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Tuesday 31 August 2010

australia More on the latest big toll loss
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "New York state of mind leaves investors wary of taking a bite"   The Australian - "Clem7 tunnel losses endanger public-private infrastructure"   Sydney Morning Herald - "Toll tunnel at point of collapse"   Sydney Morning Herald - "The toll roads that turn into money pits"   Courier-Mail - "Clem7 operators lose $470 for each vehicle through the tunnel".

    m6toll britain" RHA backs tolls
  • RHA - "RHA welcomes re-opening of road toll debate".
    If hauliers are so keen to pay tolls, it isn't clear why almost all of them are boycotting the M6 Toll.

    britain" Green fuels are grey
  • BBC - "UK biofuels 'falling short' on environmental standards".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - California - "Tolls for Driving into and Out of San Francisco?".
    Pennsylvania - "Rendell Backs Turnpike in Funding Spat With Penndot"   Pennsylvania - "Funding issue takes its toll on 422 plan" video   New York - "Parkways Authority: Time to Go Away".
    "Toll Increase For Georgia 400?"   California - "FasTrak Privacy Bill Passes Legislature"   California - "Toll Lane Set To Open In East Bay".
    Texas - "End diversions to fix highway fund"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Enough: Clean house at Delaware River Port Authority".

    germany Some German hauliers complain about dirtier trucks not having to pay more tolls
  • Rail News - "German Government u-turn on HGV tolls dupes forward-looking road hauliers".

    earth More AGW
  • A bit more on the report on the IPCC - Independent - "IPCC feels the heat as it is told to get its facts right about global warming"   Watts Up - "IAC slams IPCC process, suggests removal of top official".

  • Independent - "Leading article: Three degrees is at least one too many".
    The editorial starts "It is fittingly ominous that 2010, year of the next big climate change conference, has been the hottest in recorded history". The big problem for the AGW faith is that many of us don't believe their "records".

    australia Another big toll loss
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "'Situation serious' - Brisbane's Clem7 posts $1.7b loss"   Sydney Morning Herald - "$1.5b written off Brisbane's Clem 7"   Courier-Mail - "Clem7 tunnel owner Rivercity Motorway in financial black hole after $1.67 billion loss".

    australia A small toll loss
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "Bell tolls for 'bad' MIG after weather drives cars away".
    Macquarie Atlas Roads is the vehicle into which all the more toxic assets (including the M6 Toll) were placed when MIG was restructured in February, so the surprise is that the loss is not bigger.

    australia Western Australia Goverment says no to tolls
  • WA Today - "Tolls ruled out as Perth car population booms".

    australia Editor pushing road tolls to pay for rail lines
  • The editor of the Age which is linked to the SMH wants "to start tolling existing roads and directing every cent to new public transport" - Sydney Morning Herald - "Losing our way on roads" lot of comments.
    Adding tolls to all the main roads, if nothing else, will guarantee that the owners of existing tolls will make mountains of money as drivers will have no choice.

    britain" Fund manager predicts more tolls as thy can not "emigrate"
  • FT - "WCAM expects tax rises in gloomy outlook for the UK".

    zimbabwe Letter commenting on the tolls introduced by Zimbabwe a year ago
  • Zimbabwean - "Where is the toll road money really going?".

    europe chimaera A response to the "New alliance" complaint about EU toll pushing
  • Nottingham Evening Post - "Road pricing is already in place".
    From the letter as published, it is not clear what the writer supports. But if he is suggesting that all taxes including fuel duty, are replaced with some form of tolls, then he may have fallen for the recent DfT story that claimed most drivers supported tolls.

    m6toll Unlikely ally for No tolls
  • BBC - "Private toll roads not the answer - M6 motorway report"   Telegraph - "Toll relief road 'has failed' report claims"   Construction Engineer - "Snub for M6 toll leaves private road plans in ruins"   CBT - "The M6 Toll, five years on: Counting the cost of congestion relief" pdf.
    A couple of the later reports - Telegraph - "Can toll roads ever work?"   Local Gov - "M6 Toll ‘failure’ raises doubts over council charging plans".

    The NAAT broadly agrees with what the Campaign for Better Transport says. Not surprising as it is what we have already pointed out!   our M6 Toll page.

    The road opened at the end of 2003 and was intended to take most of the West Midlands through traffic and thus relieve congestion on other roads and in particular on the M6. Traffic peaked in the third quarter of 2006 and then fell. The most recent figures show about 41,000 vehicles use the road each day, some of this will be traffic generated by the new road, so the number of vehicles removed from the congested roads is less. Even so this will have helped a bit, but the road has had nowhere near the effect that a toll free road would have had on reducing congestion.

    David Cameron for some reason says that the road is a success and wants a lot more roads like it, but apart from being a faliure for UK Plc, it is so far also a failure for the operators. The last published accounts (to June 2009) showed that the operators had negative capital of £13 million. It has been suggested that the operators should reduce tolls to attract more traffic, but if they say halved the tolls, they would then have to attract three times as much traffic as now just to reach a position where they were not making further losses.

    britain" More on the high price for going electric
  • BBC - "Electric cars 'may be costlier than petrol vehicles'".
    The Mitsubishi table that the BBC copies estimates that the total cost over three years is £14,427 for the petrol vehicle and £10,572 for the electric, but if the effect of London congestion charge, Government subsidy and Road tax is excluded then the electric vehicle costs nearly £6,300 more than the petrol. If fuel duty (and VAT on fuel duty) is also excluded, then the electric vehicle costs £8,300 more than the petrol over the three years.

    earth AGW
  • The "Inter Academy Council" has issued a report on the IPCC - BBC - "Stricter controls urged for the UN's climate body"   Telegraph - "IPCC 'must avoid playing politcs'"   The report (see links on right). As the Council is just another establishment body (Britain's rep is the President of the Royal Society) they were not likely to make any significant criticism of their peers.

  • Vote - WSJ - "Should the government assign letter grades to each car based on fuel efficiency and emissions?".

    Friday 27 August 2010

    earth AGW
  • Independent - "How much proof do the global warming deniers need?". The short answer is more, starting with some independently verifiable temperature data. When we know if the Earth is really warming, we can decide what, if anything, should be done about it. Meanwhile there are many other real problems to be addressed.

