NOVEMBER 2009 NEWS
Monday 30 November 2009
Today was the 250th day this year without sunspots, so 2009 is approaching the 2008 figure of no sunspots on 266 days, which was the most spotless days since 1913. The signs are that we are in a "deep solar minimum". Those who preach global warming say that sunspots are not significant, but assuming that they are wrong, we can expect an exceptionally cold winter.
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Proposed I-80 tolls crucial to road projects" Texas - "Last day for toll road amnesty program to come Monday".
A little Humber cash
Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge Board to £3m Government grant payment".
Commission of bankers recommends a Con charge to make people better off
Scoop - "Taskforce: 35 Recommendations to Bridge Income Gap" (see recommendation 19).
Lib Dem tax plans
Today the Lib Dems are to reveal the latest relaunch of their tax plans - BBC - "'Radical' Lib Dem tax plans due".
BBC - "Dubai stocks plunge as debt crisis fears continue".
The effects on stock prices are small, but this story gives a glimpse of the extent to which governments and central banks have encouraged a system based on inflated asset prices and debt. The system needs to be gradually wound down, but is instead being propped up. The question is what will be the quake that eventually brings the whole system crashing down?
PS Dubai is also home to the Salik road tolls, as far as we know the only tolls in the Gulf area. Perhaps a coincidence, or perhaps a sign that tolls have a negative effect.
Sunday 29 November 2009
Toll touts trying to tighten their grip
Sydney Morning Herald - "Transport vision ready, but not the billions" Sydney Morning Herald - "Henry review set to support road congestion tax".
Bikers to join in
NZ Herald - "Agency looks at toll for bikers".
Climate Con boss says car use should be curbed and backs road charging
Observer - "Western lifestyle unsustainable, says climate expert Rajendra Pachauri".
Con for Washington? - Washington Examiner - "Officials seeking study of charging vehicles for trips" Greater Greater Washington - "Traffic on and around WAMU".
Sundry stories - Alabama - "Is building elevated toll road in Birmingham area best use of $710 million?" Alabama - "Why fight Baldwin over toll road path?" Colorado - "Cashless E-470 takes toll on rental-car drivers in the form of fines".
Six per cent don't pay
Radio NZ - "The Transport Agency is collecting tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid tolls from Auckland's Northern Gateway".
Saturday 28 November 2009
Sundry stories - Georgia - "State planning more carefully for public-private toll roads" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Tolls to rise, but DRPA" Pennsylvania - "With so many Pa. roads, why stop at I-80 tolls?" Oregon - "ODOT Considering Portland Highway Tolls".
A fine time
Wynnum Herald (Queensland) - "Unpaid tolls a fine bonanza".
Debunking electric car myth
According to Tranport Watch, a diesel engined car driven in urban conditions loses 72.5% of the energy in the fuel, and petrol engines lose about 81.5%; electic powered cars in urban conditions lose 82.5% of the original fuel energy - Transport Watch - "Facts sheet 5c Electric, hybrid and conventional cars: fuel energy and emissions".
There is obviously scope for more efficient engines, but the most economic way to improve fuel efficiency might be to improve urban roads by reversing many of the measures introduced by the authorities to impede smooth traffic flow.
Bit more on the Hoax
Motley Fool - "The Inconvenient Leak" Prison Planet - "Climategate spells end to the false science of climate change" NY Times - "Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research" Daily Telegraph - "Who's to blame for Climategate?".
Friday 27 November 2009
One strike against TfL
Islington Tribune - "Birds of a Feather star beats bailiffs in battle for family". This case is an exception; the vast majority of people will not have the clout or knowledge to take on TfL at court, and at best will rely on a hopeless appeal to the "Independent Adjudicator".
Dutch toll plan in Parliament
Radio Netherlands - "Road pricing: the minister and the wheelbarrow" Radio Netherlands - "Support for Dutch road pricing plan". One of the essentials for introducing road tolls is that people are conned; not that difficult when most of the MPs are themselves easily duped.
Doubts on Tolls Über Alles
There are reports that the EU policy of road tolls has hit a road block in the Council of Ministers. It seems that those countries on the periphery have now realised that most of the tolls will go to countries at the centre such as Germany.
Attempt by trolls to scare drivers is contradicted
Western Weekender - "M4 report contradicted".
Climate scientists go back to kindergarten lessons
BBC - "Past climate anomalies explained".
It seems that the anthropogenic global warming seers (otherwise known as climate scientists) are getting a bit concerned that people are getting curious as to why temperatures are not rising as they predicted with their models. Unfortunately, as with the Emperor with no clothes, once you have been exposed, there is little chance that you can continue with the illusion.
Some of the heretics are at - "Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change".
Climate legislation chaos
Though most countries are going through the motions of promising massive "carbon" reductions by ten or twenty years from now, the PM of Oz (who is a "friend of the chair" for the Copenhagen climate beano) and the opposition leader are having difficulties with their nomes - Sky - "Aussie MPs Revolt Over Climate Change Laws" BBC - "Australia carbon emissions law hit by opposition revolt" Guardian - "Australia's Copenhagen climate strategy is smoke and mirrors" Sydney Morning Herald - "Turnbull defiant on ETS as MPs revolt".
Thursday 26 November 2009
Tolls not lifted though drivers queue for miles - Boston Globe - "Holiday travelers stall on Turnpike".
Sun Gazette (Pa.) - "Former Congressman wants 'corrupt' commission phased out after push to toll highway". The chance of removing a corrupt or inefficent toll administration is zero.
Where the dollars come from - Trucker - "User fees not getting the highway mileage they used to" Subsidy Scope - "Analysis Finds Shifting Trends in Highway Funding: User Fees Make Up Decreasing Share" DoT - Highways Financs Statistics.
More etolls fun - WFAA - "Some charged double at D/FW Airport tolls" video.
