MAY 2009 NEWS
Saturday 30 May 2009
While Europe is encouraging drivers to scrap their old cars, America is trying to keep them on the road - CNN - "Tips on keeping your car longer".
Possible revolt in West Virginia - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Leaders: ‘Shame on’ authority" Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Residents aim to stall toll hike" Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Whatever became of idea that turnpike tolls would end when debt was paid?".
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "I-80 toll bid makes U-turn" Florida - "Cash-strapped toll agency adds monthly fee" New York - "Local spans drawing less traffic" Massachusetts - "Options debated as toll hike deadline looms".
BBC - "The Arctic's oil reserves mapped".
European part of GM "rescued"
CNN - "2nd UPDATE: Germany Selects Magna As Partner For Opel
" BBC - "UK jobs hope as GM deal agreed".
Friday 29 May 2009
Pennsylvania - "Legislators denounce I-80 toll plan" Massachusetts - "Pike needs money, but how?" Washington State - "Puget Sound Regional Council proposes tolls for transportation improvements".
More on Reprieve
Inside Costa Rica - "Legislators Demand Caldera Highway Be Finished Before Charging Tolls".
How parties stand on Cambridge Con
The Hunts Post asked parties taking part in the European elections various questions including what their policy was on congestion charging in Cambridge. UKIP said that they opposed it. Labour said "No. We regard it as a tax on poor people.". Lib Dems gave a long answer which boiled down to that they support the scheme. The Tories tried to avoid the question, but it seems that they also support the scheme (or at least those in power do).
An expensive trifle
BBC - "Scrap scheme boost to car sales". There are 28.5 million cars, so sales of 35,000 is a drop in the ocean (0.1%), and some of those sales would have happened anyway. Worst of all is that the scheme will have most effect on the sales of new cars at the bottom end of the range - and these cars are mainly made abroad.
Sydney congestion tolls seem to have little effect
ABC - "Harbour tolls make small dent in peak traffic".
Thursday 28 May 2009
Lorry traffic to Europe is down 19% compared with a year ago - DfT - "Road goods vehicles travelling to mainland Europe - Q1 2009".
Another Euro Toll threat
Guardian - "Europe eyes transport for next big emissions cut".
NWCN (Oregon) - "Bill would make Portland a testing zone for 'congestion pricing'".
Massachusetts stories - Wicked - "Senate, governor continue tango over transportation funding" Fox - "Murray: no toll hike" video.
Boston Globe - "Deadlines loom for MBTA, Turnpike"p; Boston Herald - "Tunnel ticket spree" Eagle Tribune - "Senate vows to prevent toll hikes slated for July 1" Boston Herald - "Tolls on table down the road" NECN - "Animosity growing over transportation reform in Mass." video.
Wicked - "After 'congenial' meeting, Patrick says no reforms means toll hikes" CBS - "Speeding Tickets on Pike Accelerating" video Boston Globe - "Senate president promises reforms, funding to avoid Pike toll hikes" lot of comments WCVB - "Beacon Hill Fighting Erupts Over Toll Hikes" video WCVB - "Beacon Hill Fighting Erupts Over Toll Hikes".
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Time running out fast for tollway scofflaws" Georgia - "McDonald’s offers free Ga. 400 tolls" Fleet Owner - "Trucking would benefit from tolls bill" West Virginia - "Ups and Downs of Highway Politics".
The Trucker - "ATA announces support of bill to prevent adding tolls to existing roads".
More tolls despite "leakage"
Modern Ghana - "Road tolls to be increased".
Tolls in the third world
In a speech by the "Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan" to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Oslo it was said that "Illegal road tolls set up by the police are being dismantled.". Is this to make way for "legal" tolls?
Wednesday 27 May 2009
Tories will not say what their roads toll policy is before Cambridgeshire elections
Cambs24 - "Voters Left In The Dark Over Tory Intentions On Congestion Charges Says PACCA".
PS The Commission who are expected to recommend tolls have announced the last of their public hearings - Cambridgeshire Transport Commission- "June Public Hearings Announced".
the Newspaper.com - "Transportation Secretary Endorses Anti-Car Agenda - US Transportation Secretary says coercion and government intrusion will be used to force people out of their cars.".
Truckers prefer fuel taxes - Newswire - "ATA Supports Bill to Limit Spread of Tolling On National Highway System".
Sundry stories - West Virgina - "Turnpike decision looms" New Hampshire - "Not enough votes to override gas tax veto" Massachusetts - "Pols weigh toll hike on top of sales tax bump".
Massachusetts - "Toll equity: Root of the problem lost in the exhaust" Land Line Mag - "Senate bill would keep federal highways toll free" Florida - "Millions More In Tolls Despite Fewer Drivers" video Pennsylvania - "State may resubmit plan for tolls on I-80".
Police Chief escapes Tolls charge
IOL - "Cop cleared of fraud now eyes job at hand".
Humber Toll report in in-tray
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Transport Secretary public inquiry on bridge tolls".
Big Blue selling road user charging schemes on credit
Guardian - "IBM earmarks $3 billion for Europe, Asia stimulus".