  • There are fresh reports about the strange goings on in the top level of the atmosphere. There is some comment on Watts Up - "Solar UV linkage to earth’s atmosphere confirmed" inc link to NSF press release.

    Thursday 26 August 2010

    britain" Drivers clamour for more tolls
  • LGC - "Majority would back road pricing"   DfT - "Public attitudes towards road congestion" published today, inc links to report & to questionnaire.
    The questionnaire is dishonest. It does not tell people that most of the existing roads taxes is not spent on the roads, and it asks questions such as would people "be prepared to accept road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount of taxation paid by motorists as a group", when the DfT knows that the cost of installing and running a road pricing system is tens of billions of pounds and that if there was no increase in taxation then the net amount available for spending would be a lot less.
    PS The story has appeared on the BBC, who ignore the opposition, and instead have a quote from the AA (who don't represent a sinfgle motorist) which implies that the AA is continuing their support for road pricing - BBC - "Drivers want road use charges changed, survey suggests".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Praise for LaHood and Obama - Journal of Commerce - "DOT’s Transport Policy Trail".
    As usual, it is not clear why any rational person would think that if one of the President's aims is to "cut fuel use", the DOT Secretary is pushing tolls and privatization rather than a higher Federal gas tax.

  • Sundry stories - Colorado - "E-470 waives penalties, fees in hopes of collecting tolls owed"   "Toll violations in Central Florida: Expect to pay up sooner"   West Virginia - "Parkways Authority: Time to Go Away".
    Indiana / Kentucky - "The unelected Mr. Dalby’s bridge politicking"   Indiana / Kentucky - "New details on proposed bridge tolls"   Indiana / Kentucky - "Governor: new Ohio River bridges must have tolls" video.
    Pennsylvania - "PennDOT, Turnpike Commission fight over $472 million for road and bridge projects"   New Hampshire - "Council rep tries again to lose tollbooths".

  • Bit more on DRPA - Fox - "DRPA Board Discussing More Changes" video   Courier-Post - "DRPA slashes two jobs"   Philly - "DRPA: Some reform, a break for drivers".

    britain" 200,000 more bodies to feed the demand for cheap labour and expensive housing
  • BBC - "Net migration to UK rose in 2009, statistics show"   ONS - "Migration Statistics - Quarterly Report No 6: 26 August 2010" pdf.

    ireland Empty toll road
  • Irish Central - "Highway through Tara was a waste".

    nigeria Peripatetic toll collectors flee
  • Vanguard - "Checkpoint tragedies: Between police and eyewitnesses accounts".

    earth More from the gullible greens
  • Greenpeace - "How Green Tech Can Help the World Go Oil-Free".
    As usual we have support for tolls (in the form of "congestion pricing"), but the prize for gullibility must go to the suggestion that to reassure drivers that their nice new green electric vehicles are not using any electricity from dirty coal or oil there will be - "An IT-enabled smart grid (to) ensure that electric transportation is powered by renewable sources of energy".

    canada More charitable work
  • The "Educational charity" that we mentioned on the 12th has been getting more coverage for tolls pushing. This time it is comparing roads with planes - Times-Colonist (B.C.) - "A simple solution to traffic congestion - Applying market pricing to Canada's roads a rational response to problem".
    Travellers by plane may have some choice on when they make their journey, but those on the roads at times when they are most congested have little choice - why else would the be there? The argument also assumes that drivers (that is "the other drivers") will modify their behaviour and travel off peak thus resulting in less congestion in the peak. If this did happen then drivers who had been deterred by the congestion would start travelling in the peak and you are back to virtually square one. But perhaps the biggest reason that the anaology is false is that with air travel, increased demand tends to lead to increased supply, but with roads users, though through fuel and other taxes they pay a price to the authorities which should mean that there is a far bigger supply of roads, the authorities don't increase the supply, they just threaten drivers with more taxes.

    canada Another update on Port Mann bridge
  • The Province (B.C.) - "Campbell doing his best to polish up Port Mann Bridge".

    gibraltar spain More on possible border toll
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "Unions Set For Cross-Border Pact Against Toll".

    mexico usa Mexican trolls accepting Gringo currency again
  • Monitor - "Mexico allows payment of bridge tolls with U.S. currency again".

    phillipines Government asks Court to lift VAT on tolls ban
  • Phillipine Star - "Supreme Court asked to lift TRO on toll VAT".

    britain" Decluttering
  • BBC - "Councils urged to remove unnecessary street signs".
    Perhaps they could make a start by removing tolls and all the extra signs that are associated with them!

    earth AGW
  • Update on the American CO2 court case against energy companies - Investors - "Climate Change Lawsuits Heat Up, Led By An End Run In Connecticut".
    A taste of what BP can expect?

  • Arguments from GRIST (a green "news" site that is funded by various wealthy foundations) that counter all sceptical doubts about AGW - "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming".

    Wednesday 25 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Bit more on DRPA - Philadelphia Inquirer - "Rules on conflicts of interest, political dealing top DRPA board meeting agenda"   Land Line Mag - "Reform in store for Delaware River Port Authority?".

  • Bit more on Illinois going after Indiana drivers - Chicago Tribune - "Tollway to go after Hoosiers for unpaid tolls, fines"   Chicago Sun-Times - "Sorry Indiana: 116,000 old tollway bills on the way - Agency missed out on $7 million in missed tolls, fines"   NBC - "Give us Our Money, Indiana".

  • Sundry stories - North Carolina - "Toll roads have many shortcomings"   North Carolina- "Toll road has few fans"   Indiana / Kentucky - "Bridges authority may listen to alternatives for Ohio River Bridges Project".
    West California - "Simitian 'FasTrak' privacy bill nears approval"   Indiana / Kentucky - "New Albany says "no" to tolls" video   Texas - "Discounted tolls for veterans on 183A?".

    canada Pay as you drive insurance
  • Crosscut - "Car insurance changes would drive fairness, clean air".
    In principle, insurance based on miles driven would be fairer, but it is not practical and would be wide open to cheating.
    The suggestion that pay as you drive could be combined with "a vehicle levy based on fuel efficiency" - so that more fuel efficient cars would pay a higher levy - is another example of the way that greens seem to stand their principles upside down .

    gibraltar spain Bit more on possible border toll
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "Sanchez Plan Hits Madrid Red Tape".

    earth AGW
  • More sand thrown in the eyes - BBC - "Geoengineering 'not a solution' to sea-level rise".
    We are told that due to AGW there is a predicted rise of ocean levels of between one and two feet by 2100 and that "as many as 150 million people could be affected". Stories like this raise the question of whether we are all mad. The world's population is currently growing by over 75 million a year. At that rate by 2100 the population will have doubled - there will be another 7 billion people. Will they really be worrying whether the sea level is two feet higher or not?

