove W.Mass. tolls" Wicked - "Tarr allows bill to move ahead as Turnpike asks to use $13M in reserves to postpone toll hike" Providence Journal - "Jeff Blanchard: Brief toll trauma at the Cape Cod Canal" Daily News Tribune Editorial - "Progress on Pike tolls?" Boston Herald - "Turnpike board sets Monday vote on toll reversal" Boston Globe - "Fury over possible toll hike overshadows concerns about T" Milford Daily News - "Economic data hits bottom again".
MTA bailout - even some straphangers oppose tolls - NY Times - "Unlikely Opponents of Bridge Tolls: Transit Riders".
Other stories - NY Daily News editorial - "Stiffed by Smith & Skelos: Thanks to Senate stooges, fare hikes are on track" Newsday - "Paterson skeptical on meeting deadline on MTA bailout" Daily News - "To save public transit in New York, try a little honesty" Daily News - "Mayor Mike Bloomberg staying out of the way on MTA fare fiasco".
Pushing for "'congestion' and 'climate' tolls" to pay for mass transit
Star (Toronto) - "A region stuck in traffic".
Nigerians unhappy with tolling of new road
Communities may be fenced in so that they can not avoid the toll gates - Guardian - "Communities mount opposition to Lekki-Epe Expressway toll charges".
Local officials want new toll road
NZ Herald - "Backers of peninsula link look to tolls again".
BBC - "MPs' expenses inquiry considered". Whatever relevations may emerge on MPs, they are just a very small part of what MPs have been doing for many, many years, none of which will be allowed to ever come to light.
Sunday 22 March 2009
MPs tell children to get on their bikes
BBC - "Call for school travel shake-up" Transport Cttee - "School Travel" Transport Cttee - "School Travel" pdf version.
First of Japanese toll reductions take effect
Japan Times - "Expressway toll cuts prove popular".
Turkish drivers hand over the loot
Hurriyet - "Turkey collects $1.65 billion in bridge, highway tolls in eight years".
Saturday 21 March 2009
Penny dropping - We reported on the 27th February that according to an Office of Management and Budget document released the previous day the US Budget deficit for the coming fiscal year was estimated as nearly two trillion dollars. It seems that the size of the deficit is starting to dawn on people as this morning it is the main story on CNN - "Deficit estimate: Up to $1.85 trillion".
Massachusetts and New Hampshire may be moving away from their "Mutually Assured Destruction" plan to put tolls at the border which would mainly affect residents of the other state - WCVB - "Mass. And N.H. Lawmakers To Protest Border Tolls" video WMUR - "Lawmakers Team Up To Oppose Border Tolls" video.
Whatever happens there, Connecticut is considering tolling its border with Massachusetts - "Tolls in CT possibly return - CT considers putting tolls at their borders" "Reinstate tolls in Connecticut? Boucher hosts forum".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Transportation chief says 'day of reckoning' has come" Washington State - "Bridge tolls could happen under new bills" Florida - "We think: The X-way Authority needs to rescind its toll hike, then seek more reforms" West Virginia - "Chairman: No turnpike stimulus measure" Maine - "Turnpike Authority Under Fire" Massachusetts - "Toll delay buys time for transportation solution, Aloisi says" Washington State - "Narrows bridge tolls may rise this summer" some comments.
Wall Streeet Journal - "Budget Woes Hit Mass Transit as Tax Revenue Falls".
Some unofficial dipping into the till - Morning Call (Pa.) - "Williams Township Police: Bridge Worker Stole $15,000 In Tolls" Star Ledger (NJ) - "Route 78 toll-bridge collector accused of swiping $15K in truck tolls" a few comments.
MTA bailout - NY Daily News - "Gov. Paterson slaps state Republicans for blocking plan for MTA" NY1 - "MTA Budget Deal Appears Dead".
Lost in the Grimpen Mire
BBC - "Government borrowing 'to swell'".
Edinburgh trams fiasco sorted?
BBC - "Agreement reached in tram dispute". Though the contract dispute appears to be settled, the scheme will continue to cause massive disruption to traffic and loss of trade.
Friday 20 March 2009
AIG - the finger pointed at Washington and London
AIG was the lifeboat that wasn't when the banks hit the iceberg caused by overlending. This week there has been criticism that some of the AIG fat cats are still to get bonuses. But some say that the real target should be the politicians - CNN - "AIG rage: Washington is just as guilty". Last week some of the blame also went to the Las Vegas of the financial world - ABC - "AIG's Small London Office May Have Lost Big" TPM - "The Rise And Fall Of AIG's Financial Products Unit" CBS - "AIG Employees Left To Clean Up Mess".
Car manufacture plummets down
BBC - "UK car production in record drop" SMMT press release - "Vehicle production figures for February".
What is not made clear in the story or in the SMMT press relaese is how much of British manufacture of vehicles is based on exports. In February the domestic sales of cars and commercial vehicles combined was only 14,500 (down 67% on a year earlier), while export sales were 51,000 (down 58% on a year earlier). The implication is that most of the 34 million vehicles on Britain's roads are imported.
Big is beautiful - CNN - "Bernanke defends big bank bailouts".
Sundry stories - Nevada - "Legislators skeptical of toll road bill" Washington State - "Traffic is down, so tolls may rise" Georgia - "THE VENT" Florida - "I-595 toll-lane construction project will snarl traffic for years" West Virginia - "Chafin files FOIA over turnpike" Texas - "Metro board delays vote on HOT lanes plan" New Hampshire - "Official denies toll idea" New Hampshire - "Fight continues for less tolls in town".
More on Connecticut possibly reinstating tolls - Nashua Telegraph - "Conn. wants input on end to free rides" MSN - "Transportation board looks at Conn. toll issue" Stamford Advocate - "Board wants public hearing on tolling".
More on San Francisco "congestion pricing" - Opposing Views - "San Francisco Plans to Tax Rush Hour Drivers".
Massachusetts tolls stories, mainly on a delay to gas tax and toll hikes - Worcester Telegram - "Toll hikes flip-flop" Republican - "Turnpike revisions considered" Boston Globe - "Leaders agree to delay toll hikes" Milford Daily News - "Local reps react to Patrick's toll hike delay" Boston Herald - "Gov. Deval Patrick slams brakes on Pike hikes" Metro West - "Reprieve from a Pike hike?" Boston Globe - "Toll hike averted, but...".
A bit on the Pike debt - Wicked - "House proposes change in Turnpike disclosure".
If the MTA could cash in all the words written about its crisis, it would not need a bailout! One of the reasons for the massive MTA problem is the spend now pay later financial deal that was sold to them in 2000 by Bears Sterns (collapsed in March 2008 and taken on by JP Morgan Chase) - Newsday - "Decisions made 9 years ago put MTA in current fix".
Other stories - NY1 - "State Senate Leader Puts MTA Bailout On The Back Burner" video Daily News editorial - "Answer this letter: High-powered New Yorkers demand state Senate leaders save the MTA" Newsday - "Little progress seen in Albany on MTA bailout" Daily News - "MTA rescue plan may get sidetracked as Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says budget is priority" MSN - "The Three-Card Monte Game, and the Suckers Are Us" NY1 - "State Budget Takes Shape Behind Closed Doors" video Brooklyn Paper - "No to MTA bailout" Queens Chronicle - "No tolls in Senate’s proposed MTA bailout plan".
Review of book on Skye bridge toll war
Scottish Left Review - "The Skye Bridge Story: Multi-national Interests and People Power".
Skye bridge page.
More Government handouts
Northern Rock continued to give out 125% mortgages after the Government takeover -BBC - "Watchdog criticises Rock response".
What happened with Northern Rock is a mere drop in the flood of money that is being released, despite this not a single British news source has reported or commented on the latest money supply figures (see "Inflation fuel" yesterday).
Thursday 19 March 2009
More new e-toll fun
Radio NZ - "Northern Gateway toll problem apparently fixed". One thing strange about this story is that the problem which has been fixed is not one of those previously reported.