Tuesday 26 May 2009
Road charging boom prediction
Business Wire - "Key Growth Trends in the European Markets for Road User Charging, Congestion Charging, Public Transport & Ticketing and Parking". One interesting bit from this press release is that "Great Britain has the highest number of bridge and tunnel tolls with approximately 22". Actually four of those 22 are on roads, but it just goes to show that Britain leads the way in Medieval practices.
Massachusetts - "'Pike Officials Make Changes To Avoid Backups" video.
New toll bridge ready to open
Surrey Leader - "Golden Ears Bridge opens June 15" CBC - "Golden Ears Bridge to open early" lots of comments.
Monday 25 May 2009
Boston Globe - "The main reason to raise the gas tax".
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Time, money may halt toll bill" "Illinois tollway hopes new signs pay off".
Straits Times - "Lower road tolls in June ".
New News page
The main battle at the moment is against the scheme to build a new toll bridge near Liverpool, and to protect the toll interests to also toll the free bridge using Road User Charging powers. We have now set up a separate news page - new RUNCORN / "Mersey Gateway" News page.
Sunday 24 May 2009
Bit more on death of Alligator deal - Miami Herald - "No bids found for highway robbery deal".
Pennsylvania looking at lifting tolls when roads are busy to speed up journeys - WWLP - "Toll free holidays on Pike possible" video.
Sundry stories - Louisiana - "Rescue vehicles will pay on bridge" Pennsylvania - "Ask not: the roads will be tolled for thee".
Saturday 23 May 2009
Entertaining the toll queues - Seacoast Online - "N.H., Maine hope for boost in tourism".
Bit more on Connecticut toll study - The Day - "No tolls for thee" Ridgefield Press - "Frey says tolls talk appears dead for this session".
Bit more on proposed W. Virgina toll increases - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Toll hike meets opposition".
Sundry stories - "Oregon legislators support new taxes for roads".
Friday 22 May 2009
More on Reprieve
Inside Costa Rica - "Ombudsman Investigating Santa Ana Tolls".
Journal of Commerce - "Legislation Would Ban Federal Highway Tolls".
Mother Jones - "Highway Privatization: A Dead End?".
More on Pike toll delays - Republican - "Turnpike picks a new director" Boston Herald - "Senate puts pinch on Pike" NECN - "Report recommends how to ease Mass. Pike traffic" video.
More on proposed West Virginia toll increases - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Opinions on toll hike to be heard today" Bluefield Daily Telegraph - "Timing of toll hearing questionable" Register Herald - "Authority lambasted at Beckley toll hearing".
Connecticut tolls study filed in bottom drawer? The Day - "State's transportation study finished, but no decisions made" Connecticut Post - "State board sidesteps toll debate".
The report - "Connecticut Electronic Tolling and Congestion Pricing Study" pdf 19Mb!!! Tolling Study Comments.
Sundry stories - Maine - "Firm to present York toll study on June 16" New Hampshire - "Raise the gas tax now or pay much more later" Georgia - "DOT panel revives talk of new toll lanes for Ga. 400" "Texans are given the TTC Shaft".
Manchester Council boss still pushing tolls
Lancashire Evening Post - "Chief predicts road charging".
Proposed change to ERP
Today Online - "Distance-based ERP charges on the way?".Perhaps the Singapore trolls think that this is logical, but isn't a fuel tax the best distance based road charge?
It seems that based on fuel sales the Japanese are driving about 20% more due to the recent reductions in tolls. Part of this will be a one off effect due to the releasing of pent up demand for drivers making long distance trips for holidays or to visit family and friends. But what the Japanese should now do is completely remove tolls and increase fuel taxes, thus encouraging the move to greater fuel economy.
Thursday 21 May 2009
Pike toll delays - Boston Herald - "Pike mulls ‘toll-free’ holidays" Telegram - "Pike moves to avoid another holiday mess".
Residents keep 100 per cent rebates -Queens Chronicle (NY) - "Rebate victory, the first in a long battle".
Almanac (Cal.) - "Emergency responders get toll-violation tickets".
Examiner - "Why you will not save money driving a hybrid or an electric vehicle".
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Tolls board makes no recommendation" Texas - "Hutchison introduces bill to ban new tolls on federal highways".
New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Ballard, Rendell Conflicts Intensify At DRPA" Florida - "Stuck on a Road to Nowhere Until Improvements Come" New Hampshire - "Council hikes I-95 toll"
Texas - "It's all about fairness to taxpayers, drivers" West Virginia - "Parkways Authority Continues Public Hearings".
West Virginia - "Residents blast toll hikes" Land Line Mag - "Oh, snap! Bidders leave Alligator Alley lease on the table" Connecticut - "State panel to act on border toll study this morning" Washington State - "Gregoire Signs Second Narrows Bridge Bill".
The RAC are helping to encourage drivers to hand their money over to the M6 Toll Company. Also helping with this sales promotion is Vicki Butler-Henderson, presenter of Fifth Gear - Westmorland Gazette - "RAC takes the 'toll' out of bank holiday motoring".
More DfT Stats - Report on parking
"Public experiences of and attitudes towards parking".
One interesting result is that the cost and availability of parking has nearly as much affect on travel as does the price of petrol.