  • Sceptical view of AGW from a eurosceptic - Washington Times - "Global warmists abandoned fact for fancy".

  • Bit more on Australia's independents and "climate change" - Sydney Morning Herald - "Independents wobble before winds of climate change"

    Tuesday 24 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Upsetting the neighbours - WBEZ - "Illinois Pursuing Indiana Drivers Who Skipped Tolls" audio   Daily Herald - "Tollway glitch results in thousands of late violation notices".

  • "Congestion pricing" on the Bay bridges was supposed to shift traffic off peak. It didn't work, but overall the traffic is down following the toll increase and the extension of tolls to car pool drivers. The idea is now to repeat this "success" by tolling roads "citywide" - SFBG - "Bay Bridge tolls a boost for congestion pricing?".

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA to meet Wednesday in special session"   Colorado - "E-470 officials say solution is near for billing troubles"   New Hampshire - "Some caution toll elimination could cause more issues"   Texas - "RTC, NTTA disagree over managed-lane primacy".
    West Virginia - "Efforts To Make Route 35 Toll Road Hits Bump"   Indiana - "New Albany City Council opposes Ohio River bridge tolls"   Indiana - "Harsher on Hoosiers: New Albany council encourages a no toll philosophy due to commuter costs"   Pennsylvania - "Turnpike E-ZPass gets cheaper (kind of)".

    canada Update on Port Mann bridge
  • News1130 (B.C.) - "Port Mann Bridge to be tolled before completion".

    britain" York denies it plans a parking tax
  • The Press - "‘Parking-at-work’ charges claim rubbished by York politicians".

    britain" Pushing foreign vehicle tolls
  • "Taxing foreign hauliers using the UK's roads is fast becoming one of the most popular suggestions on the Treasury's Spending Challenge website" - Road Transport - "Public favours foreign lorry tax".
    The Treasury website has about 80 suggestions for some form of toll on foreign vehicles. The most popular ones currently have - 319 votes, 58 votes, 57 votes and 31 votes. The other 70 odd suggestions only have about 100 votes between them. All of the more popular suggestions propose a vignette style charge that would be collected at ports of entry or exit.
    Like the new Government, those who make these suggestions seem to have no idea that the EU would stop any system that only affected non UK vehicles.

    europe chimaera New alliance again on the EU consultation
  • Halifax Evening Courier - "Will there be a price on roads?".
    The consultation form (Word doc) which has to be returned to DfT by 10 September is gobbledegook. An email message written in plain English and referring to item 16 of the form "additional comments" might be the simplest way to register an objection to EU policy.

    earth AGW
  • Green action - Daily Record - "Climate change protesters slammed for pouring oil onto busy roads".

  • Australia has not finished counting the votes (perhaps they should not force people to vote!) but it is predicted that neither of the two main parties will have an overall majority. The two parties are led by people who are not 100% believers in "climate change", but they will have to bow to the handful of independent MPs who will hold the balance of power, and who are reported to be AGW disciples.
    The elections were run on the Single Transferrable Vote system (that may be coming to Britain), and one of the independents who won was the first choice of only 21.7% of those who voted!

  • Over the last two weeks there have been reports hyping up a burst of solar activity and predicting major disruption when the Sun reaches its maximum in 2012 - Thaindian - "Solar Storm In 2012 : Reports NASA".
    The motive for these stories is not clear, as the Sun is only slowly moving away from the deepest minimum for a century, and for the last few days we have been back to no sunspots.

  • George blames the right - Guardian - "For deniers, politics beats the science. Handouts beat both". George seems to be blissfully ignorant of facts such as that it was Margaret Thatcher who jump started the AGW religion, or that the rich puppeteers who pull the Green's strings will get even richer through the many scams associated with the Crusade against Carbon.

  • Looking forward to the day after tomorrow - "We’ll almost certainly need some kind of devastating climate shock to get effective climate policy" - NY Times - "Disaster at the Top of the World".

    Monday 23 August 2010

    china The long crawl
  • All Headline - "Chinese Traffic Jam Hits Ninth Day".
    As drivers are not using other roads because they would have to pay more tolls, you might think that the Government would do something about it. But the government has no control over what are in effect private roads that have ignored the last two official abolitions of tolls.

    nigeria Bit more on Nigerian protest
  • PM News - "Toll Gate Of Controversy".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Bit more on DRPA's troubles - Courier-Post - "State subpoenas DRPA records". There is also a suggestion that the area's other tolls money machine should be investigated - Express-Times - "OPINION: Shine the reform light on local bridge commission, too".

  • Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Fee hike ordered for all E-ZPass motorists"   Colorado - "E-470 toll billing hits bump" lot of comments   "Eastern North Carolina should say no to toll roads" letter   DC / Virginia - "Federal planning official newest defendant in Arlington's HOT lanes lawsuit"   California - "New bridge tolls create new carpool driver liability".

    phillipines Provincial Board wants no tolls
  • Manilla Bulletin - "Benguet wants toll on roads abolished".

    canada Possible toll hike
  • Chronicle Herald (Nova Scotia) - "Bridge toll hearing set for November".

    britain" Parking Tax threat
  • Independent - "Workplace parking levies may be imposed by councils"   Telegraph - "Motorists face £250-a-year tax to park at work".
    This levy is another one of Britain's bad taxes. Its only merit is that it could be cheap to collect. But it is most unfair, as all businesses pay rates, and rateable values already take into account the number of parking places. A parking levy might also mean that businesses cease to provide parking places and that people then park their vehicles on the road - causing more congestion - and an excuse for more bad taxes.

    europe chimaera Euro tolls?
  • Sunday Express - "Now EU Plans To Make Our Roads Pay As You Go".
    Though many things are now forced on us by Europe, on the issue of tolls, Britain's politicians would be willing collaborators.

    britain" High price for going electric
  • Sunday Mail - "Has the spark gone out of electric cars?".

    britain" Selling the selling of Britain's roads
  • National (Abu Dhabi) - "UK cannot afford to ask for whom the road tolls".
    This is article is the usual nonsense, such as saying that the toll pushing RAC Foundation "represents drivers".

