SEPTEMBER 2009 NEWS
Wednesday 30 September 2009
Cambridgeshire Cabinet approve Con plan
A report after yesterday's meeting (with a strange choice of headline) - Cambridgeshire News - "Chesterton rail station 'could open in 2013'".
No rush to build the Golden Fleece bridge
Scotsman - "Just two bidders to build new Forth bridge".
Bit more on delay to road pricing in Netherlands
Free spirit alive in New Jersey - Dutch News - "Further delays to pay per drive plan".
Further reports on new tolls near Athens
Kathimerini - "Road rage over new tollbooths" Kathimerini - "A strange concession to make".
Tuesday 29 September 2009
Free spirit alive in New Jersey - The Record - "Toll cheats costing state millions in revenue" Star Ledger - "N.J. Turnpike Authority loses $13.6M in toll evasion" Philly - "NJ losing millions to toll cheats".
Sundry - Oregon / Texas - "Proposal to remove tolls draws concerns
" Minnesota - "Officials say new lanes, express buses on 35W popular".
More tolls near Athens
Kathimerini - "New tolls on city outskirts".
Malaysian toll roads sale
Malaysian Insider - "Asas Serba to brief Najib on Plus acquisition".
Bit more on - Le Québec libre - non
CBC - "Tolls would finance Montreal transit: Tremblay" CBC - "Quebec opposition rejects fee increases".
More propaganda from BBC and Met Office
BBC - "Four degrees of warming 'likely'" BBC - "Global warming could happen sooner".
BBC - "Japan prices continue record fall".
The truth is that the optimum is a stable currency, but if prices are to change deflation is better, though the overall effect is affected by interest rates - low inflation usually means low rates. If the new Japanese Government honours its promise to remove tolls, then that will boost the economy. Despite the usual pressures and disinformation from vested interests, the new Finance Minister has said that the Government will honour the promise - Mainichi Daily News - "New finance minister vows to stick to DPJ election vows".
Monday 28 September 2009
Ala-ad-din staying in business
BBC - "Scrappage scheme to be extended".
More on Inter County Connector mega tolls - Baltimore Sun - "Hearings offer good forum to air details of ICC tolls" Washington Post - "Crash Course on Tolls" letter.
Sundry - Oregon / Washington State - "Portland's bridge to nowhere" California - "Riverside County making move to add toll roads".
Threat to Mayor
Evening Standard - "Mayor could face legal fight over scrapping of C-charge extension". Where were these lawyers when Ken was ignoring consultations on the con charge?
Meeting over Humber Bridge
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Bridge boss to meet minister over debts".
Bit more on - Le Québec libre - non
CTV - "Tremblay talks toll roads" video.
Sunday 27 September 2009
Examiner - "Toll roads finally DEAD in San Antonio?" My San Antonio - "Adkisson to push no-toll proposal" lot of comments.
Selling tolls across the Union (the FHWA published this at the end of July but we did not notice) - "Transit and Congestion Pricing - A Primer" pdf.
Selling tolls in Utah - Deseret News - "You drive, you pay" lot of comments.
Sundry - Maryland - "E-ZPass hits own bottleneck" "Ohio fires up E-ZPass on turnpike this week; drivers eager for electronic toll system" Missouri - "Interstate 70 is broke. How should we pay to fix it?" California - "Roadshow: Toll lane rage" Louisiana - "Businesses in Leeville struggle with new bridge".
Pennsylvania - "Toll temerity" Texas - "Border highway to have pay lanes" California - "FasTrak frustration: Months of billing errors" video Florida - "Report lauds I-95 toll express lanes" Maryland - "Usage will gauge ICC toll" Maryland - "A heavy toll?" Maryland - "Proposed ICC Tolls Among Nation's Highest".
Le Québec libre - non
The Gazette - "Liberals vote to bring back highway tolls".
New Brunswick too - Telegraph-Journal - "Toll talk astonishes Conservative MLA".
The National - "Singapore on right track for Dubai Metro".
Road pricing in Singapore seems to have little effect on either miles driven or congestion. The reason is that cars are rationed and expensive to own. Road tolls will have little effect on the minority who own cars and who pay very high fixed costs.
Another empty tunnel?
Courier Mail (Brisbane) - "Angry commuters to drive revolt over $4.20 Clem7 toll".
More on Cambridgeshire moving a step closer to road tolls
Cambridgeshire News - "Is it time to set the wheels in motion?".
On Afghanistan's plains
Brisbane Times - "The road to perdition". Surprisingly one of the early actions (September 2002), of the Government that was installed after the western invasion, was to abolish road tolls, at least officially.
Friday 25 September 2009
No Con for Portugal
News Online - "City tolls not yet viable, say experts".
Some opposition to Vancouver Mayor's tolls plan
Whistler Question - "Melamed says ‘no’ to Sea to Sky tolls".
Thursday 24 September 2009
More Global Warming hype
BBC - "Laser satellite records ice loss" BBC - "Bid to protect England's topsoil". It seems that scientists in almost any "field" justify their jobs by feeding the Carbon religion. The next thing will be someone saying that black cats are not as black as they were due to cimate change. Or has some scientist already done this?
LaHood repeats his support for tolls and implies that Federal money will favour mass transit - Times-Herald (Georgia) - "Fed DOT secretary speaks at World Congress Center".
More on e-tolls making life easier - CBS (Texas) - "Alleged Toll Violators Dispute Excessive NTTA Fees".
Novel view on whether drivers need to be licensed - Immigration Daily - "Paving the Road to Serfdom".
Inter County Connector tolls - Baltimore Sun - "MTA unveils toll plan for Intercounty Connector" WJLA - "Some Motorists Oppose Proposed ICC Toll Rates" Washington Examiner - "ICC could cost drivers up to $9 per trip" WTOP - "Toll plan for controversial ICC released" Washington Post - "ICC Tolls Could Top 35 Cents Per Mile" Washington Post - "Maryland Outlines Toll Plan for ICC" lot of comments.