Sundry stories - Land Line - "Illinois uses stimulus clout to finance Tollway improvements" Land Line - "Bay Area tolls to increase for 'earthquake safety'".
Washington State - "Committee continues push toward 2010 toll rate structure" California - "Visitors may get to climb on Golden Gate Bridge" "Pa. senators voice concerns on I-80 tolls" Maine - "York selectmen weigh toll plaza options".
Another report on BC's newest toll bridge
Langley Advance - "Few using discount deal".
Bit more on Hunt the Hoax
The People's Voice - "The Death Blow to Climate Science" Andrew Neil's Blog on BBC - "Climate change debate: 'calm, civilised, informative'" CNN - "Hacked e-mails fuel climate change debate" ABD - "Climategate : Media Gloss Over Vital Issues" Daily Telegraph - "Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?".
Cambridgeshire delaying Con plans till after elections
Cambridge News - "Congestion charge debate may go on hold for polls".
Kiwi cyclists volunteer to pay tolls
NZ Herald - "Toll could pave the way for pedestrians".
Reading con for lorries
Get Reading - "£52 million bid to battle traffic and pollution".
Doctor calls for no tolls on bridge near Liverpool
Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Prospective Lib Dem MP Jo Crotty says public-funded bridge in Gordon Brown's 'backyard' shows Mersey Gateway in Halton can be Government-funded".
Evening Standard - "C-charge fines exemption over glitch".
East London Advertiser - "Transport plan will make life difficult for those who have to drive".
More Toronto tolls touting
Star - "Smart solutions to city's budget crisis".
Tony T tolls touting
Local Government Chronicle - "Be strong where government is weak".
More tolls pushing to save the planet
Sydney Morning Herald - "A user-pays plan will cut emissions".
Welsh Lib Dem begs for crumbs
Gloucestershire News - "Calls for Severn Bridge toll freeze".
More crowd in
BBC - "Rise in immigrants coming to UK, ONS data shows" ONS - "Migration statistics 2008".
The spin put on the figures masks that immigrants tend to be nearer the age when they will soon be starting families - in the 15 to 24 age group there were about 170 thousand immigrants compared with about 80 thousand emigrants.
Tuesday 24 November 2009
From Mike Rutherford
Telegraph - "Mr Money: the flaw in the RAC's Cost of Motoring Index 2009".
Tolls for gullible Arizona - AZ Family - "Could HOT lanes be coming to Arizona?" video Examiner - "HOT Lanes might not be such a hot idea" Fox - "'HOT' Lanes Could Soon be Available for Frustrated Drivers" video.
Sundry stories - Texas - "State, federal officials consider raising gas taxes" Texas - "NTTA Reviews Tougher Tollway Fines " Texas - "Editorial: I-35E needs exotic deal".
Metro News (Novia Scotia) - "Bridge token mixup leaves woman with hefty fine".
Tolls to double, maybe
The authorities have proposed that Russian tolls be doubled, but the upper house of the Russian parliament have vetoed it. In the tolls world a "no" vote means little, and Russians may end up paying more tolls anyway.
Bit more on Argentine toll in trouble
Reuters - "Argentine gov't to audit, oversee highway operator".
Monday 23 November 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
"Getaway routes: avoiding Delaware's toll" Virginia - "Private roads still need public money" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Port Authority reports $20M loss in revenue from tolls".
There are reports of opposition to Dutch toll plan
De Telegraaf says that there is widespread public anger over the road toll plan. The right wing VVD party has started a petition and says that money should be spent on improving existing roads, rather than on setting up a tolls system.
More on proposed con
Wheels Unplugged - "Congestion tax in Delhi to restrict vehicular growth".
Three from Dallas Morning News on building toll roads without tolls - "TxDOT has new plan to fund toll roads" "At a Glance: Road financing" "At a Glance: Private toll roads".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "Lower ICC tolls mean nonusers will foot more of bill" Arizona - "Would you pay a toll to beat traffic?" Virginia - "Why Richmond, Why?!?: Do I Have to Pay Tolls?" South Carolina - "High-occupancy lanes eyed for S.C.".
Novel alternatives to Toronto toll proposal
Globe & Mail - "Traffic chaos? We have a cure for that - Andrew Clark uncovers a top-secret plan to solve commuter misery".
Bit more on Argentine tolled highway in trouble
Bloomberg - "Argentine Toll Operator Default May Widen Deficit (Update1)".
Hunt the Hoax
Telegraph - "Lord Lawson calls for public inquiry into UEA global warming data 'manipulation'" Mail - "The devastating book which debunks climate change" Mail - "British climate change scientists 'conspired to keep sceptics in the dark'".
PS ABD Press release - "Leaked Emails Expose Climate Research Scandal".
Sunday 22 November 2009
Times - "Climate change to lash Britain with tropical storms".
Britain is well outside the Tropics. Monsoon rain can occur almost anywhere but requires summer weather. So how many people are daft enough to believe that the very heavy rain in Cumbria was anything like a "tropical" storm?
Cameras are Green
Boing Boing - "Traffic cameras used to harass and limit movement of peaceful protestors".
Some Vietnamese not ready to fall into trap
Thanhnien News - "HCMC drivers not mice for doomed experiment".
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Pa. must toll I-80 or face a transportation crisis" Pennsylvania - "Expert: I-80 data on tolls is flawed".
Saturday 21 November 2009
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "State senators against toll on I-80" Washington State - "Will Narrows Bridge Tolls Go Up Next Year? It's a $5.2 Million Question".
Border toll to rise
Land Line Mag - "Blue Water Bridge tolls to nearly double in January".
Canadian view on Dutch toll plan
Wheels - "Dutch law charging by distance driven a brave idea".
More on Lorry ban difficulties
Irish Times - "Council to reassess €4.5m HGV toll fees". (See also story on Monday 16.)
Ken in Toronto
BC Local - "Road pricing risky but worth it: Red Ken".
