SEPTEMBER 2007 NEWS
Sunday 30 September 2007
Tyne Toll - More on toll increases
Last Sunday we reported on planned increases in tolls on the Tyne tunnel, here is a further report - News Guardian - "Tyne Tunnel toll costs under discussion".
USA round up
Apart from intermittent blitzs, electronic tolls seem to be a voluntary tax, which allows some people to build up large debits - Chicago Daily Southtown - "Where's the warning? Many complain that tollway's notification system lacking".
Another way of being robbed at the tolls - Boston Channel - "Search On For Carjackers After 'Pike Attack".
Tolls are normally only suspended when traffic needs to move quickly and smoothly, but some Florida tolls are to be suspended for Thanksgiving - Sun-Sentinel - "Authority saying thanks with no tolls on 5 Dade roads".
Washington State - "Drivers say new bridge saves them time, stress, even money" New Jersey - "Toll road report must be released" "Private roads are dead end for Florida" Massachusetts - "Fraud on the Pike" New Hampshire - "Toll road diversion: The bridge to tax hikes" Pennsylvania - "Transportation plan needs another look" New Hampshire - "O'Leary looks at toll closings, despite misgivings" New York - "Economic wisdom from the Island" Oklahoma - "Group opposes proposed transportation corridor" Maine - "INTERSTATE TOLLS IDEA TAKES THE CAKE" New Hampshire - "Proposed toll increase just another 'tax' hike" Alabama - "Toll roads sure to be unpopular" Massachusetts - "Cheaters beware: Massport is watching" New York - "Road rage" Florida - "Tollway agency criticized for lobbyist plan" Florida - "Tollway agency criticized for lobbyist plan".
Pennsylvania - "White joins opposition of I-80 toll plan" Texas - "Local control best for S.A. toll projects" Texas - "TxDOT Says Rough Road Ahead For Traffic Relief Projects" Florida - "U.S. Transportation chief visits St. Tammany" New Jersey - "LAWSUIT ON TAXPAYER-FUNDED TOLL ROAD REPORT" New York - "Chamber to Thruway Authority: Reconsider toll hike" Texas - "City to get $330,000 to study use of toll roads" Maine - "Assess new highway tolls? Pass on that, critics say" New Jersey - "Lawmakers sue treasury dept. for toll road consultation reports" Florida - "MORE complaints against SunPass" Florida - "Road privatization" Florida - "Road privatization".
Port Mann bridge tolls
From Langley Times - "James opposes twinning". From Burnaby Now - "Toll talk sparks MLA protest" "Residents grill Gateway reps at open house".
Where the carbon goes
We thought that carbon trading was just a fraud. But it seems in Indonesia it will help to fund road pricing, so that's two frauds! Jakarata Post - "Busway potential cash cow: Green group".
Border Toll update
El Universal - "Colombia not to remove tolls from the border".
Saturday 29 September 2007
Whither goest the Tories?
On the 14th we reported on Tory "Blueprint for a Green economy". Here is a subsequent report in Fleet News - "Tory transport ideas revealed". Perhaps at this week's party conference we may learn more about Tory plans. At the moment the Tories seem to plan to further milk drivers by - a) backing road pricing schemes providing that they are agreed locally (i.e. by local bureaucrats and politicians), b) more new toll roads, c) possibly tolling existing motorways, and d) increasing vehicle duty for some cars to what are in effect penalty levels.
From the "Global warming thicket"
One that we missed on the 18th - BBC- "State loses car climate-link case".
Some recent official figures
PR published Thursday - Road Freight Statistics 2006 The figures (pdf file).
PR published Thursday - Road casualties Great Britain 2006.
PR published on 20th - Bus and Light Rail Statistics : April to June 2007.
More on Businesses ask for tolls to be scrapped
On Wednesday we reported that the Federation of Small Businesses were calling for tolls to be scrapped. In yesterday's Yorkshire Post, a Leeds businessman (who happens to be FSB's Yorkshire and Humber policy chairman) links this to the campaign to remove the Humber bridge tolls - "Business backs bridge tolls demand".
"Road tolls 'unfair', say councils"
This headline on the BBC might make you think that local politicians have seen the light. But all it means is that before they bring in "C" toll schemes they want a bigger bribe off the Government to pay for trams and other schemes.
Con crosses water
Northern Ireland is currently free from all forms of road tolls, but Belfast Council suggests that a Con scheme should be introduced - BBC - "Belfast congestion charges mooted".
Businesses beg for tolls
Cardiff Chamber of Commerce "want to charge drivers for using road" - BBC - "Businesses call for road charges" South Wales Echo - "Business leaders back congestion charge". Most Chambers of Commerce support tolls and road pricing and collaborate with the authorities. Is this because businesses in those areas are so ignorant that they don't realise that they are already paying seven times as much in road taxes as is spent on the roads? No - the reason is that most Chambers are run by clones of the bureaucrats who tell the elected councilors what to do.
PS Later reports - Western Mail - "Chamber wants drivers to pay up" South Wales Echo - "Massive investment in public transport is key".
Thursday 27 September 2007
Boris Johnson, who says he would keep the "C" toll, has won the Tory primary. A report of part of his recent London tour - ic SouthLondon - "'Bozza' in a bother over traffic".
PS Report on ABD campaign against a Greenwich "C" charge - ic TheWharf - "Motorists fight charging zone".
The great threats
International terrorism and global warming are apparently the great threats. But don't worry we will have a "debate" on road pricing - ePolitix - "Kelly calls for debate on road tolls".
Ray Massey's column in - Auto Express.
USA round up
Here's one view that we agree with! Tuscaloosa News (Alabama)- "Drivers prefer taxes to toll roads".
More people, houses etc, but no more roads, instead "congestion pricing"will solve all - Seattle Times - "The roads-and-transit plan: so much cost to do so little".
The privatized Dulles Greenway has been given permission to increase its tolls (as an encouragement to future purchasers of roads). They are now reflecting on the impact of the increases - Washington Post - "The roads-and-transit plan: so much cost to do so little".
A publicly owned toll bridge has been closed because it only carries 900 vehicles a day, and does not generate enough money to repair it. The suggested solution? - Privatize it! - Courier Press (Indiana) - "New Harmony bridge". At 900 vehicle a day, it is amazing that there was ever enough money to pay the toll collectors and officials.
World Net Daily report on the trolls conference that they were barred from attending - "U.S. for sale to foreigners by Texas hold'em rules".
There are a few editors who don't like tolling and privatizing roads - Patriot News(Pennsylvania) - "Tolling freeways represents bad idea for state and nation".
The Federal government tells those wanting major new Interstates that it's toll roads or nothing as they will not increase federal gas tax - South Carolina Now - "States Must Find New Ways to Fund Interstates".
"Experts" say that variable pricing on New York's tolled bridges and tunnels "would create significant time savings for drivers" - NY Streetsblog - "Variable pricing at MTA bridges and tunnels would ease traffic". Presumably some drivers are forced to alter their travel habits, it is never made clear how they are better off.