Sundry - Massachusetts - "Letter: Get behind petition to 'close the tolls' " Pennsylvania - "Turnpike agency trying anew to toll I-80".
The Council say they have made a submission, but the DfT say not quite - Reading Chronicle - "Tif bid fills 18 boxes".
More on Will he, won't he?
Guardian - "Boris's transport policy breaks down" Evening Standard - "This C-charge mess is getting London nowhere" from Ken Evening Standard - "Revolt over Mayor’s delay in scrapping C-charge" Guardian - "Western extension: rage and perception" Evening Standard - "Boris drives London's motorists round the bend" Boris writing in Conservatives Blog - "The axe will fall on the Western Extension Zone".
Report from the war front
Mirror - "Licence to steal all OUR money".
Yarmouth toll only a shadow
Follow up to story on 16th - The Advertiser - "Councillor pledge support for new Yarmouth bridge".
More on Tory Cambridgeshire moves a step closer to road tolls
After the story that we had on 22nd this was the press release on the 23rd - Cambridgeshire County Council - "County Council Cabinet Tackle Transport Conundrum".
South African tolls closer
ITWeb - "R1.16bn e-toll contract awarded".
The great uninsured
BofE - "'Close to 2m' uninsured drivers" Daily Express - "Half Of Drivers In Our Cities Are Not Insured".
It is a bit suprising that there are two million vehicles uninsured as according to the DfT - "Vehicle Excise Duty Evasion: 2008" pdf - there are about 300 thousand untaxed vehicles including 200 thousand cars, and you need to show that a vehicle has been insured when you tax it. Whatever the real figures are, if compulsory third party insurance was included in fuel duty, then the Police would have more time for other things.
Wednesday 23 September 2009
Sundry - California - "Deficit grows despite higher toll" West Virginia - "Parkways Authority: Agency’s role in new plan disappointing" Land Line Mag - "Senate passes interstate tolling ban in Texas".
Big Blue claims
IBM Press Release - "IBM Brings 50% Reduction in Waiting Time to the Morning Commute in Sweden's Capital". Mamma Mia! Did they also discover ABBA?
Mayor to go back on his promise?
Evening Standard - "Boris Johnson shelves plan to scrap C-charge" London Informer - "Boris's Congestion Charge pledge turnabout?" Daily Mail - "Boris Johnson accused of 'betrayal' after U-turn over plan to scrap western extension to C-charge zone" Londonist - "Western Congestion Charge To Stay?".
It looks as if the London establishment may have beaten the Mayor. Failure to honour this election promise would not only affect drivers, it would also mean that businesses in the western zone will be damaged.
PS There are denials - Guardian - "Boris Johnson: his transport adviser insists the WEZ will go in 2010" Guardian - "Boris's Congestion Charge pledge turnabout?" Mayor Watch - "City Hall denies axing c-charge western extension removal".
PPS By coincidence today there wasa press release from "Epay", part of Euronet Worldwide, Inc. who specialise in "alternative and convenient payment methods for road tolls, congestion charge and transport tickets". The firm have been given a 5 year contract by TfL for - the London Congestion Charge.
From the Inflation Committee
BofE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting 9 And 10 September 2009" pdf.
More nonsense from the Troll Times
Times - "Who gets the jam as Japan cuts road tolls?". These reported jams have nothing to do with lowering or removing tolls. There is more traffic than usual because Japan is having a week where every day is a public holiday. It is also nonsense to say that there is more use of fossil fuel, as Japan has been reported as using less fuel, partly due to a reduction in air travel.
If the Japanese Government honours its election promise and removes road tolls then there will probably be more road traffic, but abolition of tolls will also remove the delays that paying them causes and there may well be less gridlock.
It tolls for thee whether you are there or not
Maple Ridge News - "Dinged for bridge toll while in Manitoba".
Telegraph - "Car crash free future unveiled in Stockholm".
Religious meeting at UN
Yesterday's prayer meeting was led by Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao of China, with President Obama giving one of his usual impassioned and articulate speeches about the perils of "climate change" and Presidents Hu Jintao promising vague carbon targets - BBC - "UN chief praises climate summit".
The World population is forecast to grow between now and 2050 by 2.5 billion. Even with population controls, China will have nearly 100 million extra people. America will have an extra 130 million more people - 43% growth. When will President Obama and other politicians speak about the real problem?
Tuesday 22 September 2009
Tip of the Iceberg
Daily Mail - "'It's just like forgetting to pay the congestion charge': Baroness Scotland makes light of £5,000 fine for employing illegal immigrant" Evening Standard - "Baroness Scotland's c-charge excuse for £5k fine".
Lady Scotland is the first individual to be fined under this law, so it is clear that the rest of the establishment are getting away "scot free". They, including many MPs, may also be getting away with colluding in the evasion of PAYE and NI. No wonder that the Lib Dem spokesman said today that he wants the Calais migrants, who are mainly Afghanis claiming asylum, admitted to Britain.
Tory Cambridgeshire moves a step closer to road tolls
Hunts Post - "£25m New Cambs Station Bid Ahead Of Congestion Charge" Cambridge News - "Bid for new £25 million city rail station".
More tolls pushing from a Bill Gates Foundation - Crosscut (Washington State) - "Time to go 'all-in' on tolls".
A rare event - "Louisiana Official: Do away with CCC tolls and CCC bridge police" wwltv - "State Rep wants to end tolls on Crescent City Connection " video wwltv - "Money, political woes don't derail I-5 bridge designers".
Discrimination - Virginia - "Arlington: Race a Factor in HOT Lanes".