USA Roundup - later stories
NY - NY Daily News - "Gov. Paterson blasts New York state Senate for 'hijacking' MTA bailout effort" Politics on the Hudson - "Paterson Pushes For MTA Plan" Gotham Gazette - "With Clock Ticking, Senate Plan Does Little to End MTA Impasse" .
Other - Ohio - "Senate strips down transportation bill" Maine - "York may hire expert help to keep eye on toll plans".
Welcome to Sydney, Cobber
Daily Telegraph - "$75 fee for tourists as rental cars take their toll".
Building empty roads
Courier Mail (Brisbane) - "Costly toll roads won't ease congestion: RACQ".
April fool? "Transport minister will consider suspending tolls at the Dartford Crossing for a trial period"
Bexley Times - "Transport minister takes note of Times toll campaign".
Bit more on Helsinki Mayor tries to resist Con
Helsingen Sanomat - "Mayor Pajunen opposes Helsinki congestion charge".
More roads - more tolls?
Stuff - "The $2b road ahead" NZ Herald - "Govt earmarks 7 road projects" NZ Herald - "Government 'less than honest' about roading plans, says expert".
Deficit starts to balloon
BBC - "UK budget deficit widens further" Guardian Daily Mail - "Darling on the rack as new figures reveal public borrowing for ONE MONTH topped £9bn".
Treasury - "ONS: Public sector finances February 2009".
More Transport Stats
Bus and tram traffic continued its upward trend up to last Autumn - DfT - "Bus and light rail statistics Great Britain: Q4 2008" link to full doc at top right.
More Inflation fuel
The latest Money supply figures have been released today. Not suprisingly the inflationary supply of money has increased to 18.8 % growth (year on year) compared with 17.5% (year on year) growth a month ago Bank of England - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending)
Ken says don't give Bristol people a vote on the Con
Bristol Evning Post - "Livingstone: Leave Bristol transport to the politicians".
America starts printing money - CNN - "Fed buying $300B in Treasurys" Mother Jones - "Helicopter Ben".
This is not so much writing on the wall, as more a sign that the wall has fallen down and is to be rebuilt using mortar made only of sand. America has been a "safe" haven for deposits despite being massively in debt for a long time. Currency speculators will be wondering if they may as well start using bank notes to light their cigars.
The extent to which the Fed as with the Bank of England has already let money supply spin out of control is shown by the latest "Money Stock" figures Fed - "Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.6 (508)13 March 2008". M2.2 (Wikipedia - "Money Supply") was 8,275 billion dollars, an increase over 12 months of 736 billion dollars at a time when the real economy was shrinking.
Connecticut still moving back to tolls - Stamford Advocate - "Panel to act on highway toll report".
While some in West Virginia want to scrap them - WTRF - "Let’s Accelerate the Removal of Tolls".
Sundry stories - New Hampshire - "Gas tax increase makes progress in NH House " Florida - "Orange County Mayor Crotty vows to push for pay cuts at expressway agency" DC / Virginia - "Funding Passed for Widening Of I-66".
Bit more on the MTA bailout - Daily News - "MTA reveals doomsday budget details: Single ride would go up to $2.50, monthly unlimited to top $100" Metro - "Recession Thins Traffic at NYC’s Lincoln Tunnel, G.W. Bridge ".
Drivers slowing down to try and beat Singapore tolls
Asia One - "Video: Motorists in bid to beat ERP".
Surprise as the Cambridge congestion toll duo point out effect on shops
Cambridge News - "Road toll bid 'will put off shoppers'".
The BIG LIE starting to fall?
Reports of a speech to be made today by the man (John Beddington, formerly Professor of "Applied population biology" at Imperial College who specialised in the "application of economics and biology to particular problems in the management of fisheries and other renewable resources") who took over in January 2008 as the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser - BBC - "Global crisis 'to strike by 2030'" Irish Times - "Scarce food, water, energy will bring global mayhem by 2030, says scientist".
It is a promising sign that someone from the establishment mentions the effect of population growth. But that is as as far as it goes for now. Interviewed on the BBC the Professor indicated that there was nothing that could or should be done about population growth, it is all about the ways in which man will have to adapt such as GM food and more reservoirs. Though is a better strategy to have a bigger gun than the next guy?
Wednesday 18 March 2009
What the Monetary Policy Committee said - two weeks ago!
BofE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting 4 And 5 March 2009" pdf . As a bonus and it did not take as long for them to type, here is what the Governor told everyone's favourite people yesterday - BofE - "Finance: A Return from Risk" pdf.
USA Roundup - later news
NY - Newsday - "State Senate GOP wants to work with Paterson on MTA bailout" NY Daily News - "Albany's Maytag Repair Man".
Other - West Virginia - "Four turnpike bills still in committee".
Green wing of the Assembly tell Mayor to introduce more Low Emission tolls
Guardian - "Boris Johnson urged to think again on low emission zone".
Helsinki Mayor tries to resist Con
News Room Finland - "Helsinki mayor attacks government's congestion charge plans".
Australian traffic falls
Daily Telegraph - "Tolls, petrol prices fuel drop in traffic volume".
Coach accident possibly linked to trucks avoiding tolls
Globe & Mail - "Bus crash kills 3 Canadians on treacherous Mexico road".
Wrong side of the river
Surrey Leader (B.C.) - "Surrey hit hard by tolling all bridges".
Official unemployment up
Telegraph - "UK unemployment jumps at fastest pace on record" BBC - "Unemployment passes two million" Daily Mail - "Public sector job numbers soar as unemployment hits two million for first time in 12 years".
More on the MTA bailout, including attacks on those who oppose new tolls - WYNC - "Still No Deal in Albany on MTA Bailout" NY Daily News - "Get serious, Malcolm: Senate Majority Leader Smith delivers a massive turkey of an MTA plan" Newsday - "Senate Dems pitch payroll tax to fund MTA" Democrat & Chronicle - "State officials divided on plans to rescue MTA" NY Times - "Falling Down on the Job of Maintaining Mass Transit " NY1 - "Senate Proposes MTA Funding Plan" reader comments.
Texas toll not so funny - News8Austin (Texas) - "Turnpike authority director talks about tolls" video.
Some animals are more equal than others - MSNBC (Texas) - "Free Ride: Lawmakers, CEOs Get Pass on Tollways".
When the President issued his Budget we were so mesmerised by the nearly two trillion dollar deficit (see 27 February) that we did not notice that the document dealing with Transportation starts - "Commits to better target surface transportation spending and explores options to make the Nation’s communities more livable and less congested, such as through road pricing" - White House 2010 Budget - Transportation pdf.
Surplus on toll road being used to set up more tolls - Atlanta Journal Constitution - "Ga. 400 tolls could have paid tab by now" 11Alive - "When Should the Georgia 400 Tolls End?".
Massachusetts tolls stories galore - Boston Herald - "Let’s all give up coffee, lunch to feed Pike hacks" lots of comments Daily News Tribune - "Editorial: More toll hikes headed this way?" Metro West - "Mihos: A stimulus for the rest of us" Boston Herald - "Custodian sacrifices for fellow Pike workers" Boston Globe - "Measuring Pike reform".
NECN - "Bay State drivers brace for toll hikes" video Boston Channel - "Patrick Slammed On Turnpike Controversies
Critics Claim Nepotism, Patronage At Play" video CBS - "Plans to Reinstate Tolls in Western Mass" video NECN - "Lawmakers grapple with tax talk in Mass." video.
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Fairfield County legislators reluctant to embrace congestion pricing" Florida - "Crotty proposes pay cut for Expressway Authority staffers" Pennsylvania - "We need better politicians" letter "Ohio transportation bill slashed" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRBA to freeze wages, cut jobs".
AIG in the doghouse - CNN - "The road to AIG's ugly, ugly bailout" CNN - "More bonus fallout for AIG, Treasury" CNN - "Lawmakers explore taxing AIG bonuses".