Is it a coincidence that he is there shortly after the Trolls conference - Transport Futures - "Road Pricing and Public Acceptance" - and the start of a big tolls sell in Toronto?
Friday 20 November 2009
Apathy (and ignorance) wins in Massachusetts - Boston Herald - "Toll ending question fails to make Mass. ballot" (the one comment is from a person who knew nothing about it) Boston Globe - "Toll ending question fails to make Mass. ballot" lot of comments.
More etolls fun - Daily Comet (Louisiana) - "Hundreds ticketed despite paying toll on new bridge" Ohio - "EZ Passers not finding perfection".
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Reps. reiterate opposition to I-80 tolls ".
"Name calling won't change facts about Maine tolls" Illinois - "State senator would consider leasing tollway" North Carolina - "Raleigh area irked by I-485's no-toll plan" Pennsylvania - "Congressmen discuss I-80 tolling proposal" Wisconsin - "DOT plan calls for alternatives to fuel taxes" Washington State - "Citizen commission should take close look at toll figures".
Report on BC's newest toll bridge
News1130 - "Golden Ears Bridge isn't attracting as many commuters as expected" Maple Ridge News - "Few riding cheap on Golden Ears Bridge" Maple Ridge News - "User-pay concept for tolling all bridges weak".
BBC - "Why cars are greener than buses (maybe)" lot of comments.
Not quite what we expect to see on the BBC, though it does end "Travel alone - the statistics show - and the car is, just as the greens claim, one of the most polluting forms of transport on earth." The reality of course is diffferent again - 1. CO2 does not equal pollution, 2. The question of which forms of transport are least polluting or most economic is complex, with no one answer, 3. In the short and medium run, as both individuals and as a nationa we are stuck with the mixed transport system that we have, any forced transfer of people from one mode of transport to another is probably a bad move.
Engineers car bashing
New Civil Engineer - "Few willing to make personal carbon changes, says ICE" ICE - "State of the Nation: Low carbon infrastructure" variopus links to report. ICE's annex on Transport includesfcanad
- "The implementation of a system of demand management to encourage a modal shift from road to lower-carbon forms of transport such as rail is essential.".
Car manufacture still down
BBC - "Decline in car output rate smallest this year" SMMT - "October UK vehicle production".
It is interesting that of the 801 thousand cars assembled in Britain so far in 2009, most of them - 607 thousand were exported. Though exports are exceeded by car imports of 1,492 thousand (registrations of 1,686 thousand less 194 thousand made in Britain).
Thursday 19 November 2009
Tories repeat claim that they will remove toll strings from TIF
Local Gov - "Tories plan reforms to tackle 'unpopular' TIF".
Alabama Governor touts tolls - Birmingham News - "Alabama rolls out new U.S. 280 toll road plan" CBS - "Riley's Plan for Highway 280" Birmingham News - "Gov. Riley urges business leaders to support U.S. 280 toll road".
Sundry stories - New York - "Port Authority To Reportedly Eliminate Cash Tolls" video.
Pennsylvania - "RRTA backs tolls on I-80" "North Texas leaders to bend TxDOT chiefs' ears" Pennsylvania - "Questions arise with I-80 survey" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA's finance plans advance" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA paying big for its interest-rate swaps" Texas - "Regional transit authority approves TX 183-A toll hike".
California - "Truckers say Bay Area bridge toll hike will jack up consumer costs" Texas - "Would Gov. Perry support a gas tax increase?" Texas - "Agency approves January toll hike, annual bumps starting in 2013" lot of comments Virginia - "Corporate welfare and the Beltway HOT lanes, part 3: Don't worry until it's too late".
More tolls selling
NY Times - "A Dim View of U.S.-China Electric Car Plan".
What the Greens don't seem to know is that there is a scarcity of the elements required for these car batteries. Given the population trends the most likely replacement for petrol driven cars is rickshaws, it will be interesting to see how that affects congestion!
Border toll shelved
CBC - "No tolls on Team Gushue highway" Telegram (Newfoundland) - "Toll booth idea turfed".
More from the Money Pump
Money supply increased by 35 billion pounds in October, an 11 percent increase over a year ago - BoE - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending): October 2009" pdf.
As well as housing and other asset inflation, Britain is again proving to be a nation of shoppers - BBC - "UK retail sales growth picks up".
More on Toronto Toll proposal
Star - "Toll roads a bad idea for Toronto and the 905".
More on announceemnt of Inquiry into Tamar toll hike
BBC - "Public inquiry for toll rise plan" Western Morning News - "Have your say over Tamar toll" Plymouth Herald - "Public inquiry on bridge toll rise plan".
Toll on Humber bus
Grimsby Telegraph - "Humber Flyer bus service under threat".
Thai toll challenge
Bangkok Post - "Academic mounts tollway fee fight".
Another report on Bridge for sale
Oxford Mail - "Swinford toll bridge under the hammer".
Falling into the Red hole
Reuters - "Gilts slip after dismal UK borrowing data" ONS - October Budget deficit.
More climate hype - BBC - "Poor women 'bear climate burden'".
Between now and 2050 it is estimated that the world population will grow by 2.5 billion. Many of those who work for the United Nations Population Fund will realise that this growth is the cause of most problems in poorer countries. They are prevented from doing anything about it because of various interests, particularly the USA, so instead they join in the religious mania of Global Warming.
Wednesday 18 November 2009
Latest minutes from the money pump
BoE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting 4 And 5 November 2009" pdf.
Inquiry announced into Tamar toll hike
Plymouth Herald - "Public inquiry into Tamar Bridge tolls".
First Bertie Ahern toll nearly ready to start
Herald - "Just two hours from Dublin to Galway, but it'll cost you in tolls".
Less congestion lights, maybe
BBC - "Fewer lights 'good for economy'".