    Friday 20 August 2010

    nigeria More on Nigerian protest
  • Next - "Lekki residents protest planned road toll" lot of comments.

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on DRPA including possible involvement of FBI - Philly - "Editorial: DRPA brass can take a hike" video.

  • Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Parkways Authority approves resolution"   West Virginia - "Highway Officials Near Decisions on Toll Roads"   New Hampshire - "Plan for toll removal returns"   North Carolina - "I-95 becoming a toll road becomes a closer reality"   Land Line Mag - "North Carolina I-95 proposal includes tolling"   Florida - "Driver Learns Toll-Runner Has Same Tag" video.
    Kentucky - "Tolls to drive through Spaghetti Junction? A possibility..." video   Indiana / Kentucky - "Bridge Authority closer to finance plan" video   Indiana / Kentucky - "Spaghetti Junction tolls considered to pay for bridges project".

    hongkong Toll company passes on Hong Kong driver's details
  • Standard - "Bank on privacy updates, finance chiefs urged".

    britain" More toll pushing
  • BBC - "Transport group opposes construction of new roads"   CILT - "Survey 2010" (we suggest that you chose to "save" the file, rather than "open with")).
    As well as not wanting any new roads built, 70 per cent of the members wanted some form of road charging, so as you might guess this means that the CILT, as with other toll pushers, is registered as a charity. Though the CILT has the additional recognition of a Royal Charter and Princess Anne as its patron.

    britain" We have ways of making you move
  • FT - "Transport: Signal manoeuvre".

    canada Auditor queries off balance sheet financing
  • Vancouver Sun- "Too soon to be counting profits on Port Mann Bridge project".

    Thursday 19 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on lifting a bit of the veil that hides what one troll does - Philly - "DRPA board gathers to address agency's problems" comments   Fox - "It's Your Dime: $3,400 DRPA Hotel Bill" video   Courier-Post - "After 'firestorm of controversy,' DRPA promises reforms" comments.
    Philadelphia Inquirer - "Delaware River Port Authority is suddenly pro-reform"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Beleaguered DRPA board votes several reform measures"   Bloomberg - "Under pressure, Del. port authority enacts reforms"   Fox - "DRPA Board Gets Earful At Meeting" video.
    Philadelphia Inquirer - "There's no quick fix for the DRPA disaster" video   Courier-Post - "DRPA urged to skip $1 toll increase"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Amid turmoil, DRPA officials say keep toll discounts" video.

  • On the Brave New World that will replace toll free Interstates - OpEd News - "Scudder Falls Bridge and The Surveillance State....".

  • Wrong pimps - Oakland Tribune - "Fastrak to phone sex?".

  • Sundry stories - Oregon - "Tolls Still A Hot Issue Six Months After Vancouver Election" audio   Oklahoma - "OTA approves studies on adding lanes to Creek, Kilpatrick turnpikes"   Texas - "Tollway agency OKs road from Fort Worth to Cleburne".
    "Time to tax walkers and riders: California liberals want tolls on sidewalks"   Georgia - "I-85 HOV lane work to start in Gwinnett"   North Carolina - "State wants input on I-95: To pay for improvements, highway could become toll road".

    britain" Nation of spenders
  • Retail sales are up again - BBC - "Retail sales rise beats forecasts"   ONS - "Retail Sales: July 2010".
    Also out today is the latest inflation fuel monitor - BofE - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending): July 2010" pdf. The July figures continue to show only a relatively small growth (2.3 percent annual for M4). This is well below the 16 per cent bonanza that the bank achieved in early 2009 when it started the printing of 200 billion extra pounds.

    nigeria Protest
  • Next - "Protesters block Lekki Expressway" lot of comments.

    nigeria More on Tolls moonlighting
  • Next - "Police extort N20 billion from motorists" lot of comments.

    europe chimaera New alliance?
  • Belfast Telegraph - "Make your voice heard on road pricing".
    This letter has appeared in various papers and refers to - this DfT consultation. The "New Alliance" seem to be an anti EU organisation.

    australia Small comfort
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "No HOT lanes for Sydney: Keneally"   Herald Sun - "Drivers will have to pay to get anywhere fast in Sydney".

    australia Back to square one
  • Herald Sun - "Springvale Rd traffic jams as bad as ever".

    ireland Lorries may be forced to use tolled roads
  • Kilkenny People - "Dangers exposed in traffic survey".

    slovakia 98 per cent not good enough
  • Slovak Spectator - "Effectiveness of highway toll collection questioned".

    czech Toll income not big enough
  • Prague Monitor - "MfD: Bárta considering raising tolls, motorway stickers' price".

    gibraltar spain Bit more on possible border toll at Gibraltar
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "La Linea PSOE Say Sanchez Has ‘lost Control’"   Panorama - "Gibraltar Government 'should protest in strongest terms' to Spanish Government".

    britain" Car production down a bit
  • Drop in production, which is mainly due to reduced exports - BBC - "UK car production falls in July"   SMMT - "UK automotive production figures July 2010".
    Combining the UK sales and production figures for cars gives these totals for the year to end of July:
    Produced for export - 528,000, produced for sale at home - 207,000, imported - 1,038,000.

    britain" Minutes of the Inflation gang
  • BofE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting: 4 And 5 August 2010" pdf.

    earth AGW
  • Guardian - "Why has extreme weather failed to heat up climate debate?". The short answer is that people do not believe what the scientists, politicians and news media are telling them.

  • Another example of blaming warming for everything under the sun - Daily Mail - "Did global warming kill off the woolly mammoth? Scientists say it may have been climate change that wiped out the beasts"   BBC - "Woolly mammoth extinction 'not linked to humans'".
    The wooly mammoth is believed to have become extinct ten thousand years ago, i.e. when the current Interglacial had reached its optimum. As animals can migrate, it is not plausible that an increase in temperature could have directly or indirectly wiped mammoths out, while other species, including reindeer, survived.

    Tuesday 17 August 2010

    nigeria Tolls moonlighting
  • Reuters - "Nigerian police corruption fuels abuses: rights group".