The people at AIG were no more incompetent or avaricious than the rest of the finance "industry" in US and Britain. The only diference is that to a large extent it was them that was shoring up the House of Cards.
Change of direction?
Times - "Limit on garage size reversed to bring drivers back off the streets" BBC (Tuesday) - "Bigger garages 'will clear roads'".
More from the madhouse
BBC - "Curbs on risky banking proposed". Every time there is a financial scandal, it is said that it will be stopped by tighter controls. But the politicians and the regulators are in the same cosy club as those who's habit is to fleece the public and ordinary shareholders.
Telegraph - "Ministers 'to sue' RBS directors over Sir Fred Goodwin's pension". Another case of the poachers being expected to protect the flock.
Daily Mail - "English is a second language for one in seven school pupils". And this isn't Wales!
Telegraph - "NHS targets 'may have led to 1,200 deaths' in Mid-Staffordshire". The worst thing about this is that Ministers are in denial and blame managers. The fact is that Ministers like targets and "payment by results" as they know that they give the illusion of progress, whether it be in healthcare or social work or schools or whatever. In the real world that is invisible to politicians, all of these targets deals with outputs that are not homogeneous. This means that quality suffers while bosses and many professionala get big bonuses and politicians can lie about their policies working.
Telegraph - "University tuition fees 'need to rise to £6,500' ". Really?
Is Greenhouse effect, only hot air?
A German paper published a few months ago, which is being quoted on flat earth sites, but seems not yet to have been debunked by believers - "Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics" pdf. Part of the abstract -
"The atmospheric greenhouse effect .. essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified..."
Meanwhile the news media are continuing to churn out the new orthodoxy with tales of melting ice, flooding of coral islands, species extinction etc. The British scientists are upping the ante - Telegraph - "UK climate change targets 'not tough enough'". Countries like China now want other countries to bear their carbon penalties - BBC - "China seeks export carbon relief". And Gordon Brown even encourages Iran to go nuclear - Tehrran Times - "Brown offers Iran ‘test case’ deal on nuclear power".
Tuesday 17 March 2009
Latest on the MTA bailout
NY Daily News - "Derailed: Pols slam Senate Democrats' scaled-down MTA bailout plan" WNYC - "Paterson: Senate Must Address MTA Capital Budget" NY Daily News - "Paterson Allies Slap Senate Dems On MTA" Reuters - "NY Senate plan halves subway fare hike".
WNYC - "State Democrats Unveil MTA Plan" NY Daily News - "Bloomberg Not A Fan Of Smith's Short-Term MTA Plan" NY Daily News - "Four Amigos Together Again".
Welsh Assembly members still begging to pay tolls with plastic
South Wales Argus - "Severn Bridge payment system 'absurd' - Morgan". What is absurd is the members wasting time on this rather than trying to get the tolls removed.
Bit more on Helsinki Con scheme
Includes suggestion for a local fuel tax rather than tolls - Helsingin - "Congestion charge? Not on my street!".
Response to CBI nonsense
How the highway system is vandalised while money is spent on an inefficient expensive rail system - Transport Watch - "Time To Change Gear".
Cambridge congestion toll "consultation" ends
Hunts Post - "Cambs Congeston Charge - Massive Public Response".
Are you feeling poorer?
Accountancy Age - "Credit crunch costs Britons £40,000 each".
The plan to use new tolls to bail out MTA seems to be nearly dead -
NY1 - "State Lawmakers To Announce Details Of MTA Bailout Plan" video NY1 - "Senate Majority To Abandon MTA Bridge Toll Plan" video NY Times - "Senate Said to Be Mulling Stopgap Rescue of M.T.A." Daily News - "Senate Dems to roll out toll-free MTA bailout lite".
The usual interests still hope to force some drivers off San Francisco roads - SF Chronicle - "'Congestion pricing' unclogs roads, clears the air".
PS Update on the "Los Angeles County Congestion Reduction Demonstration Initiative" - Streets Blog - "L.A.’s “Congestion Pricing” Gaining National Attention".
Another way of reducing traffic - Asbury Park Press (New Jersey) - "State: Eliminate long commutes, join Live Where You Work program".
Sundry stories - Kentucky - "Bunning: No tolls on Brent Spence" Massachusetts - "Mass. Turnpike has yet to lay off workers" Massachusetts - "Pike hires add to ‘burden’" Florida - "Crotty takes another shot at fundraising ban for toll agency" Oregon / Washington State - "Senate Bill 580 would take a 'toll' on Columbia River bridge" Massachusetts - "Lawmakers signal consensus forming for gas tax hike" "Massachusetts governor: No deal on gas tax, tolls".
Bit more reaction to Union wanting tolls introduced to pay for public sector pay rises
Times & Transcript (New Brunswick) - "Union misses point on tolls".
Monday 16 March 2009
Lower but complicated tolls will confuse Japanese drivers
Daily Yomiuri - "Expressway tolls likely to confuse / Drivers concerned over complicated pricing structure of new system".
BBC - "Brown lukewarm on alcohol pricing". As with other "sin" taxes including those on driving, Governments rely on people not reforming. In the case of alcohol, you can bet your money that taxes will have been going up anyway. So it is a mystery why the Chief Medical Officer should mention taxes, rather than recommending a stop to advertising. Or did he realise that the politicians would never accept that? CMO - "Passive Drinking:
The Collateral Damage From Alcohol" Alcohol Concern - "Advertising Factsheet" pdf.
More on Chinese toll fun
Shanghai Daily - "Free expressway far too big an attraction". What this story presumably deliberately does not mention is that the toll paraphernalia has not been removed. Drivers have to queue at toll booths to hand in vouchers.
Motoring organisations worried that new EU lorry tolls will spread to cars
EurActiv - "Congested Europe: How many times will mobile consumers have to pay?".
Gizz us a job? In New Jersey one toll collector last year "earned" $103,922 - The Record - "N.J. Turnpike paid $11M in overtime in '08, down from $13M in '07".
More on using tolls to bail out MTA, together with a report of a decline in number of commuters - Newsday - "Commuter numbers drop on LIRR, LI roadways" Examiner - "MTA fare increase, service cuts inevitable unless Albany acts and FAST" video Daily News - "Smith's doomsday Dems: State Senate leaders must act to save the MTA".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Survey results: Cape Cod bridge tolls" New Hampshire - "Slow down, or lose your transponder".
Washington State - "Roads & Transit" Massachusetts - "Mass. GOP to hear toll, gas tax frustrations".
More on Union wants tolls introduced to pay for public sector pay rises
Times & Transcript (New Brunswick) - "Toll highway talk sparks controversy".
Date for Whitchurch Tolls Increase Inquiry
Henley Standard - "Date set for inquiry into bridge toll rises".
Mayor wants "intelligent" toll system
Times - "Congestion charge may be lower in off-peak". If by "intelligent" the Mayor intends to introduce some form of variable pricing during the day, then the main effects will be that the system will cost more to run and drivers will be confused. It is most unlikely that a significant number of drivers who currently pay the eight pounds charge and who travel in the peak will shift to travelling inter peak to get a lower charge.
PS Various papers have repeated this story including the Evening Standard - "Boris considers bringing in off-peak rate for C-charge".
More on success of Sydney congestion tolls
Daily Telegraph - "Nathan Rees' Harbour Bridge $4 toll clogging suburbs".
9MSN News say that the Government still think that "Time of day tolling 'success' for bridge".
Council back new toll bridge despite the extra congestion
Near Liverpool the plan is to build a new tolled briodge and to also toll the existing free bridge. One result is that there will be congestion in Warrington which will have the nearest untolled crossing. Despite this the Council is now supporting the plan - Warrington Guardian - "Council u-turn on bridge plans".
Progress in Russia
Moscow Times - "Ivanov Says All Federal Roads Will Have Tolls".