Sundry - DC / Virginia - "Fairfax balks at sharing toll dollars" Virginia - "Locals Willing To Open Wallets" Land Line Mag - "Massachusetts bills would tap tolls to boost road funds".
Bay Of Plenty loves tolls
Bay of Plenty Times - "Public back toll plans to speed up motorway" Voxy - "NZTA Thanks Bay Of Plenty For Submissions On Tolling Proposal".
More on more tolls
The Province - "Tolls an unfair tax on suburbs".
Ned Kelly rides again
Courier Mail (Brisbane) - "Toll fees unpaid on Gateway and Logan Motorways".
Monday 21 September 2009
ITS - "Limiting parking works better than high road tolls".
Reuters - "NXP and Skymeter Cooperate to Develop Solution for Road Pricing".
More toll pushing
Canada.com - "Cash-strapped cities face tough choices".
All that glitters
Liverpool Echo - "Mersey tunnels hit by £86,000 fake coin scam" Liverpool Click - "Fraudsters' fake coins cost Mersey Tunnels £86,000" BBC - "Tunnels hit by fake £1 coin fraud" Wirral Globe - "Investigation launched after fake coins are used at tunnel toll booths".
No tunnel users will be crying over this, though the real mystery is why there are so few dud coins. According to the Royal Mint, 2.5% of one pound coins are duds, so with the Tunnels raking in 36 million pounds a year from drivers in the Liverpool area why is this so called "scam" not costing the authorities one million pounda a year?
Bit more on Helsinki Con proposal
Helsingen Sanomat - "Vantaa fears that congestion tolls could slow down airport traffic".
Bit on Humber bridge tolls
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Council urged to support abolition of tolls".
Banking on inflation
There are further signs that the Bank of England will do anything to increase consumer spending and revive asset inflation. The latest proposal is negative interest rateshttp://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/4640426.Investigation_launched_after_fake_coins_are_used_at_tunnel_toll_booths/ for money deposited with it by the banks. In the meantime it seems that the only thing that prevents sterling being even lower is that other currencies are in almost as bad a state - BofE news release - "Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin
2009 Q3" PA - "Spending cuts 'could harm recovery'" Reuters - "Sterling falls on BoE report, broad dollar weakness".
A little sleight of hand
Accountancy Age - "Darling’s £32bn ruse".
More on Lib Dems say they would sell the motorways
Yesterday we mentioned what was in the Times, but the story had come out earlier (see 30 August). What revived it was a report "Tackling the fiscal crisis: A recovery plan for the UK" from Vince Cable which has just been published by "Reform". In it he says "There are in addition government agencies like the Highways Agency which is valued by the government asset register at £80 billion ... While a conventional privatisation would not be feasible – there is no income stream at present – there is value which could be realised with imaginatively structured deals. A sensible way forward would be to link asset sale with the introduction of road user pricing ...".
The Lib Dem conference paper "A Fresh Start for Britain" has this to say on driving - "Fairer, greener motoring – We will bring in a fairer system of taxation on driving with better rewards for responsible car use. We will work towards introducing revenue-neutral road pricing on motorways and major trunk roads to replace VED and reduce fuel duty...".
Times - "Pensions 'quality mark' unveiled". The pensions sytem is unfair, unequal and inefficient. It should be replaced but those who gain from the system control Britain and they will make sure that any changes are only cosmetic.
Sunday 20 September 2009
Lib Dems say they would sell the motorways
Times - "How the public spending cuts will hit YOU". Strange that the Time does not mention that David Cameron wants to do the same.
Cyclists Über Alles
BBC - "Cyclists ride in car-free London".
Lib Dems attack the rich i.e. users of the former toll bridges
Herald - "SNP helps the rich and ignores the poor, Lib Dem leader says". The MP who is complaining about the loss of tolls income, in the the year 2008/09 claimed £13,691 on travel.
Sundry - California - "Roadshow: Bay Area may soon lead nation in carpool lanes open to solo drivers for a fee" Florida - "Tolls for trains Oregon / Washington State - "Money, political woes don't derail I-5 bridge designers".
Update on Galileo
Guardian - "Project Galileo is preparing for liftoff. But will Britain be left out in the cold?". Will Britain also be left out of the spying on drivers?
Bit more on more tolls
Ctvbc - "Vancouver mayor proposes Sea to Sky Highway toll" video.
Saturday 19 September 2009
Sundry - Utah - "HOV tolls to increase during rush hour" Oregon / Washington State - "Political squabbles put Interstate Bridge project in doubt" lot of comments Oregon / Washington State - "Agreement on design, more conflict on lanes" lot of comments Oregon / Washington State - "Your opinion counts: congestion-pricing proposal for future I-5 bridge" New Hampshire - "Study: I-93 toll would not burden secondary roads".
More on - Possible new tolls
CBC - "Vancouver mayor suggests tolling major roadways" Whistler Question - "Melamed says 'no' to Sea to Sky tolls" Calgary Herald - "Sea-to-Sky toll pitched by Vancouver mayor".
Friday 18 September 2009
BBC - "18,000 drivers had illegal fines". Perhaps the Manchester authority did not pick this up because it was busy with one of its other anti driver measures - trying to bring in a Con charge.
Another anti toll site - AJC (Ga.) - "Your morning jolt: The mixed message on toll roads" TearDowntheToll.com.
The Senate have just passed a bill which includes a clause preventing tolling of existing interstates, though only those in Texas are covered - Dallas News - "Earmarks, toll roads and the Rashoman effect; Perry and Hutchison tangle over highway bill".
Sundry - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA drops tourism funding" Oregon / Washington State - "Beset by money woes, I-5 bridge project looks at cuts" "Oklahoma Pikepass system set to use stickers" Georgia - "HOV toll lane network for Atlanta?" Florida - "Toll Lanes On I-4: Would You Pay To Drive?".