Where is all the money going
Broad Money supply is high to meet the Government's aim of inflating MP's assets as much as possible. But stangely, despite the helipcopter money, the growth in Broad Money is declining, with the annual growth rate in April being "only" 17.4%. Could this be a sign that the lions are already overfed and the banks are suffering from indigestion? Bank of England - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending)
Wednesday 20 May 2009
Newspaper.com - "New Administration Continues Bush Toll Road Push" Stateline - "States roll out plans for 'smarter' roads" Greater Greater Washington - "15 cents a mile for no traffic?".
Alligator Alley privatization is dead -Naples News - "Editorial: Alligator Alley ... state must avoid potholes on next drive to privatize" News Press - "Alley to remain in FDOT hands".
Two stories of toll fines - UPI - "Mystery fines tied to stolen plates" Philly - "Hoosier license tags travel, owner doesn't".
Bill Gates's website still toll pushing - "A Seamless Automated Tolling System For Central Puget Sound's Highways".
Sundry stories - Texas - "Dallas City Council panel picks preferred route for Trinity toll road" West Virginia - "Turnpike toll hearings begin" "North Texas Tollway Authority to lay off 25 toll collectors" Washington State - "Transportation Commission to discuss tolling studies and Ferry fares" New Hampshire - "Gas tax fair way to fix roads" letter.
Herald - "Call for summertime toll cut in Port Tunnel".
"Time to Abandon Road Pricing Concept, says ABD"
ABD Press release.
Minutes of last Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
Bank of England (pdf file).
Quote from one MP saying what his food claims were for - "I treated it as covering things like the congestion charge, which can’t be claimed for directly." - Daily Post - "North Wales MP's expense claims".
Tuesday 19 May 2009
Tolls Inquiry starts today
BBC - "Mersey crossing inquiry to begin" Our RUNCORN / "Mersey Gateway" page.
Monday 18 May 2009
Mayor proposes more tolls
As well as bringing in mini Low Emission Zones, his long term plan is that as the London population inceases by another one million people he may "manage travel demand" through "pricing incentives" including "road pricing and other potential charging regimes". He is still committed to removing the western extension of the Con zone - Guardian - "Boris Johnson may revive low emission zone plans" Mayor's press release "Mayor’s Transport Strategy" pdf. Comments are invited by the Mayor.
Penny protest - stories from Staten Island Advance with lots of comments - "Staten Islanders stage protest against rising Verrazano Bridge tolls" "Staten Island drivers protest against Verrazano Bridge tolls" "Staten Island penny-protest planned on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Turnpike Users Can Take Turns Asking Questions" West Virginia - "Turnpike hearings to focus on hikes" Illinois - "SOS: How do I resolve problems with Illinois Tollway fines?".
Tories ready for turning?
Edinburgh Evening News - "Tories ready to bring back tolls for new Forth bridge". The Scottish Trolls have succeeded in suckering the Scottish Government into believing that they need to build a bridge costing several billion pounds. They could have a solid gold bridge for that price, and there is no way that any likely level of tolls could do more than make a token contribution. The Government should instead find a new set of advisers. Our section on a new crossing".
Aladdin's lamp scheme starts
BBC - "UK car scrappage scheme launches ".
Sunday 17 May 2009
FT - "Detroit in distress".
Some senators want to stop Federal funding where a road is privatised - Journal Gazette (Indiana) - "Bill sets penalty for lease of road".
Rant Rave - "Higher Taxes Make People Happier?".
Sundry stories - Oregon / Washington State - "$4 billion: Too much for this?" New Hampshire - "Pro: Raise gas tax now or pay much more later".
A peek at the Shape of Things to Come
The Transport Committee of MPs meets on Wednesday for an evidence session on "Major Road Networks". There are six witnesses, from - the Institute of Civil Engineers, University College London, Highways Agency, Local Government Association, County Surveyors' Society and "Mersey Gateway". The latter is behind a scheme which involves a private operator building a new toll bridge at Runcorn near Liverpool. To make sure that it gets customers, the operator will also put a toll on the existing free bridge. Is this a sign that MPs are going to encourage roads privatisation and tolls?
A Public Inquiry on the "Mersey Gateway" scheme starts on Tuesday. A coincidence?
Living dolls in Indonesia
Scotland on Sunday - "Drivers jockey for position as gridlock worsens".
The Times touts tags
"Technology could stop speeding and crashes".
Saturday 16 May 2009
Bit more on Trolls wanted
From the website of Jane Tomlinson who is leading the campaign for the removal of tolls on the Swinford bridge across the Thames at Witney (in David Cameron's constituency) - Scrap the toll.
Jane is encouraging people to email David Cameron and two of people at Oxfordshire - Councillor Ian Hudspeth and Steve Howell, the Council's head of transport.
Key to low inflation is making people believe that it is so
Bank of England - "The formation of inflation expectations: an empirical analysis for the UK" pdf.
Some typical logic - it is worth paying higher tolls in order to reduce the queues caused by - the tolls - Editorial in Foster's Daily Democrat (NH) - "Full-speed tolling makes perfect sense and cents".