New Forth bridge moves ahead
Herald - "£2.3bn Forth bridge 'on time and on budget'" Edinburgh Evening News - "Ian Swanson: Questions remain on road to new Forth Road crossing" Telegraph - "Funding row over new Forth Road Bridge" Press & Journal - "Fears raised over plans to pay for new Forth crossing" Scotsman - "New Forth road bridge in all its glory - but who'll pay?" lot of comments.
Times - "New Forth crossing to go ahead despite concerns over cost and environment" BBC - "Q&A: Replacement Forth crossing" STV - "Government insists financial row will not halt Forth Bridge plans" video Edinburgh Evening News - "Transport bosses accused of 'sham' Forth bridge consultation" lot of comments BBC - "Forth bridge legislation unveiled".
In our view there are major doubts over the need for a "replacement" bridge, but if it is to go ahead then it could be built at less than half the official estimates. So who is it who will gain from this?
One of the bizarre features of this scheme is that it was the trolls who insisted that a new bridge was needed, but now that there are to be no tolls, the trolls are loudest amongst those who say that it should not be built.
Bit more on Bridge for sale
One we missed yesterday - BBC - "Toll bridge to be sold at auction".
More tolls selling - Daily Commercial News - "Dialogue, education key in getting public to accept road tolls: Experts" Examiner - "Paying for Arizona's Crumbling Transportation System".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "Montgomery Co. Protests Proposed Connector Tolls" California - "Don't use the toll roads? You pay for them anyway".
North Carolina - "Chamber backs toll for bypass to fund Skyway" Maryland - "Council calls for toll discount for frequent ICC users" Maryland - "Council Recommends Lower Price for ICC Tolls" video Oregon / Washington State - "What would you pay to cross a new I-5 bridge?" California - "Bay Area bridge tolls face more hikes" video.
Police lead the way
China Post - "Police officer arrested for skipping ETC tolls".
More climate tales
BBC - "Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming" BBC - "Ice retreat creates new CO2 store".
In the real world we can not be sure whether it is getting warmer, or if so then why. But for those who are Global Warming believers will they be taking furcoats or Bermuda shorts to Copenhagen?
Tuesday 17 November 2009
Looking towards private roads
Project Datafile - "Transforming public service delivery".
Bit more on Bridge for sale
Guardian - "Tax-free Thames toll bridge for sale" Sky - "Tax Haven-On-Thames: Toll Bridge Up For Sale ".
"One crook stealing from another crook" (from comments) - Daily Herald (Illinois) - "Former toll worker sentenced for embezzling".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "Cost to travel ICC continues to create gridlock" Ohio - "Turnpike severance offered to pare ranks - Toll collectors focus of $35,000 buyouts" "Maine turnpike leaders put their heads in sand" New Hampshire - "Open-road tolling might not be easier" Land Line - "Pennsylvania lawmaker urges DOT to reject I-80 tolling" Land Line - "Florida's Turnpike going cashless; online comments accepted" California - "Bay Area Toll Authority Schedules San Francisco Hearing on Proposed Toll Hike for Earthquake Safety".
Argentine part of Pan American highway in trouble
Momento24- "Autopistas del Sol announced a payments cessation".
Globe and Mail - "'Honey, have you paid the driving bill this month?'".
More opposition to toll removal in Japan
There are more reports that the new Government is being pressed not to remove the tolls.
The other China's tolls
China Post - "ETC to be in all vehicles using freeways in late 2012: MOTC".
Inflation showing in official figures
BBC - "UK inflation rate starts to rise" ONS - October figures.
As usual the official figures understate inflation as they do not include what is happening to asset prices.
United in ignorance
BBC - "UN chief urges unity over hunger".
The Earth may well be on the road to disasters such as famine, and it may be that little can be done about it, but ignoring the main cause - population growth - only makes these disasters inevitable.
Monday 16 November 2009
Bit more on Dutch toll plan
Dutch News - "Liberals ask Brussels about kilometer tax" Dutch News - "Cabinet finalises kilometer tax plan".
Dutch News have a poll, as at 19.00 GMT the results are - 20% are in favour, 10% use a bike (and are assumed to be in favour of taxes on drivers), 30% think that this is a new tax and 40% think that it is an "infringement of privacy". The negative result is suprising given that as usual the people are not being told all the facts, including the astronomic cost of setting up and running a toll system. If the Dutch MPs really wanted to help the environment they would instead increase the very low taxes on diesel fuel.
Report on political funding from construction and transportation interests - San Antonio Express - "Report on roadwork, politics stretches facts" Maryland - "Montgomery County gives its 2 cents on ICC tolls" Public Interest Research Groups- "Greasing the Wheels: The Crossroads of Campaign Money and Transportation Policy" pdf.
Sundry stories - Maryland - "Jump in Md. tolls likely after 2010" Maryland - "Montgomery County gives its 2 cents on ICC tolls" Utah - "Bridge over Utah Lake? Support is scarce" "Illinois' 5-year tollway project under budget and ahead of schedule" Texas - "TxDOT and the Unforgiven - Agency's amnesty program for toll scofflaws, due to end Nov. 30, has been anything but a hit" Pennsylvania - "Baton Rouge-based firm that did I-80 study defends credentials".
Bridge still for sale
Accountancy Age - "£1m tax-free bridge up for sale in Oxfordshire" Times - "Buy Swinford Tollbridge for £1m and get a tax haven".
This story first appeared in May, so there does not seem to have been a rush of buyers. As the bridge is in David Cameron's constituency perhaps he could buy it?
407 ETR woes
Toronto Star - "Province says it's powerless on Hwy. 407 bills".
When the road was sold to a consortium of trolls, the deal with the Government gave the consortium the power to remove the licences of drivers who are in arrears with toll payment.
Trolls still in business
China Knowledge - "Shenzhen Expressway buys partial rights in Guangzhou-Shenzhen freeway".
Tolls were officially abolished from last January, so this story demonstrates the power of the capitalists in "Communist" China.