The Atlantic - "The Warlord Takes Mastercard".
Snakes and Ladders game with Eight Pounds penalty if you slip
Mayor Watch - "Motorists warned of c-charge risk during 8 week road closure".
Finnish politicians falling for Con trick
Helsingen Sanomat - "Helsinki and state leaders more amenable to congestion charges".
PA - "Birth control could help combat climate change" Reuters - "Contraception vital in climate change fight -expert" Telegraph - "Contraceptives can reduce impact of climate change says Lancet" LA Times - "Can condoms combat climate change? " The Register - "Lancet: Hordes of patio-heater babies will doom planet"
Lancet - "Sexual and reproductive health and climate change" (free registration required).
The puzzle is why any part of the establishment and the news media admits that population is a problem even if it is only in the context of climate change hokum. Some writers can't resist saying that it would be a catstrophe if the population stopped growing as there would be too many old people, and presumably not enough Polynesian domestics for Government Ministers.
Inflation fuel not quite as high
In August the annual rate of increase in money supply fell from 14.4% to 12.6% - BofE News release - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending) August 2009".
More on - Possible new tolls
Richmond News - "Knight Street toll bridge idea slammed" The Province - "Sea-to-Sky toll pitched by Vancouver mayor".
E tolls bonus
BC Local - "For whom the bridge tolls, not always thee".
More Vietnam toll complaints
Vietnam Net - "Transport companies bark about road toll".
Manchester Con King may be back
The politician who Manchester Against Road Tolls helped to unseat may come out from the cold - Manchester Evening News - "'Congestion charge kid' plans comeback".
The Government shows the way
BBC - "Public sector borrowing soaring".
More hot air on the Beeb
BBC - "Pause in Arctic's melting trend" BBC - "Warming Arctic 'halts migration'".
There are stil a few people, largely working underground, who have the strange idea that the Sun has some connection with Earth's temperature. They point out that we are going through one of the lowest troughs in the sunspot cycle for nearly 100 years and that solar radio emissions are at their lowest level since records began in the 1950s. It is difficult to predict what comes next with the Sun and how large a part the fluctuations in the sun's activity play in the Earth's temperature. And which is "normal", the recent relatively cool period or the the relatively warm period around 2000?
Thursday 17 September 2009
Bit more on India selling tolls
Reuters - "India sees $3 bln in highway tolls, tax revenue".
Sundry - Florida - "Could toll lanes get I-4 rolling?" Virginia - "Analysis: candidates divided on road funding" Washington State - "State won't be ready on time, delays start of tolling on 520 bridge" DC / Virginia - "Reston Considers Toll Increases".
Cyclists to be enouraged to ride wrong way
COI - "Contra-Flow lanes for cyclists to encourage greener travel". Does this mean that they will not be riding on the pavements?
Further measures against uninsured drivers
COI - "Tough new powers to tackle uninsured drivers". It is in the interests of insured drivers that all drivers have insurance, but if third party insurance is compulsory it would be far easier to include it in the fuel duty.
Inflation - latest survey of what people believe
BofE - "Bank of England/GfK NOP Inflation Attitudes Survey".
Another update on Zimbabwe's new tolls
All Africa - "Move to Minimise Tollgates Revenue Leaks".
Possible new tolls
Vancouver 24hrs - "Knight Bridge may face tolls" The Province - "TransLink ponders toll on Knight Street bridge" News 1130 - "B.C. Trucking Association not in favour of any Knight Street Bridge toll ".
Wednesday 16 September 2009
Sundry - Washington State - "Another delay in 520-Bridge tolls" DC / Virginia - "October ‘Summit’ Set on HOT-Lane Concerns" Land Line Mag - "OOIDA: Speak up on Wyoming I-80 toll plan".
Massachusetts - "Mullan gets top job, new tolls floated as funding continues to vex" Connecticut - "Tolls Could Return To Conn. - Lawmakers Looking Into Bringing Tolls At Conn. Borders" "Kansas Turnpike Tolls to Increase for Those Without Transponders".
Another American view on the effects of a Con
Faster Times - "How Far We Haven't Come in City Transit".
Eastern Daily Press - "Yare river crossing costs rise".
Mayor Watch - "Johnson: We’re still chasing US Embassy for unpaid C-charge".
If they really believe that the embassies are liable to pay the Con tax, why have they not gone to court?
NineMSN - "Sydney motorists conned out of $115 million".
Official unemployment up
BBC - "UK unemployment climbs to 2.47m" ONS - "Labour market statistics - September 2009".
BBC - "New speed limits to beat M4 jams".
It was recognised years ago that a new road was needed near Newport. Unfortunately the trolls persuaded the politicians that it should be tolled. That of course would mean that the road would not be fully effective in reducing congestion. The politicians and trolls would not have cared about the congestion but it eventually dawned on them that no one would take the risk of financing a road that few would use, so earlier this year the scheme was dropped. What does this say about the future? Dead slow and eventually stop?
More on the Golden bridge
More on the sorry saga of a new Forth Road Bridge - BBC - "£5m plan for failed bridge bids" Courier - "Bridge “bribe” claim rejected" Courier - "Councils clash over crossing".
When NAATS were campaigning for the removal of the tolls, those who wanted to keep them said that at least those on the Forth bridge had to be kept as either there would be too much traffic or the bridge was falling down. Unfortunately even though the tolls were removed, nearly all of the MSPs were persuaded that there had to be a new bridge. Even worse they eventually agreed that the new bridge would have no more capacity than the existing bridge which would be virtually closed (only buses will be allowed to use it), and they agreed a budget for the new bridge that would have paid for ten bridges. Strangely those who are now clamouring the loudest that a new bridge is not needed are the ones that said it was needed before the tolls were abolished.