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on the DRPA - Courier-Post - "DRPA meeting to focus on perks"   Philly - "Who can actually fix the DRPA mess?"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "DRPA spending spree before Christie took office"   Bloomberg - "Delaware River Port Authority Weighs Curbs on Nepotism, Interest Conflicts".

  • Some concern about New York's cycling Mafia - Gothamist - "Cops Cracking Down on Cyclist Scofflaws on Upper East Side".

  • Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Parkways to consider tolls on two roads"   Texas - "County commissioners likely to decide tollway's fate".

    india More myths on effect of congestion pricing
  • Down to Earth - "Unlock the grid".
    If India is worried about congestion, then perhaps it should try and stop the increase in population, which is currently growing by 17 million a year.

    ulster NI Tory proposes going down Irish toll road
  • Belfast Telegraph - "Introduce road tolls, MLAs urged".

    serbia Serb Government stops company from increasing tolls
  • B92 - "No increase in highway tolls". to what people might believe, the Government wants high inflation, as it means that wages, interest payments and Government spending will fall in real terms without the Government taking any other action, providing that workforces can be duped into accepting pay rises which are below the inflation rate and savers have no choice other than to see their savings fall in real terms. This is partly the reason that 2% CPI is a "target" to be hit, rather than a ceiling.
    PS Latest George & Melvyn files - BofE - from Mervyn (pdf)   BofE - reply from George (pdf).

    britain" usa Public Enemy Number One
  • Barclays is fined 300 million dollars for breaking two of America's criminal laws - International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act. The enemies included Cuba - BBC - "Barclays Bank pays $298m to settle criminal charges".
    Rumour has it that the Coalition Government is arranging the "transfer" to the American camp at Guantanamo Bay of any Britons who have holidayed in Cuba.

  • At the weekend the President was in Florida urging tourists to come back as the beaches are clean - BBC - "Obama urges tourism to aid Gulf economy post-spill".
    It was, of course, the President who more than anyone gave out the perception that the beaches were "coated in oil", otherwise he would have himself been attacked by both the left (who are green and anti British) and the right who seem to think that he is Satan.

    earth AGW
  • Sceptics are not happy with the way that temperatures are adjusted upwards by New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and are going to court - NZ Herald - "Niwa challenged over accuracy of data".

    Monday 16 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on the DRPA - Fox - "DRPA CEO Stands By Plan to Raise Tolls" video   Courier-Post - "DRPA pays for Pennsauken football field"   Express-Times - "Bridge commission, not tollpayers, should be responsible for correcting toll errors".

  • Sundry stories - Florida - "Crosstown toll booths, takers disappear Sept. 17"   California - "New bridge tolls shake up casual carpool market"   Illinois - "Morris says cutting perks part of tollway reforms"   Illinois - "Tollway chief gives new team an incomplete, as hardest job still ahead".
    Wisconsin - "No to tolls on our roads"   Louisiana - "Toll exemptions begin today on Leeville bridge"   Pennsylvania - "Transportation VIPs eye tolls" video   "Wyoming House District 53 incumbent, challenger differ on highway tolls".

    phillipines Possible headache for troll
  • Business Mirror - "Double jeopardy for PNCC stockholders".

    phillipines Bit more on Phillipines Toll increase delay
  • Malaya - "Aquino suspends VAT on expressways tolls".

    canada More from Canadian trolls
  • Calgary Herald (BC) - "Look what's coming down the road"   Times & Transcript (NB) - "Apply market pricing to roads to ease congestion".

    britain" Tax that will cost the Government
  • News of the World - "Tax on foreign trucks". We don't know why this old story is "news", but the claim that this "could raise £20BILLION in ten years" is nonsense.

    There are about 1.5 million powered goods vehicles which come to Britain each year and are foreign registered. You would have to charge the equivalent of just over 1,300 pounds a trip to gross £20 billion over ten years. To net that amount, the charges would have to be even higher, and if the system was a full blown one, such as Germany's Toll Collect, then the charge would have to be very considerably higher.
    But we then enter cloud cuckoo land if UK registered vehicles are somehow refunded the tolls, because there would then be no level of tolls at which there would be a net income (law of dimishing returns).
    One system which would be cheaper to administer would be if vehicles were subject to a tax at entry / exit ports based on either time in this country or mileage. This still leaves a major stumbling block of whether the EU would allow any system which was seen to discriminate against foreign vehicles. One way round that would be that UK registered vehicles were not exempt from the toll, but had some other tax reduced, which would probably have to be VED. Though with such a system, the toll would probably have to apply to all goods vehicles, not just those (foreign and UK) that are entering Britain. This would mean a very big and expensive system, and you are back to square one - the net yield would be next to nothing and probably a loss.

    This raises the question of how other countries manage. The answer is that they are either like Switzerland, outside the EU, and can do what they like. Or they are more central to Europe, and there is a far higher proportion of foreign vehicle using the main roads. This increases the incentive to charge and also increases the net yield from the tolls even if it is run in such a way that it is tax neutral for non-foreign vehicles.

    wales FSB want more mone spent on Welsh roads -
  • Western Mail - "Small businesses blast WAG over roads-upgrade funding".

    britain" Nearly free ride
  • The Humber Bridge board want to increase tolls for drivers and abolish them for bikers. As a taster for this they have donated some tolls from bikers to a charity - Hull Daily Mail - "World record scooter ride as more than 800 cross Humber Bridge in formation".

    earth AGW
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "Thousands protest on climate change". The "Walk Against Warming" was organised by an alliance of Quangos and "charities".

  • The next head of state's efforts to save the world from "Climate Change" include "a Garden Party to Make a Difference, where pop stars, celebrity chefs and comedians will give their advice on how to do your bit for the environment" - Telegraph - "Prince of Wales to tour the country to promote 'sustainable living'".