Christian Science Monitor - "Courts divided on police use of GPS tracking".
Sundry stories - Land Line Mag - "Pennsylvania lawmakers renew effort to toll I-80".
The Devil comes to China
Xinhuanet - "China's unhealthy and unhappy car culture".
Indonesian toll increases
Jakarta Post - "Jasa Marga confident on tariff hikes plan".
Friday 15 May 2009
La Hood hands out "congestion-pricing" bribes - San Francisco Chronicle - "Traffic project gets grant to ease congestion" Minnesota - "Grant funds study of toll lanes on Interstate 94, Cedar Avenue" Illinois - "LaHood: NYC’s Congestion Pricing Money Still There for the Taking".
Why would any State be so daft as to upset their voters in exchange for a handful of silver? FHA Press release.
Penny protest - 1010wins (NY) - "Staten Island Motorists to Rally Against Verrazano Bridge Toll Hike" Staten Island Advance - "Staten Island pol applauds 'penny' protest at Verrazano" Staten Island Advance - "Staten Islanders to protest Verrazano Bridge toll increase" comments.
Connecticut drivers not happy, as trolls try to bring back tolls - The Advocate - "Commuters speak out against toll proposals at Norwalk hearing" NECN - "Conn. drivers not thrilled with idea of tolls" video.
Sundry stories - Florida - "Apopka Expressway opens today" Illinois - "Tollway contractors gets more cash, oversight" "Proposed laws would raise Michigan gas tax, vehicle registration fees, authorize toll roads to raise $1.8 billion for road repairs" Pennsylvania - "Transportation Secretary Biehler named chair of Turnpike Commission" Louisiana - "Transportation department details how it will collect tolls on new Leeville bridge" Virginia - "Local leaders concerned about HOT lanes" Washington State - "Toll of new 520 floating bridge will boost Grays Harbor economy".
Fight over who builds toll bridge
Detroit Free Press - "Bridge owner sues, raises racial-bias argument".
Welsh Nats support Con
In their manifesto for the European elections, Plaid Cymru say that "We will campaign for .... congestion charging where appropriate." Plaid are in a coalition with Labour, so this could be a real threat. The two main opposition parties - Tories and Lib Dems seem to say nothing about this, and none of the parties mention the toll that has to be paid to enter South Wales across the Severn.
End of the Earth delayed
BBC - "Ice sheet melt threat reassessed". The BBC must have a unit dedicated to these Global Warming stories which rely on people's ignorance. The current "Ice Age" started about 2.5 million years. It could be waning to an end or it could have 100 milion years to go. Within that Ice Age the last "glacial maxima" was only about 20,000 years ago. A long time compared with our seventy year span but hardly noticeable in the 4.5 billion years that the Earth has been around. For about 90% of that time the Earth has been warmer than it is now. Wikipedia - "Ice age".
A rapid movement towards the norm of warmer temperatures (whatever causes it) and no ice would probably be a problem but this is dwarfed by the definite problem that the Earth is facing and the politicians are ignoring - too many people.
Thursday 14 May 2009
Bit more on more tolls - Bond Buyer - "Oberstar outlines his vision" NY1 - "LaHood Promotes Congestion Pricing, End To Airport Auction Slots" video.
Not enough loose change for New York "congestion" parking - Brooklyn Paper - "Park Smart? More like Park Dumb as high-cost meter cards aren’t even for sale!".
Sundry stories - California - "Bay Area bridges to get more FasTrak lanes" Texas - "Honor system the past with new axle-counting toll system" video Florida - "Regional bridge should be public" Washington State - "Gregoire signs bill to toll 520 Bridge" Louisiana - "New toll bridge to open on flood-prone route to Grand Isle, Port Fourchon" New Hampshire - "Senate Approves High-Speed Toll Plan" Virginia - "Private group to pitch plan for updating Dominion Blvd." New York - "Historically Speaking: Toll On".
ABD say Cambridge traffic has not increased
Cambridge News - "Association says congestion lower, so why charge?".
More on Trolls wanted
Bicester Advertiser - "Toll bridge for sale" Witney Gazette - "Famous 5p toll bridge up for sale for £1.6m" BBC - "Toll bridge on market for £1.65m". There can't be many other businesses that don't have to pay tax - perhaps this idea could spread?
Bit more on Manchester Plan B
Manchester Evening News - "£1.4bn transport deal unveiled". Here is a repeat of link to story yesterday which has attracted 80 comments - Manchester Evening News - "£1.4bn transport boost".
More Global warming hype
From the Beeb - "'Gruelling' Arctic mission ends". Odd that they don't mention that the equipment failed because of the cold, even though it was spring.
From the Doctors - Times - "Climate change biggest threat to humans" Blomberg - "Global Warming May Exceed Infections, Poverty as Health Threat" Lancet Editorial (pdf) Lancet Comment (pdf) Lancet full report (pdf - 19Mb). This is a dangerous report, it actually mentions population growth but only in the context that population growth will make it harder to keep cool!!
Wednesday 13 May 2009
Anchorage Daily News(Alaska) - "Our view: It's a bad time to seek private investment for public projects".
Seattle Pi - "Let's try taxing drivers by the mile, Seattle official says".