Other Stories -
New Hampshire - "Speakers N.H. Highways meeting favor toll hikes" West Virginia - "Commerce owes for Tamarack?" New Hampshire - "NH toll increases are not needed" Delaware - "Sale of ferry is an effort to chip away at DRBA deficit" New Hampshire - "Traffic Jam" Texas - "Road projects could be delayed" Maine - "State will study idea of new tolls" Washington State - "Skipping tolls gets tougher EXCUSES, EXCUSES" New Jersey - "Corzine keeping toll plan on table" New York - "MTks toll, fare hike input" Pennsylvania - "Corman backs leasing of turnpike" Alabama - "For whom the road tolls" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike toll collectors still in talks" Maine - "Legislative Committee OKs Study Of Interstate Tolls".
Tolls go East
Kommersant / Reuters report that a state owned corporation may be created in Russia to take over roads and toll them.
Wednesday 26 September 2007
How Green is my Car?
Evworld / FT - "Closing the Automotive Gap in the Race to be Green".
Birmingham Toll - On?
We reported (August 8th)that Birmingham and the other West Midlands councils were to put in a TIF Congestion charge bid without toll plans. This report indicates differently - Birmingham Mail - "New plan for city road charges".
More Euro toll pushing
Yesterday the Transport Commissioner presented a Green Paper - "Towards a new culture for urban mobility". The Eurocrats have decided that the plebs are making "excessive use of private cars". The solution includes urban tolls - EurActiv - "Commission unveils urban mobility strategy" (inc links to documents).
Businesses ask for tolls to be scrapped
The Federation of Small Businesses have written to the Transport Secretary asking for tolls to be scrapped - Press release - "Rest of UK should learn from Scotland on road tolls, says FSB".
Low Emission Zone - FTA happy
London's LEZ is due to start in February and the FTA have issued this - press release. They seem to be quite happy that London is in effect pushing problem lorries out of London and into the rest of UK.
Cambridge Toll - Cameras
firs - CEN - "Road toll camera locations revealed".
later report - CEN - "37 congestion cameras may be placed around city" (see "see also" links).
East Midlands Toll - Workingplace levy AND "C" charge
BBC - "Congestion charge 'could happen'".
Too many Bad Air days
Despite 4 years of "C" charging, the Greens say that London breaches European limits for number of "bad air" days - BBC - "City roads breach pollution limit". As cars are only responsible for a small part of emissions, this result is not surprising.
USA round up
More on New York Thruway tolls being increased because drivers are driving less - Times Union - "Hey, you, pay up" Times Herald-Record - "Motorists pay, then pay more" Capital News - "Thruway Authority considers raising tolls" News10Now - "Thruway tolls likely going up" Wivb - "NYS Thruway Wants Toll Increases Over Four Years" WNED - "Silver Rejects Plan to Hike Thruway Tolls".
One of the recent excuses for putting tolls onto roads has been that the gas tax revenues have been falling due to drivers using more fuel efficient vehicles and driving more carefully and less. These changes should have been welcomed. Tolls do not encourage the use of more fuel efficient vehicles. Tolls may encourage drivers to use the roads less, but it is more likely that drivers just divert onto roads that are not tolled.
A bargain for New Yorkers! World Net Daily - "$180 toll on Holland Tunnel?".
Another bargain but it depend on your Zip code! Boston Herald - "State taken for a ride".
New New York tolls - NY1 - "Congestion Pricing Committee Holds First Meeting". The committee has been packed with toll supporters and is expected to rubber stamp the Mayor's plans for a "C" charge.
Other stories -
Alabama - "Toll roads" New Jersey - "Conditioning the public" Florida - "Do not sell future" New York - "Traffic panel: Fare hike not part of discussion" Texas - "Toll roads will help local economy" New Hampshire - "Three executive councilors still on fence on toll increases" New Hampshire - "Make DOT justify its spending" New Hampshire - "Make DOT justify its spending" New Hampshire - "Gov. Lynch's toll hike plan is an unneeded tax hike" New Hampshire - "Turnpike toll hikes may be necessary evil" Texas - "State seeks to place tolls on interstate highways" Pennsylvania - "truckers protest I-80 tolls" Texas - "Toll road rules are changing to eliminate some free rides" Pennsylvania - "Transportation act repeal threatened over I-80 tolls".
A letter writer wonders why the state gives subsidies to the oil companies, and at the same time levies tolls on bridges and roads that were built to reduce congestion - Courier Mail - "A crude awakening".
Charge or Charge or Charge
The papers predict that Boris Johnson, who would keep the "C" toll, is likely to win today's primary which will decide who will be the Tory candidate to take on Ken - Telegraph - "Boris Johnson set to win mayor nomination".
PS Despite Boris's support for the existing toll, it is suggested that he may get votes by promising not to extend the charge zone! Bexley Times - "Mayoral wannabe targets drivers on campaign trail".
Toll war again
The border toll dispute between Colombia and Venezuela has started again - Prensa Latina - "Protesters Block Colombian-Venezuelan Border Roads".
Tuesday 25 September 2007
All you ever wanted to know about spying
The Register is not concerned about the Government deal with Trafficmaster, but suggests a few ways by which road pricing might be evaded - "Commuters TrafficMaster sells clients'location info to UK.gov".
The Shape of Things to Come?
India is considering making it compulsory for all cars to be fitted with tracking devices to - "help in traffic management as traffic violations by motorists could be tracked and all violations identified. Also, motorists would get charged automatically as soon as they enter a toll area." - Economic Times - "RFID Revolution: Your cars will be tagged".
PS Piston Heads - "Spy in the sky plans revealed".
USA round up
New York Thruway tolls may be increased because drivers are driving less - Mid Hudson News - "Lower traffic could mean higher tolls on Thruway" Buffalo News - "Thruway plans to raise tolls 20 percent over 4 years" Times Union - "For Thruway, a rocky road" New York - "NY Thruway May Increase Tolls".
More on congestion tolls - CNN - "Congestion-pricing debate continues". How many people will fall for the usual myths? And how many drivers and businesses expect that it might be them rather than the "other" driver who will be forced off the road in peak periods?
No, it's not the drivers being robbed, it's the tolls! Wftv (Florida) - "Third Tollbooth Robbery In Less Than A Week".
Other stories -
New Jersey - "Voters see Dems as more corrupt but don't think GOP has answers" New Jersey - "Toll increases a double tax" Florida - "SR 528 may be privatized" Virginia - "Traffic flow study includes possible tolls" Pennsylvania - "Opponents say I-80 toll plan could cripple economy" Pennsylvania - "Transportation act repeal threatened over I-80 tolls" Pennsylvania - "Tolling is taxation x2 for truckers" Pennsylvania - "Fitch Rates Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission" Pennsylvania - "Ticked Off Over Tolls" Pennsylvania - "I-80 Tolls Protest" Missouri - "Consultant may be hired to study I-70 and I-44 rebuilding costs" Texas - "Debate On Highway 290 Tolls Continues" Texas - "Debate On Highway 290 Tolls Continues".
Con Penalties Up
National car hire reports that based on their hire vehicles there has been a 17 per cent increase in Congestion charge fines since the extension of the charge Zone in February.
The always popular tolls
- Vancouver Sun - "Drivers back toll, Gateway officials say".
East Midlands Toll - More on Workingplace levy
The Telegraph has the story that was in yesterday's Times, but with online reader's comments - "Commuters facing £350 parking tax".