    Sunday 15 August 2010

    earth AGW
  • Piers Corbyn has made some comments - Climate Realists - "Comments from Piers Corbyn to Erich Pica", on one of the AGW claims that the hot weather in Russia is due to "climate change" - Huffington Post - "Climate Ostriches: Why Russia's and Pakistan's Extreme Weather Is About to Become the Norm".
    The direct cause of hot weather in Russia is not disputed - a northerly kink in the "jet stream". The jet stream is the current of air that flows at a height of between four and ten miles and goes from west to east due to the spin of the Earth.
    Like the rest of the climate system the jet stream is very complex and is in fact at least four major streams, the hot weather in Russia has been caused by a northward kink in the northern hemisphere's "subtropical jet" which is usually at about 30 degrees north.
    The northern hemisphere's "polar" jet is up to about 60 degrees north but can be a lot further south. In the late 1900s this jet stream was north of Britain (whicn lies between 50 and 58 degrees latitude), but in the last few years the polar stream has been at the southern edge of the country. Piers Corbyn believes that the worlds' extreme weather events are largely due to changes in the jet streams which are linked to solar and lunar events.

    Saturday 14 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • A member of the Golden Gate Bridge board suggests that pedestrians and cyclists should not get a free ride - Contra Costa Times - "Golden Gate Bridge board member says pedestrian tolls should fund suicide barrier".
    Will there soon be a lynching by cyclists (using a rope made fropm "organic" fibres)?

    earth AGW
  • Yesterday we had a link to the GISS global temperatures for July - "GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index" (near bottom of page). According to GISS figures it was the 5th warmest July (since 1880). We mentioned that the NOAA usually somehow manage to tweak the figures a bit more to get a record. This time they have not quite managed it, and are only saying that July was the was the "second warmest on record" (though they also claim it was the warmest ever July, if Ocean temperatures are excluded) - ABC - "Trend Continues With Second Hottest July on Record"   NCDC - "State of the Climate: Global Analysis: July 2010".

  • We had a story yesterday about sceptics getting the blame if the next warming Jamboree (Cancun, Mexico between 29th November and 10th December) is a failure, according to the Guardian it won't be - "A changed climate on climate change: Progress in climate change talks remained stalled in Bonn, but there is hope for the upcoming Cancun round".

  • Two stories from the Express -
    Tim Yeo, the MP's Climate boss and fan of road tolls, with another "bright" idea - forcing us all on to Central European time - "A Bright Idea? Yes, Everyone’s A Winner".

    According to the paper we have had "a sizzling June and July" and "Much of Britain baked in scorching weather throughout June and July" - "End Of Summer As Rainy Weather Hits The Uk". We assume that either the Editor has been in Russia for the last few months or assumes that the paper's readers will believe anything.

    Friday 13 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Another crazy idea - Greater Greater Washington - "Can a toll serve as an effective growth boundary in Virginia?".

  • Claim that peak period congestion pricing has reduced congestion on Bay bridge - SF Chronicle - "Higher peak-time tolls mean fewer delays".
    As the peak period starts at 5 AM, it seems that the main effect of the new tolls regime has not been to shift the driving time but to stop some drivers (including some car poolers) from using their car at all.

  • Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Federal funding for regional road projects drying up"   Wyoming - "Polls aren't solution for I-80" letter   NY - "New Deputy Mayor Likes Congestion Pricing—And Not Just for Bridges and Streets".

    canada More on the latest Canadian trolling
  • Vancouver Sun - "As traffic congestion grows, are peak-hour fees the only answer?".

    earth More AGW
  • The BBC has an unusual story - "Sun's 'quiet period' explained".
    In fact the Sun has been behaving oddly in ways that are not explained, and which may have been having an effect on the climate. Here is a posting from yesterday on "What's up with that" - "When the sun goes TILT". Over the last year or two there have been suggestions that the official Sunspot count figures were being boosted upwards, but from this latest piece there seems to be differences on how long the last Solar period was, the BBC story has it as 23 months longer than the norm, Anthony Watts has it as 3 years longer.

  • British scientists proving that the Climate deniers are wrong - Telegraph - "Ice sheet melt in Greenland melting at record rate".
    The story says that "The Petermann glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the northern hemisphere, has now retreated to a level not seen since 1962." Does this mean that the glacier was growing between 1962 and now?

  • BBC - "Autumn delayed by cold winter, Woodland Trust predicts".
    The people who generate these stories seem to be living in a different Britain to the rest of us. There are signs that Autumn in Britain will be early rather than late. The only question is not having had a real summer, will we get a couple of weeks of Indian summer?

  • Christopher Monckton in defending himself from attacks by the AGW church has made these videos - YouTube - "Monckton Refutes Abraham".

    phillipines Phillipines Supreme Court delays Toll increase
  • Inquirer - "SC stops toll tax, hike"   Manila Times - "High Court halts toll VAT"   PhilStar - "Supreme Court issues TROs vs toll VAT, rate increase"   GMA News - "Supreme Court issues 2 TROs on toll VAT, rate increase".
    A few of the later stories before the decision was known - Manila Standard - "Taxing a tax"   ABS-CBN - "SC may decide on TRO vs VAT on toll fees"   Business World - "Toll hike rulings awaited".

    gibraltar spain More on possible border toll at Gibraltar
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "Sanchez Plays New Card Reigniting Toll Tension"   Merco Press - "Possible way out to Gibraltar/La Linea ‘car congestion tax’ controversy".

    australia Trolls give some tolls back
  • Brisbane Times - "Tolls to be refunded for gridlocked Gateway motorists".

    earth AGW
  • GISS have just published the global temperatures for July - "GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index" (near bottom of page).
    As usual it needs to be borne in mind that the GISS is controlled by believers and they select which measurements to use and which to ignore, and they then adjust the temperatures. Having said that, according to GISS the anomaly for July 2010 is plus 0.55 degrees from the average for 1951 to 1980. This is below the July peak of 0.68 in 1998 and below the figures for 2002, 2005 and 2009. It should be noted that even the GISS manipulations do not go far enough for the NOAA who have been reporting temperature anomalies which are only a very small amount higher than GISS, but just enough to claim new heat records almost every month.
    PS The GISS site has this "July 2010 — What Global Warming Looks Like", which includes near the top an illustration of world temperatures. The southern half of Britain is in the red hot zone, this gives some idea of how GISS figures relate to reality.

  • More firms are to be forced into carbon scams and games - Telegraph - "This carbon scheme is a fiasco in the making".

  • Sceptics may be the excuse if the AGW lobby and the less developed countries don't get what they want from the next warming Jamboree - Jakarta Post - "Climate skeptics stall negotiations".
    This time the beanfest will be in Cancun, Mexico between 29th November and 10th December. The area has a tropical climate, so they should be spared any embarrassing snow, but may get a bit wet from storms.