More from the Hot MPs
The Environmental Audit Committee have issued another report - Telegraph - "Taxes must rise to pay for climate change, MPs warn" "Pre-Budget Report 2008: Green fiscal policy in a recession" pdf. The MPs say that - "It is disappointing that the wider fiscal stimulus package contains hundreds of millions of pounds for road building and widening." They try to give the impression that taxes on roads users do not cover the expenditure on roads and they want fuel duty and VED increased. For the truth on taxes and spending see - Figures.
Sunday 15 March 2009
Sundry stories - California - "How to ease traffic: higher parking rates" California- "San Francisco Considers Congestion Pricing" audio theNewspaper.com - "California: Toll Road Revenue Continues to Decline" Texas - "Toll Road Riders Bill of Rights".
Saturday 14 March 2009
Psst.. Want a new car Guv?
Times - "£2,000 deal to trade in used cars".
Chinese toll fun
We have said that the official Chinese decision to scrap tolls from 1st January (2009) would have no more effect on those who control the tolls than the previous failed attempt to remove tolls. It now seems that there has been some attention paid to the decision though the toll gates, the toll collection jobs and the queues at the toll gates remain - Eastday - "Traffic jams likely after toll cut".
Sundry stories - Nevada - "Lawmakers seek limits on toll road projects" Kentucky - "House-Senate divide leaves bridges, road ventures in doubt" Texas - "Tolls key part of Hidalgo County loop plan" Ohio - "Corridor Backers Talking Toll Road" West Virginia - "Z-Way was viable option to interchange" Rhode Island - "Plan to install highway tolls in R.I. an uphill climb" Georgia - "Will GA 400 Tolls Come Down?" Massachusetts - "Senate prez insists on reform first".
Connecticut moves further on the road back to tolls - Stamford Advocate - "State committee approves study of electronic border tolls".
More on the fallout from the corruption that was exposed by Grand Jury at the Orlando/ Orange County toll authority - Orlando Sentinel - "3 call for Crotty to step down as head of expressway authority" Orlando Sentinel- "We think: New and better leaders need to overhaul the Xway Authority" MyFox - "Commissioner wants Crotty to step down" video WFTV - "Crotty Asked To Step Down Amid Toll Hike " comments.
More on the trolls trying to bounce politicians into agreeing more tolls to bail out MTA - Newsday - "MTA warns of fare hikes, service cuts if no Albany aid" Staten Island Advance - "Transit 'doomsday' just around corner, the MTA warns" NY Times - "M.T.A. Chairman Makes Appeal to Senators to Pass Rescue Plan" NY Daily News - "MTA details budget cuts for subway, buses if Albany doesn't offer bailout" NY1 - "MTA Debates Doomsday Budget".
Cambridge congestion toll duo deny decision already made
Cambridge News - "'We are not in the council's pocket'".
Humber Toll campaign continues
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Cancer patient backs tolls campaign".
Union wants tolls introduced to pay for public sector pay rises
Daily Gleaner (New Brunswick) - "Toll suggestion irks truckers".
Swazi Observer - "Tolling the Swaziland roads".
Up **** creek and looking for a paddle
BBC - "G20 leaders vow to restore growth" BBC - "G20 ministers meet amid divisions".
Sceptic denies implied increase in deaths caused by Global warming
Daily Telegraph - "Global warming will save millions of lives".
To put into context the death figures, the world population is currently increasing by eighty million a year. Though Malthusian theory would indicate that we are overdue for a global catastrophic check and reversal of growth. Checks include famine, war, a modern plague, or "natural" disaster.
Friday 13 March 2009
Bit more on Japanese toll reduction delays
Daily Yomiuri - "Reduced expressway tolls raise expectations".
From the wonderful town
The mass transit lobby in New York is still pushing for more tolls though it now seems possible that the tolls plan will not be approved. There is an "emergency" meeting today of the MTA, though tolling requires state permission -
Downtown Express - "Silver hopeful on bridge tolls" 1010wins - "MTA Holds Emergency Budget Meeting, May Raise Fares Again" audio Gotham Gazette - "Silver Pushes on MTA Bailout" Crain's - "MTA warns ‘doomsday’ is approaching".
NY1 - "MTA Board, Again, Threatens Fare Hikes Without Albany Aid" video Gotham Gazette - "For Whom the Bell Tolls" Reuters - "New York transit fares may keep climbing: MTA chair" NY Times - "M.T.A. Warns of ‘Dire’ Fiscal Pictur" MyFox - "MTA Emergency Meeting" video.
Newsday - "MTA rescue must be effective - and equitable" ABC - "MTA to hold emergency meeting" video NY Times Editorial - "MTA to hold emergency meeting" NY Times - "Transit Rescue Plan Author Opposes Stopgap Measure" NY Times - "Protest Assails Díaz for Opposing Bridge Tolls" Tri-State Transportation Campaign - "“Diaz, don’t betray our trust / Our people ride the bus”" NY1 - "State Senate Stalls Over MTA Rescue Plan" WCBS - "State Senate Stalls Over MTA Rescue Plan" video.
More on - Malta to hand over roads to private sector
Independent - "Ministry confusion on the road network".
Connecticut is the only State which in recent history removed all tolls (1988) because of fatal accidents at the toll booths and in order to qualify for Federal funds. But the trolls are fighting back and have some strange allies including the "League of Women Voters of Connecticut" who according to their website have been pushing tolls since 1975 "to reduce all vehicular traffic on state roads, especially the interstates" - Hartford Courant - "Congestion Pricing Considered For Connecticut" Connecticut Post - "Legislators urged to embrace congestion pricing".
Sundry stories - Kentucky - "Senate panel OKs transportation authority bill" West Virginia - "Federal dollars fuel Turnpike toll debate" Florida - "Fernandez: Crotty should resign as Xway Authority chair" Illinois - "Tollway Mystery Solved" video Missouri - "No toll hike for Community Bridge" "Ohio Turnpike tolls to rise after Oct. 1" Florida - "Crotty blasted for raising tolls" Texas - "Grand Parkway snarl Use tolls, not stimulus funds".
Preservation charity supports a good cause - Cambridge tolls
Cambridge News - "Watchdog backs city congestion charging".
EU allows Portugal to charge lower VAT on tolls
Portugal News Online - "EU agrees to reduced VAT on Lisbon bridge tolls".
Playing Charades at the DfT
Nottingham Evening Post - "Hoon banned from tram and parking levy decisions". Which Minister okays all this is not an issue as everyone realises that the decision on whether Nottingham gets a truckload of money for trams is linked to whether there will be a Workplace Parking Levy.
South Africa plans to have electronic tolls
IOL - "End of the road for toll plazas".
Stern rebuke to deniers
BBC - "Climate fears 'being realised''" Guardian - "Stern: Climate change deniers are 'flat-earthers'".
Thursday 12 March 2009
Silence is Golden
Madoff and Stanford say as little as possible, no doubt to the relief of those who benefited from the scams - CNN - "Madoff: 'I knew this day would come'" FT - "Stanford refuses to help inquiry as he pleads the fifth amendment".
Wales moving away from Con?
Wales Online - "Cardiff transport shake-up ‘must work’".
Japanese toll reduction delays
Daily Yomiuri - "1,000 yen expressway toll ceiling delayed". The roads were built by Government agencies but privatized in 2005 following corruption. The main opposition party has said that it will remove all tolls.
Malta to hand over roads to private sector
Di-ve - - "Private sector to take over roads". It has not been revealed if there will be tolls.
One in six people believe that interest rates have risen!
The Bank of England has just published its latest quarterly survey (done in February) of public attitudes to inflation - News release - "Bank of England/GfK NOP Inflation Attitudes Survey" link at top right to full 2008 and other surveys.
South Korean MP loses seat for telling voters that tolls will be removed
JoongAng Daily - "GNP’s Yoon loses seat in Assembly".
More DfT stats
"Road goods vehicles travelling to mainland Europe - 2008" links at top right to bulletin and to data. The trend to use of foreign lorries continues, but overall the traffic is down four per cent from 2007.