LaHood still pushing tolls - StreetsBlog - "A Federal Transportation Bill Is Coming… But When?" Washington Examiner - "Report: Rush-hour tolls would stem traffic, postpone road building".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Limiting the diversion of Pike tolls" Florida - "Outer Beltway given new life by lawmakers" New York / New Jersey - "Port Authority Blames Downturn for Traffic Drop" Massachusetts - "Local reps join battle vs. moving toll monies" Land Line Mag - "Texas House advances transportation overhaul bill".
"Traffic numbers in free fall"
Sault Star - "International Bridge records biggest tumble in its history".
All you ever wanted to know about Inflation
Bank of England - "Inflation Report May 2009".
Manchester Plan B
One of the favorite slogans of the Manchester trolls who tried to force through c-charging was that there was no Plan B. It seems that things have changed - Local Gov - "Manchester gets £1.4bn transport package" Manchester Evening News - "£1.4bn transport boost" Transport Briefing - "Manchester transport strategy replaces TIF blueprint" Railway Gazette - "Manchester’s ‘big bang’ back on" Stockport Express - "Momentous decision backs relief road".
Oxford Times - "Swinford toll bridge up for sale". In any sane and fair country these hated tolls would have been removed long ago. There is no new Act required as the Government and local authorities can already compulsorily acquire any tolled road or crossing.
Toll payers wanted
Business Week - "Reconsidering the German-Danish Bridge".
Tuesday 12 May 2009
Cone games - WBZtv (Mass.) - "Why All The Cones At The Weston Tolls?".
More on mass case against Mass tolls - My Fox - "Lawyer sues Pike over
'illegal' toll tax" video Boston Herald - "Hundreds sign on to sue Pike over ‘illegal’ toll tax" WCVB - "Famous Mass. Lawyer Takes On Turnpike" video NECN - "Case against Mass. Turnpike toll usage" video.
New website - Toll Equity Trust.
Other stories - California - "Bay Area bridges to get more FasTrak lanes" Massachusetts - "Senators eye sales, gas, booze tax in budget bind" New York - "Subway and Bus Riders Will Pay More, but Less Than They Feared" Land Line Mag - "Connecticut considers tolling, congestion pricing".
EU pushing toll tags
Euractiv - "EU pushes for smart tag revolution".
The story says that to protect privacy, retailers will have to "deactivate" tags at the "point of sale". Sounds ideal for tolling if the tags are deactivated!!
"Toll-free Western Ring Route Good For Motorists"
Press release from AA in Scoop.
No tolls and no cars
Independent - "Green light for car ban in heart of the capital".
Toll souvenirs of Singapore
Asia One - "New ERP gantries launched...on coasters, clocks ".
Bit more on Big Bad Bogeyman crawling out of his hole
Cambridge News - "Charge could help business". The story mentions John Bridge and the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce who are opposing the Cambridge road tolls plan. The Chambers and the Confederation of British Industry are of course separate organisations.
Monday 11 May 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
Another step to more road tolls and more mass transit subsidies - Logistics Management - "Transportation infrastructure: Leaked copy of Oberstar transportation bill offers clues to new vision for transportation policy".
MTA agrees the reduced increases - Bloomberg - "N.Y. Transit Agency Approves 10 Percent Boost for Fares, Tolls" NY Times - "M.T.A. Approves Smaller Fare and Toll Increases".
Other stories - Texas - "Checks against toll roads vanish in TexDOT bill" Massachusetts - "Why won't they take credit at tollbooths?".
M6 Toll woes PS
Further to yesterday's story here is a report on the Driver's Alliance site. It include a link to the programme - BBC - "The Politics Show West Midlands" (slide to 48 minutes in).
Big Bad Bogeyman crawls out of his hole
CBI - "Congestion Charging Can Benefit Business, New Research Shows" the report(pdf).
Given the financial nous of the CBI, it is a wonder than Britain is not in an even bigger mess. The report does not attempt to work out the cost of implementing and running a scheme but says that "For the purpose of this analysis a scheme efficiency of 80%, based on the recently implemented Stockholm scheme, has been used." It does not say what daily charge the 80% is a proportion of, and with the London charge costing about £4 to £5 to collect, either substantially underestimates the costs or assumes a charge of about £20 a day - small change for the CBI bosses.
PS Some reaction - The Journal (Newcastle)- "Green light a long way away for road charges".
Ex Pike boss gave his pay to charity!! Eagle Tribune (Massachusetts) - "LeBovidge delivers warning on reform".
Lawyer takes on Trolls - Boston Herald - "‘Civil action’ vs. Mass pike - Famed lawyer takes up fight for toll-payers" WBZtv - "'Civil Action' Lawyer Sues Mass Pike" video.
Virginia consults over forcing poorer drivers off the road - Virginia Pilot - "VDOT: What's it worth to you for a faster commute?".
Sundry stories - Massachusetts - "Gas tax increase is better than raising the tolls" West Virginia - "Toll Increase Hearings Next Week" New York - "Will the Bailout Plan Save the MTA?" Connecticut - "Tell state how you feel about tolls" Connecticut - "Public to have say on tolls this week" New York - "Winners and losers in the MTA bailout".