More dangerous nonsense about the climate
BBC - "Doctors warn on climate failure" BBC - "Bank urges climate 'action now'".
Is there any purpose behind any of this other than to distract people from the real problem which is that there are too many people?
Tuesday 15 September 2009
NY Times - "Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix ".
Sundry - Massachusetts - "Tolls and taxes on committee’s agenda" Massachusetts - "At last, pols may pass test" Texas - "Planners see dip in money for new roads" DC / Virginia - "Fairfax supervisors back HOT lanes on I-95".
Ken tells Australians how fast the traffic is going
Brisbane Times - "Ken we fix it? Oh yes, we can". (Judging by the picture, Brisbane has found some way of making cars disappear without any Con tricks.)
Governor informs MPs of efforts to increase inflation
BBC - "UK inflation rate falls to 1.6%" BofE - "Treasury Committee Hearings
Britain's Scientists concentrate on the GW religion"
Sky - "Climate Change Experts Warn Of UK Tsunamis" BBC - "'Ice explorer' ready for launch" Guardian (on 6 Sep) - "Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters".
Nottingham signs suicide note
BBC - "Workplace parking levy approved" Telegraph - "Britain's first work place parking levy gets go ahead" Nottingham Evening Post - "Council votes in favour of Workplace Parking Levy".
Monday 14 September 2009
Worth getting old for? Boston Herald - "Bill would allow seniors to drive toll-free".
When is a suspension bridge, not a suspension bridge? Orlando Sentinel - "If Crotty's the frog, GOP needs a prince" WFTV - "$1.5M For Fake Suspension On 408 Bridge" video.
Sundry - Maryland - "Canceling an E-ZPass account isn't so easy" Massachusetts - "Transport situation is a real mess" North Carolina / Virginia - "Officials mulling over Va. toll" NY - "E-Z, there! New toll-evade $lap" Oregon / Washington State - "Your opinion counts: congestion-pricing proposal for future I-5 bridge".
Do It Yourself
The Grocer - "Dhamecha ditches deliveries for depots".
"Media 're-open' North Eastern Passage"
The Register - "Thermageddon fever disappears 70 year trade route" BBC - "German ships blaze Arctic trail".
More pressure on the new Japanese Government to keep tolls
It has been reported that only 3 of the 47 prefectural governors (elected mayors of Japan's 47 local government areas) support the policy of removing the tolls. As the tolls roads were privatised in 2005 it is not clear what the governors who want to keep toll roads expect to gain.
Irish toll future
Independent - "Taxpayers face multi-billion euro motorway bill" Irish Times - "State paying millions upfront for projects nationwide".
Work is starting to convert the hard shoulders on part of the M6, including stretches that parallel the M6 Toll - BBC - "Work starts on M6 hard shoulders" Sentinel (Staffordshire) - "Work starts to beat M6 jams" Express & Star (Staffordshire) - "Drivers facing year of roadwork delays".
With toll roads there are usual secret "funnelling" clauses that prevent improvements to alternate raods, so why is this going ahead? The most likely reason is that the aim is to increase congestion due to road works which will be spun out by the Government over several years. The best way to improve traffic flow between junctions 4 and 11a of the M6 and throughout the West Midlands would be to remove the tolls, why is not a single MP advocating this?
Friday 11 September 2009
Another Con Survey
County Surveyors' Society press release - "Jams Better Than Congestion Charges Says Survey" CSS - "Survey of public attitudes towards transport, 2009" pdf.
As with most of these surveys, people are misled into thinking that the tolls go towards "public transport improvement" or some such. The real situation in London is that most of it is spent on administration and enforcement. If people were told this there would be even greater opposition to the Con.
Sitting on the tolls and congestion pricing fence (but no doubt which way he will jump) - NY Daily News - "MTA Chief-In-Waiting Walder On The Move In Albany" Newsday - "Jay Walder confirmed as new leader of MTA".
More troll non-sense - DC Streetsblog - "The ‘Movie Ticket’ Theory of Transportation Pricing". For most drivers, using the roads is never free, and even if by some miracle it was, people use the roads to get from A to B and not for entertainment.
Sundry - Pennsylvania - "Route 422 tolls will create an ever bigger hardship for drivers" Oregon - "Tolls are resounding issue in first debate of Vancouver mayor, challenger" Florida - "Use money from land sale to reduce toll road's debt" NY - "Fine to double for E-ZPass toll evasion at N.Y. crossings" Louisiana - "Officials still ‘working out the kinks’ with Leeville toll bridge".
Some good news
There are reports that the Dutch plan to introduce road pricing has been delayed.
Irish Times - "M50 buyout 'good value' - C&AG". The Irish seem to have a strange idea of value for money. It would be interesting to know who it was that benefitted from giving the right in the 1980s for a private firm to build a toll bridge in the middle of the new M50 motorway.
A Con for every main road in South Africa
IOL Motoring - "Lights, Cameras, Traction - The Chips Are Down".
One comment is from "Peter" - "Why is it that this country wants to implement high-tech "First World" systems such as this .. when a large number of its citizens cannot afford bread and milk? ... It is high time the government started concentrating on the basics of decent human life and stopped thinking of ways to fleece the (more or less) affluent of its citizens to fill their own pockets."
Bit more on Singapore's Off peak cars
Asia One - "Who should switch to off-peak cars".
Mass transit body continues to push fo road tolls
From BC Local papers - BC Local - "Report revs up debate on road pricing".
Ex Labour minster wants more road tolls and hospital parking charges
Eastern Daily Press - "Charles Clarke call for rigorous control of public spending".
More urging that the new Japanese Government keeps tolls
Forbes - "Japan's Carbon Conundrum".
BBC - "UK climate scepticism more common". The people behind this survey say "It is time we made it real to people." Does this mean even more propaganda?
