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20 August 2004
Forth Bridge tolls
The authority that runs the Forth road bridge want to increase the tolls, but they are being blocked by a lone hero:-  Story from Charlene Kelly in The Courier from Tayside;    Story on BBC

M6 Tolls increase
The increases announced on 22 July came into effect on 16 August:-  Drivers charged more The increases initially led to chaos:-  Price hike causes congestion

18 August 2004
New M6 toll. Staffordshire county don't like the idea of building another motorway and seem to prefer what was previously agreed i.e. an extra lane each way on the existing M6 road. This doesn't necessarily mean that the councillors agree with NAAT that tolls are a bad idea:-  Staffordshire opposes new M6 toll road.

13 August 2004
Big Stores don't want more Tolls
Sainsburys and M&S join John Lewis in speaking out against extension of charging zone:-   Evening Standard - Retail giants slam C-charge expansion

12 August 2004
End charge earlier
More calls to finish the charge earlier in the evening:-   Evening Standard - 'End C-charge at 6pm'

More International News
Tolls are bad news everywhere. It isn't just the authorities in Britain that think tolls are a great way to get more money. There are tolls stories everyday. Two from today are:-
1. The Governor of Ohio has been complaining that the turnpike road is underused by trucks, who use less suitable roads because of the tolls. The solution is partly to use the Highway Patrol to encourage the trucks to use the toll (let's hope that Alistair Darling doesn't hear about this one):-  Taft wants trucks back on turnpike
2. The war regarding tolls on the only toll road in Ontario rumbles on. Ontario wants tolls reduced, but the road is owned by a European consortium and they have just increased them. The dispute is threatening a trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

11 August 2004
1. Today a committee of MPs said that the Government should be doing more to curb carbon emissions. Story is on BBC at:-  Higher petrol taxes urged by MPs
Cars make up a very small part of carbon emissions, but again they are seen as the easy target. Why? Could it be that the people with influence travel a lot by train (highly subsidised but not as fuel efficient as cars per passenger mile), fly a lot (not taxed at all), and live in big houses (requiring a lot of heating and paying little tax).
Though the committee doesn't seem to be that keen on tolls as it said "It will take 10 to 15 years to introduce road charging on a national basis and such a regime would be far more of a blunt instrument than the present system, where larger differentials in rates of fuel duties and VED can potentially be used to promote a shift to low-carbon vehicles. " You can see the full report at:-  Environmental Audit - Tenth Report

2. Also today, the Government called for a crackdown on the 1,000,000 uninsured drivers:-  DfT News Release
We wonder if they will have any more success than with those drivers who don't pay road tax. At the beginning of this year most drivers surveyed by RAC Foundation said that they would prefer road tax scrapped and assimilated into fuel duty. They could do the same with the "compulsory" third party car insurance.

3. Governments claim to have joined up thinking. But isn't it strange that the committee of MPs are quite happy to keep vehicle excise duty and separate insurance and road tolls, when you would think that they would be recommending that they be added on to fuel duty. Or is that they think that having all these separate charges will fool motorists into not realising how much they are paying?

Zone extension
Ken announces he will go ahead with extension of the charging zone, even though 2 out of 3 oppose it:-   BBC - "Mayor backs charge zone extension"

9 August 2004
M6 Toll success?
Today the company that owns the M6 toll road, announced their traffic figures for July. The average daily figure was 55,000 (weekday figure was 58,000, and weekend day 48,000). This is a big increase and has been hailed as a success. But it ignores 2 things.
Firstly, the government has brought in massive road works on the old M6 which has forced traffic on to other roads:-  M6 roadworks to cause congestion
Secondly, the toll will always deter some of the traffic that would most sensibly be using it. Even at 55,000, the traffic is well below the traffic that was using the old M6 before the toll road opened.
A month ago, the government published some "before" traffic figures for the old M6:-  M6 Toll Traffic Impact Study
Unfortunately figures are not directly comparable with the figure quoted by the toll operator who appears to include vehicles travelling along any part of it. The government figures for the old M6, divide the equivalent stretch of the M6 into 5 parts, with the busiest part carrying 168,000 vehicles on a weekday, and 145,000 on a weekend day.
Our guess is that the real week day figures would be:-
Old M6 before toll road: 250,000 vehicles using some part of the road, 175,000 on the busiest part with an average use along the whole stretch of 150,000.
M6 toll road in July: 58,000 vehicles using some part of the road, 55,000 along the busiest part with an average use along the whole length of 51,000.

8 August 2004
Latest from Association of British Drivers
This link takes you to their home page, you then need to click on "Govt Policy" near top left and then on "Road Pricing, or Pricing Off the Road?":-  Road Pricing, or Pricing Off the Road?

5 August 2004
Controversy continues over Edinburgh Congestion Charge
Yesterday the Scottish Economic Policy Network issued a report on the implication of the proposed congestion charging scheme for Edinburgh. The full report is at:-  Edinburgh, Road Pricing and the Boundary Problem: Issues of Equity and Efficiency
It does not come down against the scheme, but it warns of various problems if the scheme goes ahead. It says that shops and small businesses will be hit. And the report suggests that some way should be found of protecting the poor and low paid from the effects of the scheme.
There is a story on the report at the Scotsman:-:-  Road tolls will fail, says think-tank

Clifton Suspension Bridge toll rise
Toll for cars is to rise from 40 pence to 50 pence.
The road is an essential link for those living in the area and is at the same time almost a historic monument. So naturally the authorities keep all the road taxes to themselves and the bridge is run by a trust and financed from tolls. You can see the story on BBC at:-  Bridge toll to rise

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