The Herald have announced that the Scottish Executive is preparing to announce that tolls on the Skye bridge will be removed by the end of the year.
Abolition of the "discredited" toll regime has been the declared intent of ministers since the last Holyrood election, and a negotiating team has been at work for months, but not everyone thought it could be done. SKAT have had the attitude of believe it when we see it, having been promised this by politicians for so long.
Ministers were reluctant to disclose details last night, but The Herald has learned that a deal has been negotiated with the Skye Bridge Company to buy out the concession to collect the tolls. An announcement is expected within the next week.
The deal should relieve some of the political pressure, not least on the Liberal Democrats. John Farquhar Munro, the LibDem MSP for Ross, Skye and Inverness West, had threatened to resign the party's whip if the tolls were not abolished by the end of 2004. Jim Wallace, the party leader, was on record as saying that goal was achievable.
Read the full story at http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/29003.html
SKAT look forward to celebrating a very Happy New Year by driving over the Bridge for free!
Some other pressure groups will continue their own fight in their own way to try and show how the contract was illegal in the first place. SKAT has always been about abolition of the tolls - period. Looks like we may see that day at last. A victory for the people of Skye and Lochalsh and a victory for SKAT.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 2004.
Most recent revision, 02 December 2004