More on - Traffic light delays may be reduced
Andrew Gilligan says that Boris is not going far enough - Evening Standard - "Go all the way, Boris, and give the green light to naked streets".
A Federal Bill - Government Printing Office - "H.R. 1329" (pdf) - "The Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act", has been introduced into both Houses. It will put part of the tax from a "cap-and-trade climate program" into a "Low Greenhouse Gas Transportation Fund". The fund will be used for mass transit, cycling and to encourage "congestion pricing".
More problems that have come to light at the Orlando-Orange County tolls authority - Orlando Sentinel - "Pressure builds to scrap toll hike, reform expressway authority" WDBO - "OC officials say toll hike used false arguements".
A truckers view on the shrinking Federal Highways Fund - Land Line Mag - "GAO says higher taxes would keep Highway Fund afloat".
The recent revelation that Federal funds for the turnpike had been spent elsewhere has sparked a call for tolls to be scrapped in West Virginia - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Proposed bills would put an end to tolls on the Turnpike " Forbes - "Senate leaders target W.Va. Turnpike tolls" West Virginia - "Not spending funds on Turnpike" West Virginia- "Senator points finger at the Parkways Authority".
One Texan who does not like tolls - Austin American Statesman - "Dixon: Don't let the Legislature take a wrong turn when it comes to transportation".
Sundry stories - New York - "Monserrate Flips On Tolls" Massachusetts - "Lawmakers seek gas tax curb" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA Non-Bridge Projects Move Ahead" New York - "Drastic MTA hikes fare game again" Washington State - "House votes to remove bridge sales tax" New York - "Weiner says exempt city residents from new tolls".
Salik tolls not so open
Xpress4me - "Keeping us guessing: Toll tales".
Singapore tolls come to London - for a day
Asia One - "Singa and ERP are on their way to London".
Bit more on new EU Lorry toll laws
The Parliament - "Mixed reaction to EU-wide lorry charging plan" Allepersberichten - "First phase victory for the 'eurovignette'" EurActiv - "Parliament votes for green road tolls for trucks" Irish Times - "Irish hauliers to face higher EU tolls".
New Town tolls
Oxford Mail - "'Eco-Town will pay for itself'".
Wednesday 11 March 2009
Tory MP opposes Dartford tolls
Bexley Times - "MP backs our bid to axe the toll".
MEPs pass new Lorry toll laws
Reuters - "Europe mountain states win battle to charge lorries" European Parliament - "Eurovignette: Parliament backs "polluter pays" principle for lorry charges".
Hauliers support Cambridge toll - on cars
Road Transport - "Cambridge looks at road pricing".
Sundry stories - New Hampshire - "DOT officials eye E-ZPass speeders" Massachusetts - "Taxes, tolls and slots" West Virginia - "Senate leaders target WVa Turnpike tolls".
Alabama / Florida - "Toll-road realities" Massachusetts - "Gov. Patrick visits North Shore to advocate for transportation bill, gas-tax hike" Oregon - "U.S. traffic jams like Soviet breadlines".
Latest on proposal for tolling and East and Harlem River crossings - Daily News - "We've got their numbers: Five state senators betray a half-million straphangers" Daily News - "Bus ridership booming as transit officials eye route cuts" Daily News - "Albany bickers and Richard Ravitch's MTA rescue plan twists in wind" Newsday - "Stop that toll vote! The magic MTA solution is...." NY Times - "M.T.A. Rescue Plan Stalls in the Senate".
The fact that this proposal has been made shows the power of the Trolls. New York's mass transit (buses and Subway) is booming and crowded. Yet at the same time it is losing vast amounts of money and is to be bailed out. But if the Subway can't cope with existing numbers, the Trolls hope presumably is that drivers will not abandon their cars!
In West Virginia it has been revealed that the State has been receiving Federal money each year for the turnpike, but has spent it elsewhere - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Turnpike eligible for fed funds" Register Herald - "Turnpike boss, DOH official say they weren’t aware of practice" Register Herald - "Who knew?".
Another fiddle to raid Highways money in New Hampshire - Union Leader - "The governor's strange proposal to raise highway money".
A bit more on the Grand Jury investigation of a Florida tolls authority - Orlando Sentinel - "We think: More is needed to reform the X-way and other authorities". On a separate issue, concerns have been raised by the County Comptroller - Orlando Sentinel- "Toll increase raises troubling questions about expressway authority". There is aso this - Orlando Sentinel- "Orange Mayor Crotty Apologizes to X-Way Auditor, Clarifies Remarks".
Traffic light delays may be reduced
Times - "London pedestrians will have to walk faster under Boris Johnson plan".
A Tale of Two City Frauds
Today the Bank of England is to pump more money into the system by buying back Government debt using money that it does not have - BBC - "Bank to use 'newly created' money".
Bernie Madoff is to plead guilty to fifty billion dollar scam - CNN - "Madoff to plead guilty on 11 charges". The guilty plea means that the details of what happened will be kept in the dark. Does anyone really believe that Madoff had no accomplices and that the authorities were unaware of what was happening?
More Global Warming horror stories
BBC - "Threats from ocean acidification" Telegraph - "Household bills to soar because of climate change, claim scientists" Independent - "Sea levels rising twice as fast as predicted" Mail - "Heatwave deaths will quadruple in cities like London by end of the century, say climate experts" Guardian - "Global warming may trigger carbon 'time bomb', scientist warns".
Tuesday 10 March 2009
Drowning in Global Warming hype
Mother Nature Network - "10 Global warming policy recommendations for the Obama administration" BBC - "Sea rise 'to exceed projections'".
Greens attack Mayor
Mayor Watch - "Johnson accused of undermining Government pollution figures". The Greens once again prove that they don't know what they are talking about. The introduction of the charge zones made no noticeable difference to emission levels - in fact they appeared to go up. Even if every car in London was taken off the road and replaced with buses, horses and bicycles, there might still be no noticeable difference in emissions, as most of the emissions that are of concern do not come from transport and the emissions can be blown from one area to another.
Despite financial meltdown the Trolls meeting at the Goldwater Institute still think that its party time - WMI Central (Arizona) - "Transportation forum focuses on public/private partnerships".
E-tollers going too fast (over ten mph) - WCAX (New Hampshire) - "NH could pull E-ZPass from tollbooth speeders".
Sundry stories - New York - "Dilan 'Not Very Optimistic' On MTA Deal, Floats Gas Tax" New York - "Councilman Avella Against East River Tolls" New York - "Weiner Proposes Tolling Non-Residents To Raise Funds For MTA" inc video Massachusetts - "‘Trolls’ at the bridge?" Massachusetts - "He drives to deceive".
New York - "Weiner's MTA Compromise: Tolls For Non-NYers, No Tax" Kentucky - "House OKs toll authority bill" Maryland - "Toll lanes proposed to keep traffic moving" Texas - "Toll road billing continues to take its toll on drivers" Land Line Mag - "ACS of Spain wins toll lane contract in South Florida" New York - "MTA Waits For A Bailout From Albany" Florida - "Orange Comm. Stewart Wants to Rescind Recent Toll Hike".
Sydney drivers using more crowded roads to avoid increased tolls
Daily Advertiser - "Freeway clears as motorists go the free way instead".
Zambia considers replacing fuel tax with tolls
Zambia Daily Mail - "Roads fund body to launch study on toll gates". Zambia is one of the world's poorest countries whose problems includes AIDS and trafficking of women and children - CIA - "World Factbook". No doubt introducing tolls will right Zambia's image.
Darling wants to bail out World
The Chancellor wants to help other countrries - particularly the poorer members of the EU - from the effects of the financial crisis - BBC - "Darling urges funds boost for IMF". Britain currently pays about ten billion pounds a year to the EU and receives from the EU about half of that. Britain is also a net importer of goods to the extent of about forty billion pounds a year. Would it help if we took less of their food and goods and stopped giving them IOUs from the Bank of England?