Greens push "C" charges
- Brisbane Times - "CBD congestion tax planned".
Monday 24 September 2007
"Ultimately some of road pricing is inevitable"
The Transport Secretary gives a little of her thoughts - Guardian Blog - "Labour conference fringe: Kelly to press ahead with road pricing".
PS What Ruth Kelly said was similar to her blog a few days earlier - Number Ten Transport webchat.
More on Tory plans for tolled motorways
The Spoof - "The Intelligence Highway".
"Rodo puraishingu?" It's all Greek to me!
The least understood "gairaigo" or loanword in Japan is that for road pricing. Would it be much different in Britain? Japan Times - "Japanese: A language in a state of flux".
"Unfair and Absurd Tax"
From the Association of British Drivers - "BMW`s "Urban 4x4" to Escape £25 Congestion Charge".
USA round up
This is a typical editorial using the "there is no other choice but tolls" argument - Allied News - "Highway tolls - It will be the only way". One way or another the people have to pay for the road sooner or later. Borrowing may be needed whether the road is tolled or not. The difference with tolls is that there are additional costs and inconvenience.
To reduce the inconvenience, delays, congestion, pollution and accidents caused by tolls (and get rid of toll collectors), many tolled roads are moving towards electronic systems. But there are some concerns from American Civil Liberties Union and others - Forbers / AP - "Mass.: Novel Tolling Proposed".
One way of getting a bonus - setting low speed limits - Newspaper.com - "Texas Toll Roads Caught Ignoring Safety Standards".
Carbon taxes (see comment by "falkoyn") - The Atlantic - "Econospeak identifies a "problem" with carbon taxes".
Tolls in hibernation - Press of Atlantic City - "This is a lonely job".
Attempt to stop tolls PR - Houston Chronicle - "Sad days for highwaymen".
Other stories - Florida - "What do you think: New Beachline tolls?" Pennsylvania - "Tolls on I-80 Across Pa. Create Backlash" Maine - "Portland man pay tolls for Vietnam Memorial Wall caravan" New Hampshire - "Toll hike spells relief" Florida - "Private toll roads may be in state's future" New Hampshire - "Roads in the red" New Hampshire - "Robbing DOT" Alabama - "Drivers may pay to ride on new roads" Illinois - "Synchronized signals no match for 'oversaturation'" Massachusetts - "Reform should come before new taxes, tolls or casinos" Maine - "Toll-free a no-go for turnpike" New Hampshire - "Toll hike came together quickly" Illinois - "Area officials drafted for toll bridge study" Virginia - "Interstate prospect shot down for the second time" North Carolina - "Tolls will be on all of Monroe Bypass" Pennsylvania - "Tolls to raise price of goods" Florida - "Private 'Alley' Could Be Worth $1 Billion To State" Texas - "Toll road control splits state and locals".
East Midlands Toll - Workingplace levy
Nottingham is part of a possible East Midlands Congestion charge pilot. It is reported that they may instead opt for a workplace parking levy. (Under the Transport Innovation Fund rules, government subsidies are on offer for those authorities who introduce either congestion charging or the workplace parking levy.) Times - "Parking-space tax will raise cost of driving to the office by £350 a year".
Czechs may follow London
Prague is planning to bring in a toll starting in 2009. One possible "model" is London! CBW - "Green transport week pushes ‘streets for people’".
More on Chinese Car Free Day
- UPI Asia - "China's car-free campaign must extend to officials".
Malaysian Congestion Plan
- Forbes - "Malaysia's capital mulls traffic fees to cut congestion".
Sunday 23 September 2007
Tyne Toll - More increases
More increases in tolls on the Tyne tunnel are planned - Sunderland Echo - "Tyne tunnel tolls rise". Drivers using the tunnel are already paying more than they need. This is done to get drivers used to paying the far higher tolls that will apply when a private operator builds another tunnel and takes over the existing tunnel.
Saturday 22 September 2007
$30 billion market in selling nothing
Carbon trading - Daily Report - "Opportunity out of thin air".
Recent report on the Euro trolls plan for cars and trucks tolls on all roads - EurActiv - "Battle looms over EU-wide road charging scheme".
Norwich Toll - Consulting Cyclists
They don't bother to consult drivers - they already know what the answer will be! We are pleased to see the answer that they got from the cyclists - "The biggest problem we have with this is that it is based on a premise that congestion is a problem, which is wrong. Congestion is a fact of life in a city and many businesses work round it." Norwich Evening News - "Congestion charging plans revealed".
Reading Toll - To bus or not to bus?
Reading Evening Post - "It’s 5.30am and I’ve got a bus to catch".
USA round up
Views of a Massachusetts resident - "If we were serious about reducing fuel consumption and pollution, not to mention wasted time, every toll booth in the nation would have been torn down 35 or 40 years ago. What's next, a transponder in each of our vehicles so we can be tracked over every mile we drive so that the investors in our roads can collect every nickel? It sounds very secure to me. Someone might know exactly where we are, or were, at any given time. It gives one a warm feeling all over, doesn't it?" South Coast Today - "Road taxes and casinos: Is it progress?".
Views of the banks - "Governments should also avoid awarding the highway concession based on the lowest toll" Mondaq - "An Innovative Solution For Financing U.S. Highways: Lessons From Abroad".
Michael Bloomberg's plan to toll New York has been helped by the sales pitch from most of the news media, despite this there is some opposition - Forest Hills Ledger - "CB 7 blasts congestion price plan".
Other stories - Virginia - "Limited-access highway? Accomack says no" Massachusetts - "Rate hikes target of GOP" Massachusetts - "Drivers already pay enough in taxes and fees" Florida - "Funding a path to progress" Pennsylvania - "Tolls on the table at chambers’ breakfast" West Virginia - "U.S. 35 could be toll road" Maine - "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall convoy
angry about highway tolls" Florida - "I-75 toll lane proposals starting to concern Lee County officials" New Hampshire - "Please stop whining about Merrimack tolls" "Sentenced to a Commute: N. Texas needs every tool to clear congestion" California - "New view on traffic delays - No relief, so enjoy the ride" New Hampshire - "Vote no on tolls" New Hampshire - "Highway needs made raising tolls necessary" Pennsylvania - "I-80 tolls may be inevitable, turnpike chief says" Virginia - "Technology will help enforce HOT lane tolls" Texas - "Tolls now enforced on 183A" Virginia - "HOT Lanes Coming to Beltway".
More Irish Tolls
Ireland's Consumer Association says - "I think it's time consumers woke up to the reality that they have been contributing hugely to government coffers already with the amount of fuel wasted at toll bridges." - Irish Independent - "Road rage at €1,500 a year to sit in gridlock". Other reactions - Irish Times - "FG, Labour criticise M50 toll increases".
Chinese Car Free Day
China joins the anti car club, though later reports say that most drivers ignored the restrictions - Xinhua - "Significant day for car-obsessed society".
"Learn from London"
China wants to reduce air pollution and thinks they should copy the London "Congestion" Charge - Edie - "Learn from London says Hong Kong think tank". The reality is that there has been no improvement in measured air quality since the London charge was introduced in 2003. We wonder what the effect would be if the Chinese instead started taxing fuel use?