Lorries can't be banned because Council can't afford to reimburse the tolls on the alternative route
Irish Times - "Dublin ban on four-axle lorries not to go ahead".
More on Dutch toll plan
Treehugger - "Go-It-Alone Climate Action: Drive-Distance Tax To Replace Registration Fees, Sales Tax In Netherlands" FT - "Dutch set course for full-scale road pricing".
More on Toronto tolls drive
Posted Toronto - "Five Things You Should Know About: Road tolls" Toronto Sun - "For whom the road tolls - 'Road pricing' unavoidable to fix traffic woes: Experts" Toronto Sun - "World traffic report - A look at how other cities are using tolls on their road" Toronto Sun - "Lane proves HOT with drivers" Toronto Star - "Are toll roads the solution to traffic woes?".
Bit more on Highwaymen to accept cards as well as your cash
Western Mail - "Card payments for crossing Severn 'likely within year'".
Haulier can't wait to pay tolls
road transport.com - "Stobart supports Runcorn-Widnes toll plan".
Bit more on congestion toll proposal
Vietnam Net - "City centre fees for cars - first step in a new plan".
Truckers don't like toll increase
Today's Trucking - "OTA to Bridge Folks: 'Hate to see you toll us so' ".
More tolls pushing
Local Gov - "Credit crunch research calls for re-think over PFI funding" Centre for Public Service Partnerships - "The impact of the credit crunch on UK infrastructure projects" summary report.
Small step back from wrong direction
BBC - "Car share lane extension removed".
Car sharing is good, but having almost empty special lanes is a waste of space.
Councillors often have the crazy idea that someone being chaufferred by a taxi is "car sharing", but in this case they are even crazier as it is counted as car sharing even when there is only the driver in the vehicle.
Friday 13 November 2009
The Big Money machine
Following an answer to a recent Freedom of Information request, we have revised our section on the Con finances - London - The Money - Income and expenditure.
Expatica - "Pay-as-you-drive system divides Dutch cabinet".
The Dutch plan (which is backed by Britain's Transport Committee) is to replace their high vehicle excise duty with pay per mile tolls while keeping their low taxes on diesel fuel.
More on Helsinki's proposed Congestion toll
Helsingin - "Congestion charges could be introduced towards end of 2010s".
Sundry stories - New Jersey - "Ocean City, NJ Bridge Tolls Are Lifted To Cope Flooding" Oregon / Washington State - "Columbia River Crossing faces obstacles in its path" Land Line Mag - "Nebraska looking for answers to road funding dilemma" "Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Restrictions on RFID".
Transport & Environment - ""How to avoid an electric shock: Electric cars from hype to reality" pdf. This report fron a green pressure group is to be discussed in Brussels today. Greens are usually completely naive in supporting wasteful measures such as wind power, bio fuels, and electric cars. Have they seen the light because their ultimate aim is no cars, however fueled?
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia toll plans
Balkan Insight - "Macedonia Offers Roads On Concession" Emportal - "Transport Ministry to announce public call for road concessionaires".
More talk about Humber tolls
Politics - "Transport Minister fails to give assurances on Humber Bridge tolls" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "MPs split on Humber Bridge tolls review" Hull Daily Mail - "MPs hold 'productive meeting' on tolls".
Toronto told the usual myths
Star - "Will drivers swallow road tolls' bitter pill? Transportation officials tout benefits: More funds for transit and improvements, less congestion".
More on congestion toll proposal
Thanhnien News - "HCMC toll plan disparaged by experts".
Toll refund booth to be built
Vietnamnet - "HCM City to refund road toll".
Highwaymen to accept cards as well as your cash
BBC - "Bridge card payment hopes raised".
More GW propaganda
BBC - "Greenland ice loss 'accelerating'".
As the Earth, within the current Ice Age moved from a glacial maxima period to the current glacial minima period, sea levels rose about 120 metres - or one centimetre a year for many millenia. Sea levels rise because of the melting of land ice and because sea water expands as it gets warmer. Over the last 100 years it is reckoned by the Global Warming advocates - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - "Observations:
Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level" large pdf, that the rise in sea levels has been about two millimetres a year. Even if it is correct that man made CO2 raises Earth's temepeature, so far the effects are puny compared with Earth's natural cycles which in any case will ultimately take us out of the current Ice Age. With no no ice on Greenland the sea would rise about 7 metres, the melting of the Antarctic adds about another 60 metres, and other bits gives a total sea level about 70 metre higher than now - this has been the norm for most of the Earth's history.
Thursday 12 November 2009
More tolls touting
Local Gov - "Use road charging to finance infrastructure, sector told".
Following Friday's story there is - Vietnamnet - "Transportation Minister to probe nation-wide road tolls".
Far too little, far too late
BBC - "PM to 'tighten' migration rules".
Sundry stories - Maine - "'Expert': York tolls advice is nonsense" Texas - "No Free Ride For Vets" video Texas - "Editorial: Oversight for NTTA" .
More Toll talk trying to fool people of Toronto
Globe and Mail - "It's time for Torontonians to talk about tolls" Globe and Mail - "Et tu, Toronto? Traffic a problem Caesar couldn't solve".
Wednesday 11 November 2009
Latest from the Bank for Inflation
BoE press release - "Inflation Report - November 2009".
The third woman this week touting tolls - DC Streetsblog - "Clinton's Budget Director Backs Congestion Pricing, VMT Tax". (For a bit on where this is coming from see "Feds to Convince DC Area Taxpayers to Embrace $4.8 Billion Mileage Tax" on 28 October.)
Sundry stories - Maryland "ICC debate rolls on" newspaper.com - "Rhode Island Governor Vetoes E-ZPass Privacy Bill" North Carolina - "Expressway exacts toll from homeowners" Florida - "Toll citation mixup" video Maryland - "Montgomery Co. Council Discusses I-270 Changes" North Carolina - "Local Road Leaders Asking For Expensive Toll Road Study" Pennsylvania - "House Republican leader urges rejection of I-80 study".