The Chancellor also refers to 90 million people worldwide falling into poverty. That is just about the net increase in world population in 58 weeks.
Monday 9 March 2009
Massachusetts stories - Boston Globe - "Dissenter in high gear gives Pike board a bumpy journey" Boston Globe- "Gas tax grievances" Boston Herald - "Ask not for whom Deval Patrick tolls...he tolls for we".
Sundry stories - New York - "Exempt New Yorkers From Bridge Tolls, Weiner Says" Alabama - "Traffic on Ala. beach toll bridge declines" New Hampshire - "Gas tax increase is fairer than governor's plan" "Are Tolls On The West Virginia Turnpike Going Away?" California - "New Pricing System Begins For I-15 Tolls".
More e-tolls fun
Northern Advocate - "Toll road a nightmare, says car rental firm".
The authorities are happy as they expected even more people not to pay - Stuff - "Nearly one in 10 toll road trips unpaid".
Politics - "CEP: Forth Bridge and the Humber Bridge - No tolls for one, highest tolls in the UK for the other". We had to look up who "CEP" are - the Campaign for an English Parliament - though perhaps we would be better off south of the border if Scottish no tolls laws were applied in England and Wales!
The BBC this morning interviewed Lord Stern and reported that he and the chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee are saying that more should be spent in the war against Global warming. This seems to follow this letter yesterday to the establishment's paper which was backed by the three main parties - "A green economy is a healthy one". At the same time it has been reported that the army base where soldiers were murdered by IRA was "guarded" by civilians, while British troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq trying to suppress their "insurgents" - Times - "Security guards stood by as gunmen killed Northern Ireland soldiers".
MPs are demanding that people in England and Wales are forced to accept banknotes printed by the Scottish banks - BBC - "Scots 'hurt' by banknote refusals". Britain is the only country in the world where anyone other then the central bank is allowed to print their own money. Did the Scottish banks fail because they ran out of ink? Bizarrely one of the Scottish banks (Clydesdale) which prints its own money is owned by an Australian group who also own the "Yorkshire" bank!
Sunday 8 March 2009
New move in war on drivers
The Government is to force drivers to go slower - Times - "Road speed limit cut to 50mph" Telegraph - "Speed limit on rural roads to be cut to 50mph". Whatever the claimed motive is, lower speed limits will increase congestion and increase the number of cameras that can also be used to enforce a "congestion" tolls system.
More on mileage toll tax - Seeking Alpha - "Do Low Gas Prices Signal Big Bucks on the Horizon for GPS Manufacturers?".
California and the new toll prices that will constantly change - CBS - "Computers Will Change I-15 Express Lane Prices Every 3 Minutes".
It is clear that the California establishment believe that drivers are no better then laboratory rats, but they don't appear to realise that these road tolls will not reduce congestion, instead they will increase death tolls.
Sundry stories - Florida - "Toll bridge traffic, Orange Beach revenue dip" New York - "Make a stand, Malcolm: Senate leader Smith must get Democrats behind tolls" Kentucky - "Toll control" New Jersey - "Transit agencies awash in overtime" Texas - "Stop spending tax funds on toll roads" Washington State - "House Votes to End Narrows Bridge Sales Tax, but Will Senate Go Along?".
Saturday 7 March 2009
Only 8% not paying toll
NZ Herald - "Taking its toll on tax". What a pity that drivers don't realise that if more of them did not pay, then the system would break down and the toll would have to be removed.
In a clever move, the DfT have disguised their latest press release as a joke - The Spoof - "M25 Congestion Charge".
More on tolling of the East and Harlem River bridges and MTA bail out - Daily News - "Bailout possible by Monday for MTA and may mean 1 head's better than 2 in charge" Newsday - "Fire the brass atop the MTA" letter NY1 - "Bridge Tolls vs. Subway Fares" NY1 - "New Yorkers Protest East River Bridge Tolls".
Massachusetts stories - Wicked - "GOP lawmakers blast Patrick’s toll hike, gas tax" Wicked - "Gov. visits Salem to advocate for transportation bill, gas-tax hike".
Bit more on Colorado mileage toll proposal - Grand Junction Sentinel - "Legislator plans bill to base tax on mileage".
Troll gong - McCall (Pennsylvania) - "Turnpike Boss To Get Award From Pretend Advocacy Group".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "State legislators: Back and forth on Turnpike".
Scottish road for sale
Dumfries & Galloway Standard - "Council urged to ‘do a deal’ over access rights".
Cambridgeshire Lib Dems back road tolls plans
Cambridge News - "Road charge wins backing". As the plans come from the Tories who control the Council, it seems that there is no political opposition. The Labour government will be laughing.
End of Humber Toll Increase Inquiry
Hull Daily Mail - "Pledge by toll campaigners".
Bit more on Edinburgh Tram fun
Scotsman - "Tramworks are turning shoppers off Edinburgh' – John Lewis". This is a project, originally to be funded from road tolls, which should never have been started. It is the Edinburgh establishment who pushed for this and they will ensure that it carries on. It is not clear who will pay the final financial bill, but the disruption caused by such schemes will mean that drivers and businesses will anyway pay through longer journeys and lost trade.
More money poured into banking system
The Government is to take over responsibility for £260 billion of toxic debts that were on the Lloyds books, the Government is also increasing its stake in the bank - BBC - "Treasury takes 65% Lloyds stake".
Not only is this more money poured into an almost bottomless pit, it is more lies from the Government aided by the news media. There are no details given of this scheme and on the Lloyds Banking Group site there is no mention of this. All there is are the news releases issued at the end of February which seemed to have involved a conspiracy to pretend that the banks (Lloyds TSB and HBOS which they had been duped into buying) had published their latest accounts.
Given that the financial system is still being run by the same bunch that got us into this mess it is amazing that the Pound and the Stock Market have not fallen even further.
Another story today illustrates the way in which money was squandered by the banks - Times - "RBS payoff row turns spotlight on sport deals".
Friday 6 March 2009
Bit more on Whitchurch Tolls Increase Inquiry
Reading Chronicle - "Transport secretary orders public inquiry over toll bridge fees".
The Haves - Counton2 - "Bad economy hasn’t stopped bank execs from using limos" and the Have Nots - CNN - "Unemployment hits 25-year high".
No New Deal - New America Foundation - "Obama's Timid Liberalism".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Revenue drop threatens WVa turnpike bonds" Washington State - "For whom the 'freeway' tolls" West Virginia - "Authority trying to beat the clock in hiking tolls" West Virginia - "Senate leaders want to divert cash to turnpike" Texas - "Harris gets hefty share of road cash" New York - "Governor Wavers On Grand Island Bridge Tolls".
Massachusetts stories - Patriot Ledger - "Cahill: I will run for governor" Republican - "Gas tax hike a 'non-starter'" Daily Item - "Patrick: No toll hike if Legislature acts on gas tax hike".
An attack on President Obama for not being enthusiastic enough about the LaHood proposal for lots and lots of tolls - Crosscut Seattle - "What is it about mileage taxes Obama doesn't understand?". The attack comes from the Cascadia Center which is part of the Discovery Institute based in Washington State. The Institute is better known for its campaigns against the theory of evolution and appears to be mainly funded by Bill Gates.
PS Related stories -
La Hood rejects the suggestion for an increase in gas tax - Wicked (Mass.) - "Obama transportation chief rejects gas tax".
Against mileage tax - Buffalo News (NY) - "Pay at the pump - Mileage tax idea doesn’t measure up in terms of cost, privacy intrusions".
Colorado considering mileage tax anyway - Denver Post - "Legislator retreads proposal for tax on miles driven" Denver Post - "Give mileage tax program a spin".
More on tolling of the East and Harlem River bridges to help pay for MTA bail out - NY Times - "Senate Majority Courts G.O.P. on Transit Plan" NY1 - "Albany's "Gang Of Three" Oppose Ravitch Plan For MTA" inc video Daily News - "Three Amigos United Against Tolls" Downtown Express - "Silver says bridge tolls are a lesser evil" Queens Chronicle - "Bridge toll battle rages on".