Boris limits toll
The most likely Tory candidate against Ken is Boris who has said that he will keep the "C" charge, but now says that he would not extend it - News Shopper - "Boris Johnson holds meeting on bridge".
Thursday 20 September 2007
M4 - relief or not?
Following more fatal accidents there has been an announcement about the M4 relief road - BBC - "M4 relief road 'could open 2013'". It was announced in December 2004 that this new road would probably be tolled. If the aim is to reduce congestion and accidents then tolling will mean that the road has little effect. This can be seen in England where the M6 toll road which was opened nearly 4 years ago is virtually empty while the old M6 and other roads in the area are still heavily congested.Will the politicians abandon tolling plans or will they turn a blind eye to the facts?
More on Lib Dems go Greener - the ultimate?
The Lib Dems Transport spokeswoman makes the national party's position clear - "We have to cut road spending, with a presumption against any new major road schemes. We continue our commitment to a national road pricing scheme." - eGov monitor - "Brighton 2007: Susan Kramer Speech".
USA round up
- Arizona - "Tolls Won't Cover Bella Vista Bypass Costs, Highway Officials Say" "Vermont can't afford stalemate over roads" "W.Va. facing highway challenges" Massachusetts - "Toll reprieve - Pike staff has a peculiar notion of cost-cutting" "N.H. eyes raising turnpike toll rates" Massachusetts - "Tolls and credibility" New Hampshire - "Gov. Lynch backs toll increases" Massachusetts - "Gov. seeks to cut jobs at turnpike" "Truckers, lawmakers to rally against I-80 tolls in Pennsylvania" Florida - "Turnpike expansion to be debated in north Palm Beach County" California - "Baby, You Can Charge My Car" Georgia - "Tunnels under Atlanta would produce a lot of hot air".
- Telegraph - "It's the fleecing of the 19,000".
We reported on the 1st that China's capital was considering a "C" charge. Here is a similar story about Shenzen - China.org - "Shenzhen to introduce congestion charge". China has no fuel taxes.
There's no business like toll business
The Pakistan army has various interests including building and operating tolled roads. It is suggested that they should concentrate on other things - Dawn - "‘Army needs to move away from commercial ventures’".
The euro troll deal seems even less likely to happen - MSNBC - "Abertis looks at severing ties with Benettons".
Wednesday 19 September 2007
More on Lib Dems go Greener
Politics - "Sticks thrown at drivers to fund high speed rail network" ABD - "Opposition Parties` Green Tax Proposals Riddled with Deceit" Road Transport - "Lib Dems propose lorry tariff scheme".
Cambridge Toll - More on Bosses meeting
CEN - "Charge 'will go ahead despite consultation'".
A reporter has been banned from attending a conference on selling roads and other public assets. The conference is in US but is organised by a UK firm - World Net Daily - "Reporter banned from secret meeting on selling U.S. assets".
Fast London Part Two
Second part of the story that we had on Monday, though there is no further mention of London - Streetsblog - "Congestion pricing Q&A Part 2".
USA round up
The Texas Transportation Institute, which to some extent advocates tolls, has issued a report on congestion - Press Release, inc links to report etc.
No they have not gone away. The "Reason" Foundation is still busy peddling tolls and road sales through newspapers all over America- Edmond Sun - "Private sector can help with roads and bridges".
New Yorkers fell for the myths about the success of the London Toll, it appears that the people of San Francisco are now to be peddled the same stories - SF Chronicle - "S.F. studying congestion pricing to ease traffic, promote transit".
Other stories - New Hampshire - "75-cent toll costs $144 for scofflaws" Maine - "Committee to study fairness of tolls" Colorado - "No consensus on tolls for existing roads" Massachusetts - "For whom the Turnpike tolls".
Yorkshire Toll - propaganda
The "Northern Way" is a Government quango whose job is supposed to be bringing jobs to the area, but it is continuing to sell the idea of toll roads - Yorkshire Post - "Call for drivers on region's motorways to face charges" Yorkshire Post - "Transport crisis takes its toll".
Greenwich toll campaign
Evening Standard - "Protesters to fight mini C-charge for Greenwich".
Reading Toll - propaganda
Reading Evening Post - "More traffic jammed into area’s roads".
"Toll Concept Improves Services To People"
This is what Malaysia told a conference in Paris - Bernama. No one of course mentioned the corruption trial where Cherie Blair was invited to represent one side (but was prevented from doing so), nor do they mention things like this - Daily Times of February.
Tuesday 18 September 2007
East Midlands Toll - "Congestion Charges Welcome"
Bus operators and others views on possible East Midlands (Derby, Leicester and Nottingham) toll - Evening Telegraph - "CONGESTION CHARGES 'WELCOME IF THEY REDUCE JOURNEY TIMES'". (See comments added to story by Sam Vimes of Derby and others.)
Streets paved with gold
Transport boss's pay packet - Evening Standard - "Transport chief gets £115,000 bonus for first year in charge".
Cambridge Toll - Bosses meeting
Report of a meeting called by Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce to discuss the "C" charge proposal - CEN - "Leaders weigh in on city road toll plans" Road Transport - "Cambridge confused over congestion charge claims".
USA round up
New Hampshire - "Are drivers getting a raw deal at tolls?" Texas - "Official Asks Senator To Put Brakes On Toll Road Plans" Massachusetts - "Transportation Finance Commission report ruffles feathers" Massachusetts - "Turnpike board delays vote on tolls" Massachusetts - "Stem scams before tapping taxpayers" Pennsylvania - "I-80 tolls: No one wants them, everyone would pay " Massachusetts - "Pike board delays toll vote" Massachusetts - "Panel rolls out $18.7B tolls, tax plan" Colorado - "Was a state law broken?".
No (reasonable) doubt
Last week it was announced that Britain's weathermen were to get another £74 million to look at man made global warming as it was said that "The case for man-made climate change has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt." - Met Office PR. With all this money available it's a wonder that there is any doubt!
Monday 17 September 2007
Those of you in London better be careful with all those vehicles zooming round the streets. Since the "C" toll was introduced according to Michael Bloomberg's advisers - "the increase in average speed translates to a reduction of driver delay by at least a factor of two" - Streetsblog - "Congestion pricing Q&A Part 1". Perhaps Michael's advisers should read a copy of the last (Fifth Annual) TfL report which admitted that traffic speeds now were the same as before the charge was introduced, so should that not be a factor of zero?
USA round up
Massachusetts - "Pike board stalls vote on toll hikes" Massachusetts - "Reform first, sell bridges later" Massachusetts - "Pike board to vote on toll hike" Texas - "Clearing things up" Texas - "Toll roads absent from transportation talks" Illinois / Missouri - "I-70 bridge talks revive" New Jersey - "Republicans pledge to kill Corzine's toll road plan".
Lib Dems go Greener
At their party conference the Lib Dems (though not all of them agree) are moving further to the green tendency - Mirror - "LibDems call for zero carbon Britain by 2050" - This story includes a picture of Gordon - a mistake? Scotsman - "Lib Dems plan to scrap petrol and diesel cars by 2040" BBC - "Call to ban petrol cars by 2040" Lib Dem PR - "Lib Dems back plans for zero carbon Britain".