    Thursday 12 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Don't laugh, but they claim that they are developing a toll tag that will keep your identity secret - Network World - "Group wants to protect privacy as electronic toll systems grow - Cryptographic system would protect privacy on the road".
    Are they also developing a camera, that takes blank pictures?

  • Paul Mulshine on tolls and our old friends the "Reason" Foundation - Star-Ledger (NJ) - "Tolls vs. freeways: Driving theory off the cliff".

  • More dirt & discussion on DRPA - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA Worker Borrowed Toll Cash" video   Courier-Post - "DRPA reforms provoke debate"   Philly - "Criticism of DRPA management decisions continues".

  • Sundry stories - New York - "New Deputy Mayor Loves Congestion Pricing, But as for Bike Lanes..." audio   New York - "City residents from outer boroughs will be hit hard by MTA's toll hike"   Florida - "Local transit groups to study toll lanes"   Texas - "New TV ad criticizes Perry's Trans Texas Corridor project".

    australia More Con?
  • The congestion pricing introduced on the Sydney Harbour bridge at the end of January, has had almost no effect on peak period traffic, so tolling over a wider area is being suggested - Sydney Morning Herald - "Can Sydney Harbour Bridge cope for much longer?".

    india Cameras to catch out toll takers
  • Government Video - "Infinova Cams Catch Every Car on Bangalore Toll Roads".

    canada More Canadian trolling
  • Telegraph-Journal (N.B.) - "How to kill traffic congestion"   Frontier Centre for Public Policy - "Winning the Battle with Traffic Congestion" inc link to pdf.
    Not suprisingly the group pushing tolls describe themselves as an "educational charity".

    japan More on No tolls trial
  • Mainichi Daily News - "Limited express train ridership on lines parallel to free expressways drops sharply"   Japan Today - "Traffic up 87% in 1st month of toll-free highway test".

    phillipines Bit more on attempt in Phillipines Supreme Court to stop Toll increase
  • GMA News - "Fate of toll hike may be known Friday — SC"   Malaya - "SC action on toll VAT seen today"   Inquirer - "VAT on toll fees still a go Monday, BIR chief tells Senate"   Manila Standard - "Recto joins opposition to 12% VAT on tollway fees"   Manila Times - "BIR defies govt on toll tax".

    gibraltar spain Spanish Mayor may be stopped by Government from implementing a border toll at Gibraltar
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "Fomento Vetoes La Linea Toll Plan - Unite promises demo unless ‘mad’ toll dropped".

    australia Good news for trolls
  • Australian - "Tunnel's fortunes get turned around"   Herald Sun - "Transurban toll profit up".

    newzealand sweden Kiwis may fall for Con from Swedish blonde
  • NZ Herald - "Swedish experience shows sense in road fees".
    The people of New Zealand are green enough to go for this nonsense, unlike the majority of people in metropolitan Stockholm who (despite what is usually claimed) voted against a Con charge. They may also fall for the suggestion that the daily toll will only be one dollar and that it will only cost 20 cents to collect it. Converted to NZ dollars the London daily charge is over 17 dollars and the cost of collecting it is over 8 dollars.

    earth AGW
  • As there is increasing disbelief in AGW, an old bogeyman may be brought out of the cupboard - Guardian - "Peak oil is the villain governments need: Using the threat of a high oil prices is a sell the public will buy into – unlike intangible arguments over climate change".
    The real horror that will never be brought out of the cupboard is of course that there are too many people. This is an extract of a UN document drafted in 2003 and not formally published - ("World Population In 2300 Highlights") -
    "If, for the sake of illustration, the fertility of countries is kept constant at 1995-2000 levels, the world population soars to 244 billion by 2150 and 134 trillion in 2300, a definitely impossible outcome. All of this increase occurs in the less developed regions, whose population rises from 4.9 billion today to 134 trillion in 2300."
    As the UN says this population level is physically "impossible", though the UN then makes implausible assumptions e.g. it's "medium scenario assumes that the total fertility of each country will reach below replacement levels and remain at those levels for about 100 years". What seems to be certain is that this century we will reach the point where the burning of any remaining fossil fuel is the least worry.

    Wednesday 11 August 2010

    phillipines Attempt in Supreme Court to stop Toll increase
  • GMA News - "SC asked to stop Aug. 16 toll hikes" video   Business Insight - "Toll fees dispute reaches SC".

    usa USA Roundup
  • LaHood gives more backing for more tolls - Patriot News (Penn.) - "U.S. official favors tolling to fund transportation projects".

  • Another SF fantasy about how "most of the population opts for an electric vehicle in five years (and) Gas tax revenue will tank." - Smart Planet - "How electric cars could pull the plug on U.S. highway funding".
    The proposed solution to this problem is, of course, mileage taxes and road pricing - "a GPS device in your car would track your mileage and tax you accordingly. It’s likely that the government will tax less for low-emission vehicles and more for gas guzzlers." It is strange how many of the people pushing ideas that imply that you need to replace the gas tax with tolls, then want to vary the toll according to how much gas is used!

  • Rip-off - Express-Times - "Bogus toll fine claims are, in fact, errors, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission admits".

  • More toll pushing in the desert state - Reno Gazette-Journal - "Creativity and road building".

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Officials against privatization plan for Scudder Falls bridge"   Pennsylvania - "Pottstown council rejects Route 422 plan"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Finally, DRPA reform might take its toll"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Despite its largesse, DRPA should stop backing non-transportation projects, Pennsauken board member says"   Indiana / Kentucky - "Critics rip aspects of Ohio River Bridges Project plan"   Oregon / Washington State - "Panel recommends 10 lanes for I-5 bridge".

    britain" Quo vadis?
  • BBC - "Bank of England forecasts 'choppy' economic recovery"   BofE - "Inflation Report, August 2010".
    Economic indicators are pointing in inconsistent directions, and the poor old lady of Threadneedle Street is not sure what is going to happen. The only thing that is certain is that inflation will be high and that the bank will do nothing about it.

    gibraltar spain Bit more on Spanish Mayor wanting a border toll at Gibraltar
  • Panorama - "What has changed?"   Gibraltar Chronicle - "Gib Govt Poised To Respond To La Linea Toll Threat".

    britain" Universities fall for car trick
  • Public Sector Travel - "Car clubs: the answer to cost-cutting?".
    If academics believe that car clubs will "save the planet" they are as naive as greens.

    canada More from Toronto tolls touts
  • National Post- "Our traffic problems solved --simply".
    The people who push these ideas and make statements such as the London Congestion Charge "reduced gridlock by 30-50%" seem to live in a dream world, with the Matrix run by TfL.

    singapore Amateur gumshoe identified and caught by toll tag
  • Straits Times - "Jailed for false car plates".

    newzealand china China may take over Kiwi roads
  • NZ Herald - "Chinese look to make inroads into motorway projects".

    ireland Toll of tolls
  • Irish Times - "Tolls raise risks on rural roads".

    earth AGW
  • Forget obesity, AGW is the real culprit - BBC - "Climate change 'will increase heart deaths'".