More private tolls in the land where the Government officially abolished tolls
CCtv - "Guangxi attracts private funding for highway expansion".
Seeking Alpha - "‘Civil action’ vs. Mass pike - Famed lawyer takes up fight for toll-payers".
Toll road not helping
Laestrella - "Expensive corridors are worsening gridlocks".
Sunday 10 May 2009
M6 Toll woes
The BBC Politics show today included a report on the M6 Toll road. Peter Roberts from the Driver's Allinace spoke on behalf of road users. The RHA chipped in an unusual suggestion - the Government should buy one milion free journies for lorries. The one politician who spoke on the issue was against the spending of any public money and said that all would be well if the company reduced their prices. Presumably the company know better than the MP how this will affect their income, and with politicians like this then motorists and hauliers will continue to be bled while the West Midlands suffers from congestion that could esily be removed by removing the toll.
Toll tunnel still leaking cash
Sydney Morning Herald - "Debt reprieve for troubled tunnel".
Illinois - "Is tollway board up for grabs?" Connecticut - "Toll proposals to be discussed at Thursday hearing" New York - "Winners and losers in the MTA bailout".
Saturday 9 May 2009
Buffalo News (New York) - "Toll taker suspended in probe of threats". Toll collecting can be a soft overpaid job, though as this collector says it also carries the risk of "contracting lung cancer or another work-related illness". The real culprits are of course the politicans, but they rarely get held to account for this corrupt inefficient way of paying for roads.
PS By coincidence Federal agents have just arrested the "long-time local leader of the biker gang", who also happens to work for the Thruway Authority - Buffalo News (New York) - "Chosen Few biker club caught in federal roundup".
News-press (Florida) - "Indiana resident says he paid toll, fights $9 Sanibel Causeway fine on principle".
Sundry stories - Oregon / Washington State - "Pro-rate tolls based on residency" letter Texas - "House ire results in mishmash transportation policy changes" Florida - "Jacksonville toll road gets approval of state legislature" Washington State - "Suburban Cities Association stays neutral on I-90 tolling" DC / Virginia - "Highway departments set on HOT lanes".
More on effect of toll cut and Golden Week
Daily Yomiuri - "Toll cut adds to Golden Week traffic /1,000 yen cap on expressways sees 20% more usage; JR reports 7% drop in passengers".
"Beijing retreats on fuel price promise"
NineMSN. Another sign that the trolls have largely evaded the central Government decision to remove tolls and introduce fuel taxes to help conserve fuel and reduce air pollution.
"Car scrappage scheme 'unpopular'"
BBC. Whether unpopular or not, this is an example of the Government trying to give the impression that it is doing something, but being ineffective. Paying people to scrap a still usable car is sheer waste, it would have been better to bring forward delayed car sales by waiving say the first four years VED on a new car purchased now (with car sales later in the year, having the number of years VED saving tapered out). Though the aim - to help British car manufacturers - is a difficult one to achieve within EU and world trading rules, as the vast majority of cars sold in Britain are made abroad.
Friday 8 May 2009
Inside Costa Rica - "San José - Caldera Highway Tolls On Hold".
Humber toll - Minister says Wait
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Toll campaigners told to wait for decision".
Some good news - Wftv (Florida) - "Toll Runners May Get Free Ride Due To Backlog" video.
Sundry stories - New York - "Toll collector suspended for making e-mail threats" West Virginia - "Parkways Authority discusses upcoming hearings on proposed toll hike, buys 10,000 transponders" "Texas House debates TxDOT overhaul, toll roads" New Hampshire - "Raising NH's gas tax is more fair than raising tolls and fees".
Times - "Road tolls less likely as traffic declines" Times - "White van man halted by credit crunch and higher fuel prices".
The Times is of course a big suporter of road pricing. In our view reduced traffic is likely to be temporary and even if it were permanent the politicians and trolls will still try to bleed further money from drivers.
Audit report on road deaths
Times - "Road deaths must be cut further by Government, safety report says" National Audit Office - "Department for Transport: Improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Great Britain" report etc. The cyclist on the cover of the report appears to have gone though a red light. Is this an official endorsement of this practice?
PS The ABD have called for the "full facts and figures for every child death for the last three years to be published, with only the names and personal details of those involved removed .... so that the true causes of these tragedies can be seen and appropriate measures to prevent them reoccurring taken. They suggest that if the Government don't want people to know the facts then perhaps Joanna Lumley can persuade them!
Thursday 7May 2009
Pike boss goes - Boston Herald - "Mass Pike chief drove us crazy until the end" Boston Globe - "Wave maker resigns as Pike chief" Wicked - "Turnpike chief LeBovidge says his contribution not cost justified".
Sundry stories - Virginia - "Hot Over HOT Lanes" New York - "Toll Collector Charged With Threats" video New York - "Toll collector faces judge" video.
More on MTA agreed bail out - Queens Chronicle - "Breakthrough MTA rescue plan: legislators reach accord " Staten Island Advance - "Staten Island's Tobacco loses bid to stall V-N toll hike" Daily News editorial - "Downright lousy: Mass-transit rescue shows Albany at its worst" Daily News - "Albany to the rescue: Legislators derail 'doomsday,' pass MTA".