Bangkok Post - "Tollway fee rise allowed to avoid suit".
A few trolls caught with their hands in the till
B92 - ""Road Mafia" defendants get 131 yrs in jail".
BBC - "Poor nations vow low-carbon path". What makes the people of these nations poor, apart from corrupt politicians, is not too much carbon but too many people.
Bit more on Toronto toll touts
Toronto Star - "It may be end of the road for road toll opposition" Toronto Star - "Making a case for toll roads" some comments.
Metro - "Road tolls 'the elephant in the road' in Ontario". It looks as if the international toll touts have decided to target Toronto. Do they think that Canadians will be bigger suckers than elsewhere?
Irish tolls "privacy"
Irish Times - "Road authority to amend its methods" Irish Times - "M50 toll details to be protected".
Spend, spend, spend
British Retail Consortium - "BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor October 2009 - Best October Sales For Seven Years".
The most relevant figure is the increase in sales of 5.9%, a sign that the way out of this recession is the way that we got into it. Other signs of the way that things are going are the increases in house prices, the low value of sterling and the continuing trade deficit as Britain borrows to buy imported goods - BBC - "UK trade gap widens in September" ONS - "UK Trade September 2009". Britain has a surplus on services, which means that the annual overall trade deficit is running at "only" thirty billion pounds a year.
Tuesday 10 November 2009
More of Trolls trying to scare drivers
IT Wire - "End of e-tolling guarantees more Sydney congestion".
Sundry stories - "New York senators want to preserve discounted tolls for Staten Islanders" New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Planner: Many area highways have potential for tolls" Land Line Mag - "Economy stalls Mississippi toll road".
Toronto's toll touts
Toronto Star - "Road tolls touted as city's economic cure" LOTS of comments Toronto Ctv - "Toronto's traffic problems clog city's productivity" video National Post Toronto - "Report suggests road tolls, parking and fuel taxes for GTA".
Globe and Mail - "Toronto congestion costs Canada $3.3-billion: OECD" Metro - "Road tolls could be boon for economy, report suggests".
Update on Manchester's transport improvements without a Con
Student Direct Mancunion - "The three-year transformation - no congestion charge needed".
Bit more on Irish toll fines
Irish Times - "€12m in toll fines collected by NRA".
Monday 9 November 2009
Change - Time Perspective
Broadcast a few weeks ago - BBC iplayer - "In Our Time - The Geological Formation of Britain". Interesting, though listeners may still get the misconception that the current Ice Age ended about ten thousand years ago, when in fact we are probably only in a glacial minima and even colder periods could return very soon (in geological terms). On the other hand this Ice Age may end and the Earth gradually return to normal ice free conditions, with sea levels two hundred feet or so higher - so why are the Global Warming believers not all moving to the hills?
Inside Costa Rica - "Santa Ana Residents Protest against tolls on Autopista".
From Mike Rutherford
Telegraph - "Mr Money: Labour's still milking the motorist".
Is there a party which is not planning to milk drivers after the election?
BBC - "UK to embrace nuclear - Miliband". This decision is decades too late and highlights what a mess has been made of a country that developed nuclear power but now imports a large part of its energy needs.
BBC - "Maldives anger at climate inertia". There are now five people living on the Maldives for each inhabitant in 1950. That is the problem, not Global Warming.
Troll backing for Virginia's governor-elect - National Review - "From Point A to Point B".
Another female troll selling a toll road to the people - WRAL (North Carolina) - "Charlotte urban loop to be built with help of private funds" video.
On the gravy train - Dallas Morning News - "Report: Texas agency pays consultants top dollar" Dallas Morning News - "Outside contract work taking bigger toll on North Texas Tollway Authority". There are really two problems and neither of them is whether roads are designed by contractors or inhouse staff. The first problem is that tolls equate with waste and corruption. The second problem is division of responsibility between two agencies - TXDOT (who employ numerous inhouse staff) and NTTA (who contract out).
More of the usual propaganda about etolls saving time - Sentinel - "Florida I-95 express tolls cut travel times". The truth is that it is tolls which delay drivers, waste fuel and cause accidents. Etolls are just less bad.
Sundry stories - newspaper.com - "Pennsylvania Resurrects Plan to Toll Interstate 80 Freeway" etrucker - "Pa. applies again to toll I-80" Florida - "Get ready for new toll system" Georgia - "Plan for Ga. 400 toll lanes revived" Texas - "MPO to consider nontoll study of U.S. 281".
More Irish enjoyment from tolls
Independent - "Motorists fork out €50,000 on M50 toll fines every day". The Independent's editorial says - "There is a silver lining. The authority reaps the profits, which ultimately go to the taxpayers. A win for taxpayers makes a nice change."
Report on the opposition to toll removal
Japan Times - "Japan's roundabout road issue".
Bad news for private tolls
Korea Times - "Profit Guarantee Abolished for Private Highways".
Saturday 7 November 2009
Electricity tolls (we assume this is tongue in cheek - but who knows!) - Columbian - "Another call for a study, and for tolls" letter.
More etolls fun - Denver Journal - "E-470 tolls: A $50 surprise for drivers of rental cars".
More hypocrisy from toll touts - Mobilizing the Region (NY) - "Will Walder Bring Benefits of Electronic Tolls to MTA?".
Latest in tags - Venture Beat - "NXP's sensors for smart Band-Aids, smart bottles, and pay-per-use cars".
Sundry stories - Illinois - "Hainesville mayor says tolls shouldn't be in Route 120's future" South Carolina - "Rep. Chalk makes paying off toll road a priority, suggests ways to do it".
Friday 6 November 2009
Toll privatisation plan
Courier Mail - "Queensland Government attacked over asset sales plans".