Mr K and Mr B
Ken attacks Boris, the anti "C" charge apostate - Mayor Watch - "Livingstone Attacks Johnson 'Transport Blunders'".
Wonderful, wonderful Congestion charging
Interview of the Mayor of Copenhagen by EurActiv - "Severing car dependency in EU cities 'very realistic'". Copenhagen is one of the most anti car cities in Europe, but they want to go further and join in EU initiatives for "congestion charging".
Sunday 16 September 2007
A survey shows that Sydney drivers avoiding toll roads have longer journies and on average use 33 per cent more fuel - Sydney Morning Telegraph - "Go with flow or be damned to the jam".
USA round up
Texas - "Costs, delays with 281 argued" Massachusetts - "Area Pike users may be in for nasty toll increase" North Carolina - "Board expects to OK toll for bypass" Massachusetts - "Major hike in gas tax, fees urged".
"C" charge letter
Brian Mooney, the ABD Congestion Charge spokesman had this letter in several of last week's London papers -
"Mayor Livingstone assures us that his Congestion Charge never aimed to raise money. He should jog his memory - in 2002, he promised investment of around £170 million a year, and Transport for London forecast total profits over £1
billion. Ealing Councillor Phil Taylor recently used audited figures to show that the
gain to date has been nearer £10 million...
The Mayor is now spending over £1 million trying to rebrand the charge as a 'Green tax'. . His claims about 'doing everything possible to reduce pollution' are simply not believable, as he repeatedly lays on polluting fireworks extravaganzas.
After various 'transport improvements' that remove road space, congestion is unsurprisingly returning to pre-charge levels. If the charge was scrapped tomorrow, the zone wouldn't suddenly see vast increases in traffic and gridlock. Partly, because the long-term trend before the charge was towards fewer cars entering central London, partly, as cost isn't the major factor in car use - convenience is. Peak levels during the morning rush hour have stayed virtually the same.
We don't need creeping road pricing (being taxed for driving in congestion aggravated by bureaucrats), rather some common sense measures to keep London moving."
Some references - Mayor Press Release 7-09-07 Report, Mayor's congestion charging Order TfL fact sheet Phil Taylor Mayor Press Release 8-08-07 'London Under Livingstone', Bow Group, 2007 IPPR think tank, 'Charging forward: A review of public attitudes towards road pricing in the UK, 2006.
PS One of the published versions of the letter - Bromley times - "Is Mayor re-branding C-Charge?".
Saturday 15 September 2007
"Truckers say highway would be "incredible boost" but they don’t want more tolls"
Proposed new toll road in north east - Chronicle Herald - "Firm mulls east-west Maine road".
Cambridge Toll - City views
Some members of Cambridge City County Council are concerned about the toll proposal and want all residents of the city to get a discount - CEN - "County is accused of 'dash for cash'".
USA round up
Toll court 1 - from News Tribune (Washington State) - "Wins, losses on toll tickets" "First people to contest toll citations head to court".
Toll court 2 - from Patriot Ledger (New Hampshire) - "Braintree man jailed over 50¢: He spends three days in slammer to make point about N.H. tokens".
Other stories - Delaware - "Biddles Corner toll collector beaten" Pennsylvania - "Everett to co-sponsor anti-toll legislation" Pennsylvania - "Join the growing opposition to tolling Interstate 80" Pennsylvania - "'Stop I-80 Toll' committee meets" Texas - "Campaign for tolls a start, not the end" Indiana - "Highway Extension Suit Continues" Virginia - "Un-privatization".
Friday 14 September 2007
Humber Toll - a late report on protest
Market Rasen Mail - "Toll cost is just not playing fair".
Cambridge Toll - Bosses talk
Cambridgeshire County Council demonstrates that when it's time to talk tolls, whatever else you do, you don't talk to ordinary people - C "It's time to seize the opportunity" CEN - "Bosses in line to air views on tolls".
USA round up
More on Bill - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas) - "Bill Ensures No I-20 Tolls" Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Pennsylvania) - "Peterson collects anti-toll petitions" KXAN (Texas) - "Senate Passes Tolling Ban" Daily Texan - "Senate bill to prevent tolls on roads already funded by government" Dallas Morning News - "Hutchison adds toll ban to Senate bill" Victoria Advocate - "Senate spending bill includes ban on tolls for Texas roads" Austin Chronicle - "Hutchison moves to block toll plan".
A chilly tale - Chesterton Tribune (Indiana) - "Toll Road power outage backs up traffic Wednesday".
Other stories - Massachusetts - "Governor plays down impending Mass Turnpike toll increases" Illinois / Indiana / Missouri / Ohio - "Washington wonders if trucks-only lanes are good idea for I-70" Colorado - "E-470 toll stops may fly bye - Electronic system urged to replace collectors" Pennsylvania - "Legislators back away from I-80 toll plan" Massachusetts - "Patrick eyes casino deadline, 'new revenue' for roads and bridges" Massachusetts - "Senator proposes selling roads, bridges" Florida - "Toll lanes on I-4 appear likely" Pennsylvania - "Foes raise stakes on I-80 tolls" California - "Would you pay to avoid gridlock?" Virginia - "Dulles Greenway tolls to start increasing in 2009; rush hour motorists to pay more" New Jersey - "$15 billion plan to be kept hush hush for now, says Gov" Virginia - "VDOT gives back tolls and fines to motorists" Massachusetts - "Road repairs and the fairness test" Pennsylvania - "Tolling Interstate 80 could hike overall cost of living" New Jersey - "Issues with bond sale could undo toll road plan" Virginia - "Tolls Set To Rise On Dulles Greenway".
East Midlands Toll - Talks
The East Midlands (Derby, Leicester and Nottingham) is one of ten areas that received pump priming money for a TIF Congestion charge bid. Officials and business bosses are to meet to discuss it - Evening Telegraph - "SUMMIT SET TO DISCUSS CONGESTION NIGHTMARE".
"Public 'want traffic charges ban'"
Norwich Toll - Two wheels good, four wheels bad
Norfolk Council wants people's views on propsals for a "C" charge, so it will ask cyclists. Presumably they already know what answer they would get from everyone else - Norwich Evening News - "Cyclists quizzed on congestion charge".
London Tories for and against "C" charge
In Mayorwatch - "Boff Defends Congestion Charge Opposition".
The Association of British Drivers are having a meeting on Saturday 22nd in Blackheath - The Wharf - "Charging 'won't solve' congestion problem: campaigners".
"C" toll cuts Cancer toll
Doctors want congestion charges throughout London of up to £100 a day - Bloomberg - "London Without Cars Cuts Cancer, Diabetes by 40%, Lancet Says". One thing is for certain, and that is that doctors would be one of the few groups who could still afford to drive!
PS Report on BBC - "'Ban cars in London' to cut CO2".
The Tories are to announce lots of new taxes against "gas guzzlers" - Telegraph - "Is it time to lay off the drivers of 'gas guzzlers'?" (story with over 300 comments posted) Tory Party, inc link to details of proposals (pdf file) - "Blueprint for a Green economy". Strange how greens believe that the way to reduce fuel consumption is to do almost anything except changing fuel taxes.
"Thousands wait for M6 Toll payout"
No, it's not the toll payers getting money, it is those affected by road noise - BBC.