Bit more on Julie of Ark
Given the brainwashed condition of most Australian men, the news media have generally ignored this story, but there is this - NineMSN - "Grandmother facing jail over unpaid tolls".
Humber Tolls Inquiry finished yesterday - Bridge Board still pressing for toll increases
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Tolls case proven ‘without opposition’" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge board: Solid case for tolls hike" Hull Daily Mail - "'No opposition' to toll rise claim" inc video.
Space Age travel
Cambridge News - "New idea in the pod".
Tolls for all
Vancouver Sun - "Region-wide tolls a fair way to pay for bridges".
Back to Normal
Having apparently left the management of the economy in the hands of the wise men and women at the Bank of England who steered the SS Great Britain aground, the PM is gradually returning to more important matters. He referred to "climate change" three times in his speech to the US Congess on Wednesday and today we have this - BBC - "Brown calls for 'green new deal'".
Thursday 5 March 2009
Julie of Ark
The Age - "Go to jail? That's fine, says toll rebel". If Australian men had similar courage then they would not have to put their hands in their pockets so often for the trolls and their collaborators.
Anyone want a new car?
BBC - "UK car sales 22% lower last month". Though fuel prices may go up a bit due to a rise in the dollar price and the continualk fall of the pound - BBC - "Oil price up over petrol demand".
General Motors very poorly - CNN - "GM: 'Substantial doubt' about survival" ABC - "GM Auditors Raise the Specter of Chapter 11".
More on tolling of the East and Harlem River bridges, with cash going to MTA - Press Republican - "Poll: Paterson popularity at new low" NY Post - "MTA'S Budget Woes Take Their Toll On NY" Daily News - "Democrats open to East River tolls - pol" Queens Gazette - "Pols Rally Against Tolls" Queens Gazette - "Smith Stalls Vote On Toll Plan" Queens Gazette - "Bridge Tolls Are Bad Idea" Daily News - "It's up to you, Malcolm: If MTA fare skyrockets, blame Senate Majority Leader Smith" Brooklyn Paper - "In any language, Marty says ‘¡No!’ on tolls".
Massachusetts stories - Cape Cod Times - "Cape bridge toll suggestion ridiculed" Republican - "Eliminating tolls on pike a bad idea" letters Boston Herald - "Bridge toll suggestion draws negative reaction" Republican - "Gas tax splits East and West" Metro West - "Patrick touts his transportation plan in Natick" Boston Herald - "Mass. GOP: Tell us about your tax, toll hardships" Wicked - "Parkway legislators weigh in about Patrick’s tax hikes" Milford Daily News - "Editorial: How to make Boston pay for Big Dig".
More using road tolls to pay for trains - Dallas News - "All systems are go for Denton County's A-Train commuter rail".
"Thousands of motorists using the Chicago Skyway can breathe easy after a potential toll collectors’ strike was temporarily put off". Really? are they putting something in the Chicago water to emasculate its citizens? Medill - "Chicago Skyway workers to enter mediation with parent company".
A bit more that got through the blue pencil about the Grand Jury investigation - Orlnado Sentinel - "We think: Once again, the Expressway Authority fails the public" Orlnado Sentinel - "No new toll roads? Fine by me".
Examiner (Denver) - "Is your toll booth ripping you off?".
The Cycling community are incensed with the suggestion that they should pay something for using the cycle lanes that are funded by road tolls and taxes - Gazette (Maryland) - "Bikeway toll won't pay ICC costs".
Other stories - "New Hampshire House approves gas tax hike" (and more tolls) New Hampshire - "E-ZPass Discount Proposal Fails In House" Kentucky - "Bridge tolls may be part of road authority" Washington State - "Lawmakers Trying to Restrict What Bridge Tolls Can Be Used For" Texas - "TxDOT spending proposal draws fire".
The Observer (Ontario) - "Local border traffic plummets ".
Boris begs Americans to pay London Toll
"Boris Johnson urges Obama to make US embassy pay £3m C-charge fines".
EU uncertain on road tolls for cars
European Voice - "Congestion charging plans face opposition".
PS Some opposition to plan for more lorry tolls - The Parliament - "MEP clashes with rail bosses over EU truck tolls".
Update on Going for broke
BBC - "UK interest rates to fall further"
The Government is like a gambler who has lost his money and is now betting his wife on a double or quits bet. Unfortunately the dice are loaded and if the gambler had any brains, he would find a new past time before he loses all.
PS The Bank of England have cut interest rates to one half of one per cent and are also to in effect print another seventy five billion pounds and throw them into the system from their helicopter- BBC - "UK interest rates lowered to 0.5%"
The Old Lady must either be mad or bad or even both. It was an out of control money supply and the spivs who gained from it who got us unto this mess as the bubble started to burst in Britain and America. They are in effect throwing more money onto the fire. This might be reasonable if it was done in a directed way such as removing tolls and "congestion" charges which hamper local economies or by cutting employer's national insurance contributions so the cost of labour falls. But instead of that the Bank continues to squander money in an indiscriminate way. A large part of this will go into asset inflation which we need like a hole in the head. Another large part will go into imports, but as we are already importing more than we export and as interest rates are almost zero, there are likely to be further falls in the value of the pound.
Humber Tolls increase Inquiry due to finish today
Grimsby Telegraph - "Closing day of tolls inquiry" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Final evidence heard in bridge inquiry".
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge Board sabotaged its own toll cut plan, inquiry told" Hull Daily Mail - "Business leaders: 'Tolls damaging'" Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge inquiry: Call over debt" Grimsby Telegraph - "Bridge inquiry - day two" Grimsby Telegraph - "Second day of Humber Bridge inquiry begins" inc video".
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "'Bridge board could cut the tolls'" Hull Daily Mail - "Council tax increase if toll rise refused" inc video.
Tyneside stops looking at road tolls
Journal - "Wheels fall off £2m congestion scheme".
Cambridge still looking at road tolls
Cambridge News - "Blackmail claim over road toll funding".
To be more correct the County Council are not "looking" at road tolls, they intend to go ahead with them, it is just that they are still at the phoney consultation stage.
Bit on Helsinki Con scheme
Helsinki Times - "Finnish government sees six-euro congestion charge cap".
Authorities claim that Sydney congestion tolls are working
Courier - "Bridge motorists change habits".
There were apparently 8,415 extra off peak trips over a fortnight. That's less than 600 a day!
Brisbane bridge toll to cost $4 million a year to collect
Courier Mail - "Hale St bridge takes extra $4m toll".
Another report on the ex Private toll bridge deal
Aldergrove Star - "Province jettisons P3 model for new Port Mann Bridge".
Abu Dhabi moves towards Con
The National - "City motorists drive towards access fee".
Wednesday 4 March 2009
Humber Tolls increase Inquiry continues
Today is the second day of the Inquiry into a proposed increase of the Humber bridge tolls this is our submission (pdf).
Bit more on - A year away from no tolls, or forever?
St Mary's Star - "M4 tolls to disappear".
Tuesday 3 March 2009
It's a Mad Bad World
BBC - "Government to 'prop up' PFI deals" Reuters - "Government may raise borrowing to help fund PFI projects".
PFI is a Government scam to get spending out of their books even though the schemes benefit various quasi banks at the expense of workers and taxpayers. It has been used on various toll schemes including the Skye bridge, the Severn Crossing and the M6Toll. It is also to be used in planned new tolls on Tyneside and Merseyside. Now we have the ludicrous situation where the Government will be propping up the "private" financiers.
EU prize for Trolls
Stockholm gets European award for "Car tolls and cleaning up the water" - European Parliament - "Swedish MEPs welcome Stockholm's "Green Capital" award".
Humber Tolls increase Inquiry starts
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge tolls inquiry ends for day" Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge inquiry: Board makes plea for toll increase" Grimsby Telegraph - "Views on toll abolition will be passed onto Government, promises planning inspector" BBC - "Bridge toll rise inquiry begins" Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge inquiry: Protesters gather outside" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Evidence on bridge tolls to be heard today".