Some are more equal than others - newspaper.com - "Maryland Politicians, Judges, Bureaucrats Drive Toll Free - Maryland officials responsible for imposing tolls on drivers do not pay any tolls themselves" WCVBtv (Boston) - "Lawmakers Get Thousands To Drive To Work".
Anti toll candidate won Vancouver - Oregonian - "Vancouver support important for the Interstate 5 bridge".
Sundry stories - New York - "State Thruway Authority Fires Toll Collector Accused of Harassing Activist" audio.
Maine - "Alternate sites for York plaza elicit concerns" Maine - "Turnpike Authority's York tollbooth options criticized" Maine - "Plans Unveiled For Revamped York Tolls" video West Virginia - "No Grinch on the 'pike this year" Texas - "Official says tollway authority should bow out of Southwest Parkway" Georgia - "New 'Toll Lanes,' Not More Toll Roads, for Metro Atlanta" Georgia - "G-DOT Proposes Adding Tolls to Metro Interstates/Highways" audio.
BC Local - "A dozen trips across GE Bridge: $400".
More on Helsinki's Congestion toll back on
Ice News - "Congestion charges to be implemented in Helsinki".
Troll takeover bid
LandLine Mag - "Toll operator rejects takeover by Canadian pension funds" Business Spectator - "Transurban's true value".
Thursday 5 November 2009
More etoll fun - Plain Dealer (Ohio) - "E-ZPass is working smoothly, but drivers are confused about what to do with the transponder".
Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Our opinion: Can Specter win if he opposes I-80 tolls? " Texas - "New fee schedule proposed for Toll 183A" newspaper.com - "California Toll Road Admits Penalties Were Unconstitutional" Illinois - "Tollway gets an earful on oasis contracts at hearing".
Florida - "Consultant: Toll agency could be more open" DC / Virginia - "Airport board raises rates for Dulles Toll Road" Texas - "Funding shortfall may cause more delay for Southwest Parkway" California - "Bay Area bridge toll increases loom" Texas - "Non-toll option better for aquifer, faster to build" California - "Toll lane will extend into Milpitas".
Texas - "Texans vote for eminent domain reform, Prop 11 falls short of giving it to them" Virginia - "HOT lanes get cold welcome" Georgia - "I-75/I-575, I-285, Ga. 400, "Gwinnett Connector" toll projects proposed" California - "More Bay Bridge woes - Higher tolls?".
FTA welcome Lib Dem toll plans
FTA - "FTA welcomes LibDem recognition of need for level playing field".
Given the FTA track record this is not surprising.
Bit more on German Tories pushing tolls for cars
Update of story on 12th October - The Local - "New transport minister ignites debate over car toll for autobahn".
More proposed con for Land of tolls
Times of India - "Traffic dept turns its attention to Peth areas".
More from the Irish toll touts
Irish Times - "Charges would maximise efficient use of facilities".
Report on Zimbabwe's new tolls
The National - "Highway tax takes toll on Zimbabwe".
Car sales up in October
BBC - "Scrappage sees UK car sales surge" SMMT - link to press release etc.
Bank throws more fuel onto inflation fire
BBC - "Extra £25bn to stimulate economy " BofE press release.
Wednesday 4 November 2009
Election results - CNN - "GOP wins key governor races but loses N.Y. congressional seat" ABC - "Election 2009: Republicans Bounce Back, Winning Governor's Races in New Jersey and Virginia".
The new Virginia Governor is a Republican whose policies included tolls - for drivers travelling in from other states, though the exiting Democrat also favoured tolls and road sales.
The Republicans won New Jersey partly due to their anti toll postition compared with Corzine.
Another area where tolls were a major issue was in the fight for Mayor of Vancouver (Washington State). There is not yet a result but it looks as if the anti toll candidate will unseat the current Mayor.
Toll heroes - Baltimore Sun - "ICC tidbit: 20 percent will beat tolls without E-ZPass?".
Sundry stories - DC / Virginia - "Board votes to raise rates on Dulles Toll Road" California - "Bay Area Transit Authority begins hearings on possible Bay Area bridge toll increases to $6 per car" Maryland - "Barve seeks say for legislators on ICC tolls" Alabama - "I-10, 231 Toll road projects 'in holding pattern'" Texas - "Wait continues for unpaid toll fares" video Texas - "Viewpoint: Non-toll plan still makes the most sense" DC / Virginia - "Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to vote on Dulles Toll Road toll increase".
Call for more tolls so that roads are reserved for cyclists
Bike Radar - "'Road tolls and charges needed to encourage cycling'". If the cycling lobby gets rid of drivers who will pay for the roads (and pavements!) that they use?
RHA criticise Lib Dem toll plans
Handy Shipping Guide - "Lib Dem Freight Tolls Plan Condemned By Road Haulage Group".
Expensive expenses controller
MPs reacted with prolonged boos to the announcement that the chair of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will get one hundred thousand pounds a year - Guardian - "Profile: Sir Ian Kennedy". MPs should have not been surprised that the gravy train carries on, even though they are to be ejected.
Railways fight against removal of road tolls
Mainichi Daily News - "Grand plan for transportation system needed before making all expressways free".
Car firms back in black
BBC - "General Motors cancels Opel sale" BBC - "US sales rise at both GM and Ford" BBC on Monday - "Cost-cutting boosts Ford profits".
Tuesday 3 November 2009
Let the train take your wallet
BBC - "First £1,000 rail fare criticised". What would the fare be if the railways were not subsidised?
Big Blue blunder
Computer Weekly - "Congestion charge suffers technical glitch as IBM takes over contract".
roadtransport.com - "'Hybrids don't boost bottom line'".
Bit more on the report which says that miles travelled appears to be closely linked to economic well being but concludes that there should be "road-pricing" - Oregonian - "Study: Driving good for the economy (well, duh!)".
Trolls carry on without a toll road - Atlanta Journal - "DOT changes course on I-75/I-575 toll proposal".