Eyes in the dark
Drivers are turning off lights at night to try and beat the Salik tolls - 7 Days - "Dubai - We can still see you".
Wednesday 12 September 2007
USA round up
More reports on moves in Congress - SA Express - "House bill would block highway tolls" Centre Daily (Pa.)- "Legislation to stop I-80 tolls gaining support" Wilson County News (Texas)- "Hutchison files anti-toll legislation".
A suggestion that reducing the number of taxis will reduce congestion - NY Daily News - "To start hacking traffic, take 1,000 taxis off our streets". No chance of this. In London the taxis don't even pay the Con charge, which is not surprising as taxis is the way that those with influence travel.
Black boxes on the way - CNet news blog - "The toll road returns".
America's and the world's rocketing population causes most of our problems and could end in absolute disaster. But who cares? There's lots of money to be made - Business Week - "Playing the Global Infrastructure Boom".
Other stories - Oregon - "I-5 bridge fix gets priority" Pennsylvania - "Public: Put brakes on I-80 tolls" Massachusetts - "New revenue sought for roads, bridges" Texas - "For whom the toll bills" New Jersey - "School builders to borrow another $800M" DC / Virginia - "Va. Excuses 8,000 Tickets Due to Tollbooth Glitches" Texas - "Residents meet to debate proposed toll roads" Massachusetts - "Bridge Repairs Face Roadblocks" Texas - "Anti-tollers decry 'fat cats in white hats'" Massachusetts - "Highways for Sale! Highways for Sale!".
In Streetsblog - "Parking revenue declining, London borough lures back drivers".
"It’s still a tax"
Four in five people in Northamptonshire oppose road pricing and tolls - Evening Telegraph - "How can we stop this?" Evening Telegraph - "Residents embracing energy-saving lifestyle".
Cambridge Toll - Council meeting
Cambridgeshire County Council is expected to submit a TIF Congestion charge bid next month. Tomorrow Cambridge City Council will have their first meeting to discuss the idea - that's democracy - UK style - CEN - "City has say on county's road charge".
More Welsh Con talk
In Western Mail - "Congestion charge looms for Cardiff".
Latest on bikers demo against them being included in any road pricing - MCN - "Tickets on sale now for Ride for Rights 2007".
Tuesday 11 September 2007
"Tax the plebs"
Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail - "The snobbery behind Zac and Dave's tax the plebs plan".
USA round up
Continuing fight in Congress against tolling Interstates - "English offers new remedy to tolling of I-80".
Getting HOT near DC - Fairfax County Times - "$1.7 billion HOT lane agreement signed" Examiner - "New toll lane work would add to traffic woes, critics say" Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - "Bell tolls for Transurban on US Beltway" Forbes / AP - "HOT Lanes Work Begins in '08".
Other stories -
Pennsylvania - "Public forum on I-80 tolls will take place tonight in Mountain Top" Virginia - "Toll Road Accuses 8000 Innocent Motorists of Cheating" Texas - "The topic of toll roads draws a large angry crowd" Texas - "Will More Toll Lanes Help Or Hurt Austin Traffic?" Florida - "PBC opening new SunPass-only turnpike interchange".
Monday 10 September 2007
Cambridge Toll - Buses
Cambridgeshire Council bosses are promising that in return for paying road tolls, they will give lots of money to the bus companies - CEN - "Buses to pave way for road tolls". A common theme round the country is they say that road tolls won't be introduced till they have improved public transport. Does this imply that no one will use these buses unless forced to?
"Deliver us from gridlock"
The RAC Foundation has been one of the Government's key allies in the campaign to sell "road pricing", but today in the Guardian Comment they say that with or without tolls we will need more roads. What is even stranger is that they Stephen Glaister on their side. Is the idea that all these new roads will be tolled?
"C" charge exchange
Last week the Bow Group, a right wing think tank, launched a wide ranging attack on the London Mayor - "London Under Livingstone" (pdf file). Their criticisms of the "Congestion" charge are on pages 16 to 21.
On Friday the Mayor issued a statement replying to their criticism. On the "C" charge he said - "It is entirely false to say the congestion charge hasn't worked. It has cut traffic by 21 per cent from before charging began - 70,000 fewer vehicles entered the zone each day in 2006. Without it central London would be at gridlock. The aim of the charge was never to raise money. Far from costing London £930m, the first full three years of operation in the central zone produced an income of £591.7 million with an operating cost of £288.6million - giving a net operating income of £303.1million."
The Bow Group have now responded, and on the "C" charge say - "Based on TfL's own data we show that the traffic that has been detered from entry into the charge zone is afternoon traffic, while morning rush hour traffic is largely unchanged. Furthermore the decrease in traffic should been seen as a longer term trend. Department of Transport figures shows traffic volumes have been in decline since 1998, five years before the C-Charge was introduced. In fact this downward trend actually slowed following the C-Charge's introduction. See pages 16 - 19 for more detail. We also examine the claims on the profitability of the C-Charge and find that these numbers ingore the one off investment cost of the scheme and the full extent of the overhead. Taking these into account, using TfL supplied figures, the scheme has had total takings since inception of £930m and profit of only £10m.".
PS Ealing councillor, Phil Taylor, takes a keen interest in the "C" toll and was apparently a source for some of the info in the Bow Group report. This is what Phil said in his blog on Saturday.
It is reported (though not on their website) that "Transport 2000", the anti roads group, have changed their name to "Campaign for Better Transport" and have issued a report prophesying a congestion Armageddon unless all spending on roads is stopped. They want remaining roads tolled and the profits to be spent on "public transport" - Guardian - "Warning of roads hell with 6m more cars by 2031" Car Pages - "Campaign for Better Transport slams Government plans for 'traffic hell'".
Business people (or at least those that have not yet bankrupted their companies) have a lot of knowledge and skills. But one wonders how they can conclude that it is a good idea to put all the roads together with control of public transport into the hands of the very bureaucrats whose main aim is to push us all into trains and trams? The Journal - "Give us control of roads, buses".
USA round up
What's in a name? Daily Herald (Illinois) - "Wouldn't Betty Loren-Maltese Memorial Tollway be more apt?".
The future is easy - New York Post - "E-Z, MY PASS! IT TAKES A TOLL ON ME".
Other stories -
Kentucky / Ohio - "Commuters drive alone" Texas - "County may lower crossing fee for comercial vehicles" Massachusetts - "Drivers may pay premium to take Pike in rush hour" Texas - "TxDOT under fire" Maine - "No cookie-cutter fix for Maine's economy" Pennsylvania - "Lawmakers: Turnpike lease still a nonstarter" Kentucky - "Repairs may shift to local sources" Georgia - "State seeks private funds to ease jams" Massachusetts - "Inequity on Mass. Pike" Pennsylvania - "Paying interest, not earning it" Pennsylvania - "English, Peterson join forces in fight against toll road".
Tolls and "C" charges will not be mentioned during Toronto elections, though there are plenty of people who want to go down the "C" charge road - Globe & Mail - "No appetite for congestion charges before the provincial election".
That flying knight again
Eddington's solution for his own land - more toll roads - Herald Sun - "Digging city out of car chaos with tunnel network".
Saturday 8 September 2007
Oh what a lovely summer!