NY Times - "M.T.A. Rescue Passes, but Impact Is Questioned" NY1 - "In Wake Of Deal, MTA Leadership Remains Uncertain" video Crain's - "MTA rescue plan elicits muted applause" WNYC - "The Tax That Dare Not Speak Its Name" Daily News - "Bloomberg On MTA: 'Not Perfect' But 'Best We Can Get'" Wall Street Journal - "New York Transit Bailout Resolved for $2.26 Billion in First Year".
Kiwi farmers want road charges
Scoop - "Farmers say no to diesel tax".
It seems that drivers of diesel vehicles in New Zealand pay no fuel tax, instead they pay "road charges" - Land Transport - "Road user charges". A bizarre situation when there are various reasons for encouraging less use of fuel. The farmers it seems don't want diesel duty as they don't want the hassle of claiming refunds, though that is not one per cent of the trouble that road charges must cause others. Perhaps if the farmers don't want the hassle they need not claim rebates on any diesel duty!!
More helicopter money
The Bank of England is leaving interest rates at 0.5 per cent, and throwing another fifty billion pounds at the banking system - BBC - "Economy to get extra £50bn boost" News release - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and Increases Size of Asset Purchase Programme by £50 Billion to £125 Billion.
Traffic down, particularly lorries
BBC - "Recession 'hitting lorry numbers'" DfT News release - "Road Traffic and Congestion in Great Britain: Quarter 1 2009" links at top right to details.
Wednesday 6 May 2009
Press Release from "Campaign for an Engish Parliament" - Politics - "The double standards in the way the Government treats England in comparison with Scotland are simply blatant ".
The cost of removing tolls in Scotland was minute. Admittedly the new Forth road bridge is to cost a king's ransom, but there is no way this rip off could have been financed through tolls. The real problem is that some of the Scottish politicians stood up for their constituents, in England (and Wales) they seem to instead be working for the trolls.
MTA bailed out without tolls on East and Harlem River bridges, at least for now as the trolls are mad - Daily News editorial - "Straphangers suffer: Senate Majority Leader Smith's alleged MTA bailout is a train wreck".
Newsday - "MTA bailout resolved for $2.26B in first year" Daily News - "News 'From The Brink Of The Abyss'" Newsday - "MTA bailout deal reached" Newsday - "Businesses, schools, officials blast MTA payroll aid" NY Times - "Lawmakers Strike Deal to Rescue New York Transit" Daily News - "MTA 'doomsday' scenario averted as Gov. Paterson, legislature reach deal" Newsday editorial - "Derail Albany's MTA bailout" NY1 - "Albany Lawmakers Reach Finalized Deal On MTA Bailout" video NY Times - "Lawmakers Strike Deal to Rescue M.T.A.".
More toll pushing - Brookings Institution - "Road-use Fees Could Solve Our Transit Woes".
Sundry stories - Virginia - "HOT lanes construction to pump billions into economy" Connecticut - "Toll consultant: 9 ways to pay without delay" Oregon / Washington State - "Yes, they both cross the Columbia River, but I-205 and I-5 bridges vary greatly".
Florida - "Orlando toll roads may go cashless" Missouri - "Tolls for highway work: An easier pill to swallow?".
Toll traffic down
Independent - "Recession reducing traffic volume on transport routes".
Cyclists Über Alles
CTV (British Columbia) - "Burrard St. Bridge bike lane decision delayed" video.
Some progress towards toll removal
To a large extent the central Government decision (for the second time) to replace tolls with fuel taxes has been ignored, and in many cases even where the tolls have been removed it has been replaced with the farce of drivers having to queue to hand over free tokens. But there is some progress - CCTV - "12 provinces scrap tolls on 2nd tier roads".
"Greens call for Govt to overrule Mayor over LEZ"
Scottish Newspaper trolls still alive and kicking
The Herald - "Unsustainable policy".
Tuesday 5 May 2009
Another call for Dartford Toll to be scrapped to reduce pollution
Kent News - "Scrap Dartford Tolls and let people breathe easy".
Abingdon says No to Con, wants a second bridge so traffic does not go through centre
Oxford Mail - "Second river bridge could cut Abingdon air pollution".
MTA bailout? NY1 - "Tentative Deal Reached On MTA Bailout Plan" comments.
Fox - "Tentative Deal in MTA Bailout" video NY Times editorial - "No Fix for Public Transit" NY Times - "Bailout Plan for M.T.A. Gains Two Essential Votes" NY1 - "Senate Strikes Tentative Deal On MTA Bailout" video Daily News - "Step One: Senate Dems Agree On 'Framework' MTA Bailout" NY Post - "Gov: Let's Deal With MTA Capital Budget Later" NY Times - "M.T.A. Bailout May Omit Capital Project Money" NY1 - "Senate Strikes Tentative Deal On MTA Bailout".
Sundry stories - West Virginia - "More toll roads ahead in W.Va.?".