BBC - "UK 'could face blackouts by 2016'". As Britain has massive coal reserves and pioneered nuclear power, how could we end up with this situation?
BBC - "Ministry push for low-carbon cars". Another demonstration that our politicians are either gullible or believe that we are.
BBC - "Household wealth 'falls by £31k'".
Changes in the money values of houses and shares have little direct effect on people's incomes. What does have an effect is the measures taken by the Government and the Bank of England which have boosted the spending power of those who are in debt and reduced the spending power of those who save.
Thursday 10 September 2009
Vauxhall goes to Canadians / Germans / Russians
Despite earlier stories that GM was to keep its European arm, it is to be sold to Canadian firm and Russian bank with German Government backing - BBC - "Opel and Vauxhall to go to Magna" CNN - "GM to sell stake in Europe's Opel".
Given that Britain has no real money it had little say in a decision which puts the future of the British plants in doubt.
Inflation policy continues
BBC - "UK interest rates remain on hold" News Release - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and continues with £175 Billion Asset Purchase Programme".
Sundry - Virginia - "Battle Lines Drawn Over HOT Lanes Dispute" Virginia - "Tolls From Chesapeake Exp. Could Fund Steel Bridge".
Complaint about sudden toll rise
Jamaica Observer - "For whom the bell tolls".
Wednesday 9 September 2009
Global Cooling but only for a bit
The Register - "Thermageddon? Postponed! It might get chilly for a bit".
Human beings live for such a short time, that what may be minor fluctuations or short term cycles are seen as long term trends. The reality is that we are still in an Ice Age which started about 2.5 million years ago. The current Ice Age is known as the Quaternary or Pleistocene glaciation. Colder periods within an Ice Age are called glacials and less cold periods are called interglacials. (Most people have been taught that it was the last glacial which was the Ice Age.) Currently we are in an interglacial period which began 11 to 12 thousand years ago, and is called the Holocene. There is no way of knowing when we will be back to a colder glacial period or at the other extreme we are actually heading out of the real Ice Age. We can not be sure of anything other than that the Global Warming / Climate Change religion distracts attention from problems that are far worse.
Trolls forecast to make more money
Forbes - "Traffic uptick to buoy European toll road operators".
More on effect of Dartford tolls
Harlow Herald - "Higher Tolls Cause Congestion For Motorists At The Dartford Crossing".
Sundry - Pennsylvania - "Tolling new road concerns supervisors" Washington State - "New bridge a no-go without tolling" Virginia - "Who takes a toll road when other options are free?" Illinois - "New tollway leader Paula Wolff discusses the 'State of the Tollway'".
Rhode Island - "New Pell Bridge toll-collection technology doesn’t cut crossing cost" Rhode Island - "Million-dollar view costs $2 more on Newport bridge" DC/ Virginia - "Residents accepting of toll increases".
Different view on effect of school run
ABD - "Bizarre PR from ETA Muddles Facts on School Run".
AA say anti traffic measures may increase emissions
Sky - "AA Gets The Hump Over 'Excessive' Schemes".
Keep on Flying
Establishment body "the Committee on Climate Change" is chaired by Lord Turner who is also chair of the Financial Services Authority. The committee have published a report saying that growth in flying should be restricted but that even so there will have to be 90% cuts in other emissions to make up for flying - BBC - "Planes 'to reset climate targets'" Committee on Climate Change letter to Minister (pdf).
Another bust on the way
BBC - "Market crisis 'will happen again'".
Tuesday 8 September 2009
Sundry - Massachusetts - "Tolls not the answer to fixing our highways" North Carolina - "WNC unlikely to have tolls".
"Town planners have us on the road to ruin"
Edinburgh Evening News. Unfortunately this applies all over Britain - the authorities seem to prefer it that traffic does not move, apart from bicycles and buses.
Shareholder goes to law
The Australian - "Leighton starts lawsuit against ConnectEast".
FTA want toll reward
Materials Handling World - "FTA, calls for reward for carbon cutting hauliers with cheaper tolls ". A pity that the FTA seems not to realise that tolls add to vehicle emissions due to vehicles either queuing at the tolls or divetring on to less suitable routes. What is needed is no tolls.
The Dartford highway hold-up
Echo - "Broken promises are making the Dartford crossing a shambles".
Spanish toll out of money
According to the BBC and scientists - Typically Spanish - "Construction of new Málaga motorway at a standstill".
More on - Tax Commission wants more taxes on cars
Irish Independent - "VRT may fall, but cost of motoring would rise" Irish Times - "Motor groups see tax as revenue generating exercise".
More on - Council supports tolls
Daily Post - "Councillors support tolling of Eastern Link".
More on - Popularity of cashless tolls
SE Advertiser - "40,000 fail to pay E-Toll".
According to the BBC and scientists - "Seas 'threaten 20m in Bangladesh'" due to Global warming. This may or may not be true, what is ceratinly true is that like most of the rest of the world there is a population problem. Since 1950, the population of Bangladesh has grown by 110 million, and by 2050 it is predicted that there will be another 80 million.
Bad news for wrong reason
BBC - "High Street sales fall back again". This is more disinformation from the shops and those who like a consumption culture even though Britain already consumes far more than it produces.
Total retail sales were actually up 2.2% in August or on a three month weighted average were up 3% - British Retail Consortium - "Retail Sales Monitor August 2009".
Monday 7 September 2009
Sundry - Virginia - "What a way to build the region’s roads" "N.J. has no excuse for failing roads" Texas - "Toll increase means side roads for many N. Texans " Washington State - "Portland mayor calls for smaller Columbia River bridge" Illinois - "Tollway project pushed through with less scrutiny, public input" Kentucky /Ohio - "Bridge to costs states $160 million".
How "free" world tolls are progessing in Zimbabwe
Sunday News - "Storm over tollgate tickets" All Africa - " Hue And Cry Over Christon Bank Tollgates".