Sundry stories - NY (Grand Island) - "Lawsuit should fail" Texas - "Woman 'shocked' by $1,845 NTTA bill for late tolls" Maine - "Toll plaza likely to stay in York" California - "MTC Says Bay Bridge Closure Caused Loss Of $1.9 Million In Tolls" California - "Bay Area Toll Authority to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Toll Hike for Earthquake Safety" California - "Toll roads agree to $42 million settlement over penalties" OOIDA - "Tolling I-80 in Penn. would be a harmful bailout - Tolling public roads hurts truckers, businesses and highway users".
Helsinki's on/off Congestion toll is back to on
Uutiset - "Proposal for Helsinki Congestion Charges Moves Forward". The suburban areas which surround Helsinki are presumably still opposed to a con.
Today's Zaman - "GM plans to increase bridge tolls during rush hour".
Bit more on Government response to Transport Cttee report on Taxes and charges on road users
Northern Echo - "Olympics spending sucks transport cash from regions".
Another expensive hole?
Brisbane Times - "Clem 7 traffic estimates predict 50,000 car shortfall".
Chinese discover solution to Global warming
BBC - "Scientists 'cause' Beijing snow" Shanghai Daily - "Sudden cold snap brings snow".
Monday 2 November 2009
A critique of Australian road taxation
The Australian - "Road leads away from Soviet path".
Maladroit? Try incompetent and disingenuous
BBC - "Johnson admits migration mistakes".
A new report says that miles travelled appears to be closely linked to economic well being. Though the conclusion of this report is that there should be "road-pricing"! Oregonian - "Study: More driving good for the economy" Cascade Policy Institute - "Driving the Economy: Automotive Travel, Economic Growth, and the Risks of Global Warming Regulations" pdf .
Drivers get some cash back - LA Times - "Two O.C. toll road operators to forgive fines".
newspaper.com - "Corporate America Grows More Involved in Photo Enforcement".
Sundry stories - Maryland - "ICC was always intended to exclude most people" "Calling on the Pennsylvania ghost" Oregon / Washington State - "Despite rhetoric in Vancouver mayor's race, decisions on tolls for I-5 lie elsewhere".
Bit more on Tories accuse Labour
What appears to be the new Labour party document which details "road pricing" plans is now available - LGA Labour group - "Putting fairness first - Local Labour's manifesto for a new term" pdf. In fact there are no details and almost all it says is "Towards lower carbon transport - We have to change the way we travel if we are to meet climate change targets. Local Labour will emulate the best. In the most congested towns and cities we will use road
pricing in concert with a step change in bus services, cycling and walking."
Sunday 1 November 2009
Less sickly babies with etolls - Washington Post - "Why EZ-Pass is good for babies".
Strange that there were no stories anout the ill effects of toll queues before the trolls realised that they could scam more money with etolls.
Trolls sell their plane - News OK - "Oklahoma Turnpike board trims budget".
Corzine, who is supported by the bankers, let the cat out of the bag on a renewal of his defeated tolls plan if he wins the election - politicker nj - "Lawrence and DiCicco: Corzine's Crazy Toll Road Scheme Is Back" NY Times - "Corzine Vows Turnpike Tolls Will Not Rise" NJ.com - "GOP challenger Christie says 'don't believe' Corzine on toll road pledge" Jersey.com - "Corzine: Part of toll-road plan, hikes may be revived" NJ Voices - "A Corzine gaffe on tolls?".
The interview which was published on Thursday -NY Times - "A Rivalry as Strained as New Jersey's Finances ".
Trolls renewed proposal to toll I=80 in Pennsylvania - Turnpike press release on Friday.
Stories - Gant Daily - "Gabler Denounces Renewed Efforts to Toll I-80" Gant Daily - "Thompson Responds to Third I-80 Tolling Request" Gant Daily - "Alliance to Stop I-80 Tolling Responds to Turnpike's Resubmission" Courier Express - "Thompson opposes I-80 tolls - again".
Philadelphia Inquirer - "Letters: Tolling I-80 is just part of highway funding" Philadelphia Inquirer - "Pa. renews push for I-80 tolls" Sun Gazette - "State renews push to toll Interstate 80" Pittsburgh Tribune Review - "Pennsylvania revives plan to toll Interstate 80" Landline Mag - "Pennsylvania refiles I-80 tolling application".
Sundry - Oregon / Washington State - Columbia River Crossing letters Illinois - "People need more time to pay fines" letter Texas - "Toll troubles with a rent car" letter California - "Golden Gate Bridge plans how to get into black" California - "Golden Gate Bridge looks to cut toll-takers, raise fees to get out of budget mess" California - "Hearings set on proposed Bay Area bridge toll hike".
California - "Bay Bridge closure could stretch beyond weekend" California - "A Toll To Cross the Golden Gate On Foot Or Bicycle?" Texas - "Will voters buy a tax increase for roads?" Maryland - "ICC toll hearing: Public questions proposed rates" Maryland - "Hearing draws critics of ICC tolls" Texas - "City's defense for not paying up sounds familiar".
Bit more on Dartford toll delays
Kent Online - "Travelling through the Dartford Crossing takes just 10 minutes: Government".
Tories accuse Labour
The Tories are claiming to have got hold of a Labour party document which details planned increases in local taxes including "a roll-out of road pricing and workplace parking taxes". Are they sure it is not one of their own secret documents? Express - "Now Brown Plans Council Tax Bomb".
It's a troll's life in the sun
Daily Telegraph - "Greed's still good at Transurban" Daily Telegraph - "Motorway moguls' $18.5m highway robbery".
Also more on Macquarie restructuring - Brisbane Times - "Thanks for the ride ... and billions in fees".
Reversal of - No congestion tolls, for now
Following Friday's story there is - Vietnam News - "Motorist to pay to travel into centre of HCM City".