People in Britain believe that they have had a terrible summer - cold, wet and dull. The Met Office figures say that the earlier part of the summer was wet and dull (though they say it was warmer than average). But according to the official figures, August was not only slightly warmer than average but it was dry and sunny - The average rainfall for Britain was just below average, with England only having 77 per cent of normal - lucky that we didn't have hose pipe bans! And as for sun, well Britain had 5 per cent more than average, with England having 15 per cent more sunshine - lucky that there were not more cases of sun burn and heat stroke - Met Office.
USA round up
The collapse of the Minneapolis bridge started a big debate on infrastucuture which continues - Toldeo Blade - "Don't dither on infrastructure".
Other stories - New York - "Bridge, tunnel tolls to cashless?" Illinois - "Tollway windfall spawns big plans" Texas - "PR firm to help promote toll roads, superhighway" Kentucky / Ohio - "Crossing the river" Virginia - "Kaine chides opponents of third crossing" Pennsylvania - "Peterson fights to block I-80 tolls with bill" Pennsylvania - "Opposition to tolls on I-80 increases" Washington State - "Notices being sent to drivers who were wrongly cited for not paying toll" Texas - "The tolling of Texas tug-of-war continues" New York - "60% in Queens oppose mayor’s congestion plan" Texas - "Fifteen tollway scofflaws owe $688,000" West Virginia - "Authority hires R.I. firm to study marketing on turnpike".
Friday 7 September 2007
The BBC has reported that over the last month drivers using the Tamar bridge who pay their tolls using the new "tag" system have had their bank accounts credited rather than debited. The bridge operators are to claw the money back. The BBC also reports that the new system is proving to be very popular!!
Local Transport Bill Consultation closes
Today was the last day for submitting comments on the so called "Local Transport" Bill which removes all controls from local authorities that intend to introduce road tolls - Our submission (pdf file) Views in Retail Bulletin "Road pricing - Town by Town free for all must be prevented".
More Green Logic
Yesterday the Government announced a short term tax cut for buyers of certain new buses and lorries - DfT press release - "Government extends tax incentives for 'Euro V' low emission buses and lorries ". It is good news for everyone that there will be new European requirements for reduction of certain emissions from buses and lorries. But vehicle duty reductions AND increases to achieve reduced emissions are inefficent as they take no account of how much a vehicle is used. It would be far better to reduce duty for all vehicles to a nominal amount and rely on fuel taxes.
BBC to stop evangelical role
Yesterday the BBC announced that their key role in promoting a belief in global warming would be reduced. This is today's reaction from the Association of British Drivers - "ABD Welcomes New BBC Impartiality On Climate Change".
High Level tolls
A German company is proposing to build new toll roads on top of buidings - Moscow News - "Will Rooftop Roads Cure Moscow’s Traffic Jams?".
USA round up
Texas Tolls promotion - SA Express - "TxDOT readies its 2 cents on tolls".
Where the money goes. Cost of tolling and administering Pike Peaks road (excluding maintenance costs) is same as the income - Colorado Springs Business Journal - "Additional revenue might not make a difference".
Other stories -
Massachusetts - "A Look at Ma. Turnpike Toll Increase" Massachusetts - "'Commuter Bill of Rights' a step in right direction" Pennsylvania - "Return to talk of privatizing Turnpike is what Gov. Rendell wanted all along" Florida - "Causeway revenue debate figures to linger" Texas - "Taking a Toll" Pennsylvania - "priorities must be reset" Texas - "NTTA Owed $100,000s From Zip Cash Tolls" Pennsylvania - "I-80 tolls the best of ideas ... or the worst" Pennsylvania - "Texan jumps into I-80 toll fray".
What Car - "Lazy motorists won't walk 1000m".
Thursday 6 September 2007
Public Transport figures
Published today -
Public Transport Statistics Bulletin 2007 - Press release the bulletin (pdf file).
Survey of public attitudes towards bus travel - Press release links to report and tables.
Dutch going tolls
According to a report on Expatica (first paragraph) plans for tolls payable by all vehicles on Dutch roads will be revealed in December. The plans are being promoted by a former director of the Netherlands Motorists Association. We wonder if they have any connection with the road pricing advocates in Britain's AA and RAC?
Cambridge Toll - the usual script
Cambridgeshire politicians are to put a TIF congestion charge bid in to the Government next month. The Council say that this does not mean that they intend to introduce congestion charges - CEN - "Road tolls deal not done". We wonder how many people will believe this?
This story follows a meeting of one of the Council's committes yesterday - Cambridgeshire County Council - Environment & Community Services Scrutiny Committee - Development of the Long Term Transport Strategy - inc links to three documents.
Things have been quiet on the road pricing front, but an article promoting it has appeared. Are the Government gearing up for another campaign? - Supply Mangagement.
USA round up
Yesterday there was a clash in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Democrats want to raise the gas tax, but Mary Peters, the Transportation Secretary, wants to replace gas taxes with tolls - AP - "Push to Raise Gas Tax for Bridge Repairs". As we have reported over the last few weeks there are moves in the House - by Reps John Peterson and Phil English, both from Pennsylvania - to stop tolling of any Interstates. Two senators from Texas - Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn - are also trying to stop tolling of Interstates. The odd thing is that these moves in Congress all come from Republicans.
Other stories -
Colorado - "Taxpayers will foot the beltway of greed" Pennsylvania - "Up toll booth creek" Pennsylvania - "2005 PennDOT study advised against tolling I-80" Pennsylvania - "Rendell revives idea of leasing turnpike" Texas - "Bill would ban state tolls on existing interstates" Maine - "Turnpike a blessing, burden to York County" Florida - "Toll agency to hear audit from comptroller" Texas - "Toll Road Protestors Oppose Ad Campaign" Pennsylvania - "Rendell launches quest to lease turnpike" New Hampshire - "Spaulding Turnpike should be top priority" Texas - "TxDOT Seeks To Buy Back Federal Roads, Add Tolls" Texas - "Hutchison bill would prohibit some tolls" Kentucky - "Lawmakers Propose Toll For Brent Spence" Pennsylvania - "Interested Bidders Invited to Submit Qualifications to Operate Turnpike" Pennsylvania - "Pa restarts quest to privatize Turnpike" New Jersey - "GOP leaders vow to kill Corzine's plan for toll roads" Pennsylvania - "Another speed bump to tolls?".
Wednesday 5 September 2007
Pay by phone
South Koreans can now pay their tolls by phone - Mobile Mag - "Pay Toll Booths With Bluetooth Phones". The story says that system will reduce "the time spent at toll gates up to a seventh". Abolishing tolls would reduce delays by seven sevenths.
USA round up
From "Citizens Against Tolls" - Asbury Park Press - "Take out tolls, raise gas tax".
Other stories - Texas - "More lawmakers add voices to outcry over toll road plans" Texas - "Turn interstates into toll roads? What an awful idea" Colorado - "Golden calls Portuguese toll-road deal 'shortsighted'" Colorado - "Golden objects to Northwest Parkway" Texas - "EZ Tag count takes a dip after toll fee rises" New Hampshire - "Stop diversion of highway funds" Maine - "Private solutions
to public problems - One man's answer to state's economic challenges" Texas - "Lawmaker Trio Fed Up With TXDOT Toll Road Plans" Pennsylvania - "Turnpike Commission: We Want I-80 Tolls".