Scottish Government being urged to bring in road pricing
Herald - "‘Make motorists pay to cut carbon’".
Popularity of cashless tolls
Courier Mail - "Gateway Motorway e-tolls drive users away".
Tax Commission wants more taxes on cars - fuel duty plus road pricing plus con charging
Irish Times - "Group calls for fuel tax to replace VRT".
Congestion will always be with us
BBC - Congestion cut 'due to recession'". It is suggested that congestion has fallen because of the recession. The reality is that congestion may have fallen a bit because the authorities have less time and money to spend on their war against the motorist, as it is them who are responsible for much of the congestion.
BBC - "Could the UK drive on the right?". This would be such a waste of time and money, it is a wonder that the political parties are not already backing it.
Saturday 5 September 2009
Two views on road pricing
From BC Local papers - "The clogged commute: Will the Canada Line ease road congestion?" "Report revs up debate on road pricing".
Bit more on "Private" toll tunnel to be publicly funded
Brisbane Times - "Council's 45-year tunnel debt".
The usual disinformation from the Met Office
Officially August temperatures in Britain were either close to normal or one degree higher - Met Office - "August 2009".
In the real world for most of Britain, the daytime temperatures have of course been unusally low. The most likely explanation is the Sun, which is at the low point of one of its cycles, but the Met Office policy is to say that the Sun is not significant. One worry is that the signs are that the current solar minimum is lower than it has been for nearly a century - Space weather, so you had better get your wooly clothing ready.
One weather forecaster who uses the Sun and are also Global Warming sceptics are -
Friday 4 September 2009
Sundry - Wyoming - "I-80 toll cost estimates jump" Wyoming - "Study suggests tolls for Interstate 80 are feasible" Pennsylvania - "Highway funding nebulous" Pennsylvania - "PennDOT faces massive reductions" West Virginia - "E-ZPass hot item now on higher turnpike tolls".
New York ain't London
NY1 - "Likely New MTA Leader Won't Push Congestion Pricing" video.
More troll economics from the FT
FT Editorial - "Road to nowhere". We wonder if the FT and other troll interests have been whispering in Boris's ear about not removing the western extension to the Con?
News from Oz
"Private" toll tunnel to be publicly funded - Courier Mail - "Northern Link to make Brisbane city of tunnels" Brisbane Times - Northern Link to go ahead".
To variable toll or not - Brisbane Times - "Toll wars: peak hour hikes not on Brisbane's agenda".
More on Humber bridge board fighting for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "Legal threat over bridge tolls freeze" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Humber Bridge clerk demands summit".
Car sales up, sort of
BBC - "Scrappage scheme lifts car sales" SMMT - "Market growth strengthens in August". Sales in August are up compared with the same month last year, but the year to date figures are 21.5% down. As usual the SMMT does not reveal that most of the car sales are imports.
More Global Warming religion from the Beeb
BBC - "Arctic 'warmest in 2,000 years'". What a pity that we are given propaganda rather than unvarnished facts.
Thursday 3 September 2009
USA Roundup - later stories
From LaHood speaking in Chicago - NASDAQ - "Higher Gas Tax, Road Mileage Charges Remain An Option -DOT Secretary".
More daft economics
FT - "Charge!". The article admits that electric cars are far more expensive than conventional ones so the FT suggests that "Governments must also do their part" through subsidies and taxes. This is more like green religion than free market economics.
The FT also lists some "sticks and carrots needed to increase demand for cleaner cars" - "Road-pricing schemes, congestion charging and discounted town-centre parking". If the object is to reduce fuel use and vehicle emissions then the only tax that makes sense is fuel duty. Road pricing etc makes no sense except to either those who hope to profit from making toll tags and cameras or administering toll collection and enforcement, or those who can afford electric cars and would like to see those who are less well off paying more.
The Government is consulting on a plan for "smart" tickets. The consultation paper gives "tolls" as one possible use and refers to the "the introduction of innovative links between ticketing and other transport areas such as tolls, parking, lift-sharing, car hire and even fuel purchasing." -
DfT - "Consultation on developing a strategy for integrated and smart ticketing".
National Park abandons road tolls idea
BBC - "National park makes plan U-turn".
Decline to continue
BBC - "UK 'will miss start of recovery'".
The problem with Britain is that we consume more than we produce and borrow more than we lend. The only ideas that the three major parties have for Britain are to spend more and borrow more. On this basis Britain can only recover enough to climb back into the sick bed.
Parking tax proposal - Examiner - "Congestion pricing for San Francisco?".
Sundry - West Virginia - "Turnpike Tolls: A 60 Percent Increase Brings In 45 Percent More" Michigan - "Tolls may not cover Mackinac Bridge upkeep" Virginia - "Economic growth part of Steel Bridge pitch".
Left wing support for Road Privatisation idea
New Statesman - "Sell off the Roads!" see third piece.
Still peddling toll myths
Amazingly, Americans are still being told that the London Con is a success - Forbes - "Congestion fees are coming to U.S. cities".
This particular story comes from HNTB who recently (see Tuesday) published a survey which claims that Americans strongly support tolls including congestion pricing. For some facts about the London Con see our London page
China abolished tolls (for the second time) from January. In practice many of the tolls remain but fuel prices which were to increase to encourage fuel economy have still gone up - CCTV - "China raises fuel cost by 4%".
Bit more on Humber bridge board fighting for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "Will council tax soar to cover bridge debt?" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Humber Bridge Board takes on Government" BBC - "Legal action possible over tolls".
Spend, spend, spend
BBC - "Keep spending, Darling urges G20".
That's alright then
"The world should not worry about the threat posed by India's carbon emissions, since its per-capita emissions would never exceed that of developed countries" - BBC - "India emissions 'triple by 2030'".