Florida - "Lee County toll changes on hold for a month, at least" California - "Marin cool to 'Lexus lanes' plan for Highway 101" Florida - "Lee County DOT talks toll raises to offset revenue shortfalls" video Land Line Mag - "Toll hearings this week in Connecticut, Texas" Florida - "Plan would raise tolls with inflation" video Florida - "Audit Shows Out-Of-State Toll Runners Not Fined" video Oregon / Washington State - "Meeting to discuss toll option for Columbia River Crossing Project".
Humber toll - worth waiting
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Call for toll decision after eight-week wait". This and previous Governments have NEVER rejected a call for more tolls, so perhaps the longer the wait, the better.
More e-toll problems
NZ Herald - "Toll system hit by technical issues - again ".
Union still pushing tolls
Northern Light (New Brunswick) - "Highways tolls, reducing double dipping are workable alternatives to cutting civil service jobs: union".
Update on Port Mann fiasco
Cowichan News (B.C.) - "Benefits of P3s hard to see" Tri City News (B.C.) - "Bridging the Port Mann Bridge credibility gap".
Monday 4 May 2009
Sundry stories - Nevada - "Bypass proponents charting a new course" Florida - "Lee County bridge tolls may be on rise".
BBC - "Fiat in talks over GM Europe move" CNN - "Fiat could seek merger, listing with GM Europe" Economist 24 April - "Fiat’s grand plans".
Sunday 3 May 2009
Market Oracle - "The State as an Economic Gangster, a Fistful of Dollars".
Sundry stories - New York - "Paterson Urges Legislature to Pass Quick Fix M.T.A".
"Government 'missing own CO2 goal'"
BBC. A target for 2011-12? We thought that the Government tactic was to double your last target but postpone it till the 12th of Never. If there really still is an imminent target then the Government can probably rely on the main factor that has affected Britain's CO2 over the last decade or two or three - the elimination of Britain's manufacturing industry.
"How to avoid traffic jams in Golden Week"
Daily Yomiuri. The toll reductions and capping have led to more traffic, but drivers may still save time as with the previous high tolls, drivers would take detours to minimise the number of toll barriers they went through.
Saturday 2 May 2009
Public Private Peculation is poorly
Gerson Lehrman Group - "Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure: RIP".
PPP toll scheme dead
The Chronicle (Queensland) - "Toowoomba Bypass plan sunk".
Valley Independent (Pennsylvania) - "Cash crunch threatens expressway completion".
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Road to nowhere Tolls on I-84 would hurt business, place unfair burden on border municipalities" Florida - "Effort to review toll road plans dies in the House" Connecticut - "State will hold local hearing on tolling proposals" West Virginia - "Committee discusses future projects, toll increase issues" West Virginia - "Parkways Authority Meeting in Raleigh Co." video West Virginia - "Turnpike prepares for public hearings" Rhode Island - "Toll hikes sought to finance bridge repairs" New York - "Albany to Review MTA Bailout" video.
Welsh Assembly suggests that most people support Con
"6.9% of people strongly support a charge for driving on congested roads at peak times, and 40.6% strongly oppose the concept. Yet if all revenue were returned to the driver through cheaper petrol or road tax, then 22.9% of respondents would strongly back a congestion charge – with 31.3% tending to support it." - Western Mail - "Social trends revealed by an Assembly Government survey of modern Welsh life" "Living in Wales Survey 2008" pdf (questions on a Con are on pages 15 & 16).
This survey carried out by Ipsos MORI is based on the usual deception where people are given false choices which assume that a Con charge costs nothing to collect, whereas the truth is that in London about half of the £8 is wasted on collection and enforcemsnt costs.
Friday 1 May 2009
"Congestion pricing" for parking - Brooklyn Paper - "Another fare hike! Parking meters go sky high in Slope".
Illinois Tollway finds itself not guilty of corruption - Daily Herald - "Tollway gives itself clean bill of ethics".
Bellevue Reporter (Washington State) - "Cost of new 520 bridge will be toughest on the poor".
Washington Times - "States look for more ways to tax motorists".
Sundry stories - Florida - "Transportation bill may hamper Alligator Alley privatization" Texas - "Toll skippers, get ready to shell out" West Virginia - "Committee discusses future projects, toll increase issues" West Virginia - "Committee discusses future projects, toll increase issues" West Virginia - "Parkways Authority Meeting in Raleigh Co." video West Virginia - "Turnpike prepares for public hearings" Rhode Island - "Toll hikes sought to finance bridge repairs" New York - "Albany to Review MTA Bailout" video.
Drivers want to drive
Jakarta Post - "Car use limitations? Not for now". One reason that there are long queues for the bus is that Jakarta has 8.5 million people, only 50 years ago the population was one million. The problem will eventually be queues for bread.
Suggestion that Japan should remove tolls to stimulate car sales
Bloomberg - "Toyota Leads Japan Sales to Worst April Since 1968".
Swiss don't want road pricing and will keep vignette
Geneva Lunch - "Autoroute sticker here to stay, but fine could go up". The vignette system is sometimes desbibed as a toll, but it is a fixed charge, in effect a supplementary vehicle excise duty designed to tax foreign vehicles.
Ships show the way
Laestrella - "Toll increases lead to boycotts".