Tuesday 4 September 2007
Humber Toll - another report on Saturday's protest
Yorkshire Post - "Scrap bridge tolls, says cancer patient".
USA round up
More on bridge repairs - USA Today - "States act swiftly on bridge repairs".
Other stories - Pennsylvania - "Tolling of I-80 would affect more than local industry" Texas - "When a Red Light Is Really Green" New Jersey - "End the mystery surrounding Turnpike plan" Tennessee - "Sharing cost of new river span" Pennsylvania - "Tolling I-80: What a crock".
The Bill abolishing Scotland's last two tolls is expected to be published today. (See Scotland News page.)
Monday 3 September 2007
Humber Toll - Saturday's protest
Politicians from the three main parties backed the demo organised by Humber Action Against Tolls - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "PARTIES UNITE IN BRIDGE TOLL DEMO".
Boris to keep "C" charge
The favourite of the news media as an opposition London Mayoral candidate is Boris Johnson. At his campaign launch today he criticised the "C" charge, but did not say that he would scrap it, even though he says - "Congestion is now 15 per cent up on last year and is back to the level before congestion charging...If it is meant to alleviate congestion then it is certainly not working.”. Instead he would probably keep the charge and make it "fairer and more flexible". It is also reported that his aides said that Boris was looking at introducing road pricing over a far wider area - Mayor Watch - "Johnson Launches Mayoral Campaign" What Car - "Mayoral candidate to overhaul C-charge" Daily Mail - "Boris Johnson launches bid to be Mayor of London" FT - "Boris Johnson launches mayoral bid" Telegraph - "Boris Johnson launches campaign for mayor".
The best quote was that he said the "C" toll meant "traffic jams with posher cars", though it seems that he plans to extend this.
Cambridge Toll - what the Lib Dems didn't say
Further to the reports last Saturday and Wednesday, the Lib Dems boss denies what he was previously reported as saying - CEN - "Lib Dem councillor clarifies road charge policy".
USA round up
The new President of the American Trucking Association gives his views including - "The ATA favors an increase in gas taxes, with the money going to repair and expand the country's highway system. Congestion costs the industry $8 billion a year, and it's growing at 8 to 10 percent per year. Our industry is ready for a fuel tax increase. We believe it has to happen before our infrastructure gets in worse and worse shape and congestion costs get higher and higher. It's pretty evident that if we don't do something, we're headed for big problems." - Helena Independent - "Mapping an agenda".
Another illustration of the strange world of tolls - Denver Post - "Parkway lease fool's gambit".
Other stories - Texas - "Toll Roads Cost More" Texas - "Texas Senator Says Gas Tax Could Stave Off Tolls" Pennsylvania - "Pa. wants new toll for an old interstate" Florida - "Is Traffic In Pasco Going To Take A Toll?" Tennessee - "Officials want proposed Miss. bridge considered for toll project" New Jersey / New York - "Congestion plan painful for N.J." Massachusetts - "Heavy tolls - ‘User-based’ highway system would be unique" Florida - "Bridge a toll on SR Authority - Price hike has done little to lessen bridge debt" Pennsylvania - "Route's toll for travel mulled" Texas - "In Dallas area, higher tolls, fewer tollbooths" California - "FASTRAK TO EXTEND OFFER OF $5 TOLL FEE FOR NEW ACCOUNTS".
No sale 1
A sponsored survey (this time by Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank) shows that 68 percent of owners of small businesses (under 1 million pounds turnover owners) oppose road pricing. The poll covered 699 businesses.
PS Later report - Retail Bulletin - "Two thirds of retailers fear profits will be hit by road pricing".
No sale 2
In another recent survey 40 per cent of people supported road pricing - "Congestion Charging Debate Results". As the Green Party wanted its members to vote for it, the surprise is that there were not more supporting it!
From Jakarta Post - "Residents to sue toll road operator, minister".
Ireland has relatively low fuel taxes, but has some toll roads - Irish Independent - "Poor conditions cost motorists dearly".
Saturday 1 September 2007
Humber Toll - today's protest
Report on BBC - "Protest over Humber Bridge tolls".
Official travel figures
On Thursday the Government issued details of the 2006 National Travel Survey - Press Release Survey and Tables.
Comparing the 2006 figures with those for 10 years earlier, the Government highlights various trends including -
Average annual distance travelled rose by 2 per cent to around 7,100 miles in 2006, reflecting a 7 per cent increase in the average length of trip from 6.4 miles to 6.9 miles, more than offsetting a fall of 4 per cent in the average number of trips to about 1,040 per person per year.
Average time spent travelling increased by 4 per cent to 383 hours per person per year, or one hour four minutes a day.
Proportion of the total distance travelled that was by car or van fell slightly to 80 per cent of the total. The main increase was rail travel.
As we have pointed out previously, starting with the 2005 survey the figures going back to 1995 have been altered from actual figures because of "non responses". When this was first done a year ago, the effect was to significantly increase the previous figures for the amount of travel, starting with the figures for 1995. We can only assume that this adjustment is done so that the official travel figures since 1995 will more closely match the message the Government wants to make.
Cambridge Toll - Less "mine is bigger than yours"
We reported on Wednesday that the Lib Dems were trying to outdo Labour and the Tories as to how severe the Cambridge will be. Some Lib Dems have now denied this - CEN - "Congestion comments are now up in smoke".
Cardiff Toll - on the way?
Letter in South Wales Echo - "Council has closed our artery - what’s next?".
USA round up Friday and Saturday
Merrimack Penny toll protest - Cabinet - "Pennies … and police" Concord Monitor - "Merrimack tolls part of much bigger problem".
A retired IBM employee has been found guilty of theft after trying to use toll tokens after the toll authority said that it would no longer honour them - Foster's Daily Democrat - "One token over the line".
EZ way to track U - Baltimore Sun - "E-ZPass records popping up in trials".
The American Dream - CBS - "Some Wealthy & Powerful Drive On Tollway For Free".
Other stories - Texas - "Changes proposed for tollway ramps" Texas - "Hutchison wants to ban tolls on Texas's interstates" Pennsylvania - "Road-sale fight heats up" Maine - "ROAD FUNDS NEEDED - Bridge tolls could return" Texas - "Bridge Tolls Go Up" North Carolina - "Officials Discuss Ways to Raise Road Funds" North Carolina - "Officials Discuss Ways to Raise Road Funds" Colorado - "Portuguese, Brazilian firms lease part of Denver beltway" Hawaii - "'Cordon Pricing' Bad Idea for Honolulu" Oregon - "Governor plans long-term route to better roads" New Jersey - "The hefty price of monetization" Washington State - "At tollbooths, no charge for smiles" Pennsylvania - "Regarding toll booths: Why stop with I-80?" New York - "Congestion pricing poll results questioned" Pennsylvania - "'Stop I-80 toll' committee formed in Clarion" New Jersey / New York - "Give New Jersey a say in congestion pricing".
China, which has tolls but no fuel tax, has recently experimented with banning cars from the capital based on registration numbers. It is now suggested that instead they should have a "C" charge to reduce congestion and air pollution - China Daily - "Car ban not best cure for traffic woes".