In 1950 the population of India was 370 million, today it has reached 1,160 million and the forecast for 2050 is 1,650 million. Strange that there is concern about CO2, but not about how another 500 million are going to be fed etc or all the extra waste and pollution that will result from 500 million more people. Though looking on the bright side there will be a lot more potential customers for the private toll roads that India is building.
Wednesday 2 September 2009
The lights are going off
A story from the weekend that we missed - Telegraph - "Traffic lights to be switched off in safety experiment". The real problem is that there are too many people in the centre of London. It would help if we had an English Parliament and an English Government based somewhere outside of London.
Bit more on Humber bridge board fighting for toll increase
Hull Daily Mail - "Taxpayers may have to pay Humber Bridge debt".
One point that is not mentioned is that though the bridge has a crippling amount of debt that will ultimately have to be repaid or written off by the Government, the Bridge has general and maintenance reserves. At March 2005 the reserves stood at just over 4 million pounds. At March 2009 they had increased to just over 15 million pounds. Instead of suggestting that Council Tax will have to rise, the authorities should instead concentrate on getting the debt written off. Or do they want an excuse for high tolls?
There is a surprising addition to the camp of those who want the new Japanese Government to renege on its election promise to scrap road tolls. Toyota wants the tolls kept and the Government to instead extend subsidies on purchase of new cars.
Less surprisingly the Wall Street Journal says that "the plan for lower tolls and taxes could meet an untimely end if Japan's air and rail workers' unions have something to say about it". The WSJ also refers to a surge in traffic that it says will make drivers grumpy - "Japan's Planes, Trains and Automobiles". In fact the complete removal of tolls will also remove queues at toll booths and thus may increase the effective capacity of the road - Metacafe -"Toll Booth in Japan" video.
A proposal to scrap Massachusetts tolls will go on the ballot paper providing the organisers collect 67,000 signatures - - Boston Herald - "23 ballot initiatives approved, petitioners must get signatures".
Another preliminary round of court case lost - Metro West - "Pike citizens group's appeal denied" Boston Herald - "Angry Turnpike user lose for third time in court" Boston Globe - "Tollpayer suit against the Pike suffers another setback".
Auto or plane or even train? Business Insider - "Guess What? People Like To Drive, Even If It's Irrational".
Sundry - Virginia - "Dominion Blvd. improvment would have up to $2.50 toll" Virginia - "Dulles Toll Road Faces Lawsuit - Critics Say Backing For Bonds Illegal".
Driver's view for a change
Yorkshire Post - "Brian Gregory: Why Britain is on the wrong road with rising fuel duties".
Irish tolls whimsy
Tolls on motorists using the Dublin Port Tunnel will not be reduced. The tunnel is almost empty, but the authorities prefer it that way - Irish Times - "Tunnel tolls will not be reduced".
Irish Times - "Tag discount technology not invented - NRA". The official who came up with this tale must have kissed the Blarney Stone.
Council supports tolls
The trolls are still trying the Con trick - Bay of Plenty Times - "Bid to limit new motorway tolls ditched".
French way of dealing with congestion
BBC - "Paris mayoral feud blocks street".
The French should come to London and other British cities and they will discover that British officials have found 1,001 ways of creating more congestion.
Europe to take more people in
Expatica - "EU eyes Europe-wide scheme to resettle more refugees".
Tuesday 1 September 2009
Debts down by a whisker
BBC - "Decline in UK personal debt level".
A fall of six hundred million on debts of 1,457 trillion is the equivalent of someone repaying one penny from a debt of 25 thousand pounds. Given that many foreign sources of loans have dried up over the last year, it seems that the money printed by the Bank of England has gone into stopping a significant fall in debt.
A construction company has published the results of a survey that it sponsored which it says shows that Americans strongly support tolls including HOT lanes and congestion pricing - HNTB - "America THINKS - Long-Term Transportation Funding Survey Released".
American scientists have come up with the idea that "Increasing population and employment density in metropolitan areas reduce vehicle travel, energy use, and CO2 emissions" - National Academies - "More Compact Development in Metro Areas Could Reduce Vehicle Travel, Energy Use, CO2 Emissions" links to news release etc.
On the basis of this theory, they should do really well as the official estimate is that the population which was 282 million in 2000 will be 420 million in 2050 - US Census - Projections from 2004 - Table 1a.
From Terri Hall - Examiner - "Sale of Texas roads to foreign entities dies".
LA Times - "Illinois tolls go toward saving endangered dragonfly".
Sundry - Texas - "Toll Rates going up: What is your breaking point?" Virginia - "Pocahontas Parkway looks to growth for a lift".
Selling tolls in the Land of the Trolls
Science Alert - "Benefits in user-pays driving ".
Fuel Duty up from today
Fuel duty has increased by twopence to 56.19 pence. At a total pump price of about 107 pence there will be VAT of about 14 pence, giving the Government just over 70 pence in tax (just over 65% of the total price) - BBC - "Fuel duty rise comes into effect" Revenue & Customs - "BN66 - Hydrocarbon Oils: Duty Rates" pdf.
Fuel duty is a fairer tax than other ways of milking motorists, but total taxes on roads users are too high, while other users of fuel pay low taxes or none at all.
There are already signs that the Democratic Party of Japan will be "encouraged" to renege on its promise to scrap road tolls. It is being said that this was only an "idea" which will be "reconsidered", and that "a panel will be assembled to study the viability of removing tolls" - amazingly it is said that the panel will be mainly made up of members of the defeated Government. It is not yet clear whether this is just wishful thinking. Perhaps the Japenese trolls have noticed that there is no sign of Boris Johnson removing the western extension to the congestion charge since his election victory in May 2008.
Drive on the left to save fuel
BBC - "Samoa road change plea rejected ".