Chronicle Herald (California) - "Variable pricing on bridge tolls may cut traffic — for awhile".
The idea of variable pricing was dreamt up by trolls who thought that drivers should be treated like laboratory mice and rats. In the real world tolls that change with congestion only confuse people. Some drivers will just give up and take a longer road, but most drivers will ignore the dollars and cents that are being invisibly taken from them. As one driver says - "I just go when I need to go". But, then, perhaps the real purpose is not to reduce congestion but to more invisibly suck money from drivers.
More on tolling of the East and Harlem River bridges, with cash going to MTA - Gothamist - "East River Toll Plan Outcry Prompts MTA Finance Audit" Newsday - "Senate Democrats stall hopes for state's MTA bailout" Poughkeepsie Journal - "Senate Democrats want transit authority audit" Metro - "Straphangers dealt big blow in Albany" Daily News - "State Democrats question credibility of MTA business data" Newsday - "Toll plan followup: Skelos whacks Smith over inaction" NY Times - "Helping the M.T.A., Ravitch Takes a 3rd Turn as Fiscal Savior" Newsday - "Taking a toll: East River bridge fight revived".
Another state with a proposal to use tolls to pay for trains - Denver Post - "Tolls possible for Peña Blvd.".
Massachusetts stories - Boston Herald - "A Bay State of confusion" Salem News - "Our view: Voters must demand reform before new taxes, tolls" Eagle Tribune - "Our view: 'Carbon fee' is just another tax" Republican - "Gas tax plan prompts dismay" Boston Herald - "Please tax us more!" South Coast Today - "Taxpayer group wants bigger gas tax hike" Boston Globe - "Businesses endorse 25-cent gas tax hike" Republican - "Western Mass. legislators oppose 19-cent gas tax increase; some say they'd support a lower rate" Wicked - "Biz groups call for 25-cent gas tax hike, labor witholding support" Eagle Tribune - "Local legislators oppose Patrick's gas tax hike".
Other stories - Wisconsin - "Editorial: Toll roads worth discussing" New Hampshire - "Unfair toll taking: Pass on E-ZPass change" West Virginia - "Four-Bit Tolls?" video Colorado - "GOP senators call on Ritter to veto budget reform bill" Florida - "Expressway Authority Director Making $246K Per Year" North Carolina - "Poll: NC majorities opposed to tolls, per-mile tax".
Cambridge News - "See roads crisis team in action". The experts appear not to be experts on roads or on transport, but on recommending congestion charging.
"Inconvenient truths: Don't believe the greenwash"
Bit more on the ex Private toll bridge deal
Abbotsford News - "Port Mann plans change" Surrey Now - "Port Mann P3 falls through".
Looking on the bright side
BBC - "Northern Rock makes £1.4bn loss".
The report says that the bank "was ahead of target in repaying the £26.9bn loan from the government, having reduced the amount it owed by £18bn to £8.9bn." It also says that the bank is to offer "£14bn of new lending over the next two years".
What is not said is that "Total equity attributable to equity shareholders" is now negative (£410 million). Nor does the report say that of the £104 billion of liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheet only £21 billion is for "Customer accounts", so this ex Building Society is still relying on various forms of securities to feed the mortgage market. Nor does the report mention that the Board of this Government owned company had pay and benefits in 2008 of £4.4 million (up from £3.5 million in 2007). So much for reform. Northern Rock company info.
Monday 2 March 2009
The FTSE is down again. It now "stands" at about 3640 as against 4434.2 at the end of December 2008 - BBC - "Stocks rattled by financial fears".
This fall so far this year (two months) works out at nearly 18%, and comes on top of last year's record 12 monthly fall of 31%. The cumulative fall over 14 months is 44.5%. It is increasingly clear that the asset inflation which largely went into house prices has almost bust the rest of the financial system. The problem is that the people who got the world into this mess are still in charge and the only thing that they know how to do is to make money - largely by printing it for their own benefit.
More on Edinburgh Tram fun
Edinburgh Evening News - "Helen Martin: Back to basics is the way forward" Sunday Herald - "McCHATTER: Edinburgh loath to raise white flag in face of constant bombardment".
Another record broken
AIG has beaten the record for a quarterly loss having succeeded in losing $62 billion in the last quarter. To mark the achievement the Government is to give the financial insurer another $30 billion on top of the $150 billion it has already been given - CNN - "AIG suffers $62B loss, bailout revamped" ABC - "U.S. to Give AIG Another $30 Billion 'As Needed'".
PS BBC - "US stocks slide to 12-year trough".
Reading Cons Con plans
Reading Evening Post - "Town’s congestion plan sparks alarm". The people in West Berkshire are right to be worried, it seems fairly clear that the local Conservatives support Labour led Reading and are going to sell their own constituents down the river.
Massachusetts stories - Boston Herald - "Business groups call for 25-cent gas tax increase" Boston Globe - "Logan parking costs may soar - Governor proposes adding $2 'carbon fee'" Boston Globe - "Business groups expected to unveil transportation reform plan" Republican - "Auto chip fuels roar of reaction" Eagle Tribune - "Local legislators oppose Patrick's gas tax hike" Salem News - "Nothing to fear ... but more taxes" letter Republican - "Gov. Deval L. Patrick takes transportation plan to the public" Boston Globe - "Selling the gas tax" NECN - " Patrick works to sell gas tax hike" video.
Some reaction to the probability that the East and Harlem River bridges will be tolled to increase mass transit subsidy - Brooklyn Paper - "Is the Beep all honk and no gas on bridge tolls?" Gothamist - "City and State Officials Decry East River Toll Plan" NY1 - "Lawmakers Voice Opposition To Bridge Tolls" video Globe St - "Lesser of Two Evils May Rescue MTA" Lower Hudson - "Senate Dems oppose toll plan to close MTA funds gap" Daily News - "Slapping $2 fee on East and Harlem River bridges would hurt working class, say foes".
Other stories - Maryland - "Critics say why E-Zpass fees don't cut it for them" New Hampshire - "Toll discount doesn't appease Merrimack".
More on Humber tolls increase inquiry which starts tomorrow
Grimsby Telegraph - "Protest march over bridge tolls - view on video" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "We're behind you all the way" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Show of unity by anti-toll campaign" inc video Hull Daily Mail - "United in protest against bridge tolls".
Sunday 1 March 2009
Mail is target for the vandals and spivs
BBC - "Mandelson turns on mail critics ". The Post Office Pension Fund is in a mess because the employer took a "holiday" from contributing to the fund from 1988 to 2001. The main Post Office business is in a mess because of the privatisation of most of the business mail, with the Post Office forced to do the delivery work for a fraction of the price that it used to get. Or to sum it up, the Post Office is a good example of how British assets and services have been run down due to greed and sacrificed on the altar of competition.
More eyes on us
Daily Mail - "Motorway cameras let police and MI5 track all car trips across the country". This story demonstrates that whatever the original purpose is of cameras, they will ultimately be used for surveillance.
Massachusetts stories - Republican - "WMass asked to pay for sins of the East" Milford Daily News - "Time to take down the Pike tolls" Boston Globe - "Aloisi's truth won't set anyone else free" Boston Herald - "Cape Cod business leaders blast toll proposal".
Other stories - Colorado - "Don’t add tolls; remove one we have" Virginia - "How to finance roads? Variable tolls and private dollars" New Hampshire - "Potential hike in gas tax gets mixed reaction" California - "Pelosi vow: Stimulus will help S.F.'s Doyle Dr." California - "Doyle Drive work may start this summer with stimulus money" New York - "Senate Dems Consider Toll Over East River Bridges" inc video
Colorado - "FASTER bumps through House" New York - "Legislature Works on Deal for $2 Tolls on East River Bridges" Oregon / Washington State - "Cooling off bridge critics".