  • More on flood and fire - BBC - "Climate change 'partly to blame' for sweltering Moscow". On the other hand - C3 - "Global Cooling Is Here, Pt. VIII: From San Diego to Santiago, It's Cold Out There, Baby!".
    The AGW establishemnt about ten years ago came up with the clever idea of blaming all extreme weather events on AGW. To the extent that there is any science behind this, it seems to be that more heat = more vapour in the air = more of whatever you like. One problem with this theory is that though the scientists say that water vapour is the main "greenhouse gas" and that it should therefore get even warmer, they are not really sure whether the overall effect is to warm the Earth or cool it (the conclusions from NASA's "Earth Radiation Budget Experiment" in the 1980s was that "the planet would on average be some 20°F hotter if we removed clouds from the atmosphere" - NASA - "Why Isn't Earth Hot as an Oven?".) Another problem is people are too stupid to understand that more water vapour may cause droughts and fires.

  • It has been suggested that Australian climate deniers should be put on trial - ABC - "Climate change 'brown wash'". Here is one reaction - ABC - "Suing the sceptics".

    Tuesday 10 August 2010

    gibraltar spain Bit more on Spanish Mayor wanting a border toll at Gibraltar
  • AFP - "Gibraltar slams Spanish border town's road toll plan"   Guardian - "Spanish mayor plans Gibraltar road toll charge"   Olive Press - "La Linea mayor confident about toll".

    australia Road pricing threat to truckers
  • T&L News - "Transport operators 'will have to accept lower profits'".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - Oregon / Washington State - "Bonus! News from the Columbia River Crossing 10-lane vote that didn't fit print"   Pennsylvania - "Technology is making tolls (almost) painless"   "Oregon, Washington Leaders Agree On Key I-5 Bridge Details"   North Carolina - "For whom the road tolls"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA is an agency in trouble".

    nigeria Clash over Lagos airport toll
  • This Day - "Passengers Miss Flights as Clearing Agents Clash".
    The airport is perhaps the only one in the world where you have to pay a road toll when moving between the international terminal building and the domestic terminal which is one kilometre away (the runways are the same).

    earth AGW
  • More "science"- BBC - "Rice yields falling under global warming".
    To suggest that rice yields drop by "10% for every 1C increase in night-time temperature" is not plausible, and there is no indication that these claims have been tested in the laboratory or the greenhouse (where to increase yields, the warmth and CO2 are artificially higher than outdoors).
    The BBC say that "This is the latest in a line of studies to suggest that climate change will make it harder to feed the world's growing population by cutting yields." The real reason that there is a problem is not "climate change", it is the size of population. Taking Asia as an example, in 1950, their population (excluding the near East and Russia) was 1.37 billion, today it is 3.9 billion, and in 40 years it is estimated it will be 4.75 billion.
    PS Following a query from Anthony Watts, the BBC radically altered the story, so that it was now claimed that rice yields were actually increasing, it was just that the growth in yields was declining.

  • Establishment left and right pushing cap 'n trade - Star-Ledger - "The final nail in Newt's coffin"   Repower America.

  • More on flood and fire - Guardian - "Climate change: how to play our hand?"   Reuters - "Analysis: Pakistan floods, Russia heat fit climate trend"   Christian Science Monitor - "Russian fires prompt Kremlin to abruptly embrace climate change"   Time - "The Asian Floods—Signs of Climate Catastrophes to Come?".

  • Piers Corbyn's comments on Russia Today - You Tube - "Never mind the heat, climate change is hoax by gravy-train scientists'".

    Monday 9 August 2010

    london Way to go
  • Westminster City Council - "Car Club".
    With "free fuel, free insurance and you don't need to pay the congestion charge.", do you also get a free badge showing how you are helping to save the planet?

    london Dirty electrics
  • road - Congestion Charge changes snub commercial vehicles".
    It is most unusual for it to be admitted of electric vehicles that "charging them from the UK's predominantly coal-fired supply network produces a higher overall energy cost and higher CO2 emissions than modern diesel engines."

    earth More AGW
  • Earth on fire - CNN - "Heat bakes Northern Hemisphere"   CNN - "Global weather chaos – is it connected?".
    The countries that are baking according to these CNN photos are US, Britain (photo number 2), China, Israel, Belarus and Georgia. We can believe the others, but Britain? The reality is that despite the claims of the Met Office, this has been another cool summer. Any bets on when the first snow will fall?

    britain" No hope at Dartford
  • We have just seen this from a few weeks ago - DfT - "Dartford Crossing".
    This seems to confirm that the Government have no intention of removing the tolls, but are instead going to go for "open road tolling". It seems that the Minister has decided to ignore the problems with open road tolling and how the system is not suitable for a road where there are no alternatives.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Tea Party support troll - Hartford Courant (Connecticut) - "Oz Griebel and the Tea Party".

  • Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Turnpike officials must think long term"   Pennsylvania - "Township reacts with skepticism to Rt. 422 plan"   Texas - "Can transportation survive politics? Shake-up: Carona out, Williams in"   Washington State - "Highway 520 bridge replacement efforts are underfunded".

    phillipines Toll increase
  • Manila Bulletin - "Tollway fees to rise next week: VAT-adjusted rates finalized; double whammy for SLEx users".

    earth AGW
  • Fire and flood - Mongabay - "Officials point to Russian drought and Asian deluge as consistent with climate change"   Christopher Booker in Telegraph - "Climate change: Behold, the gospel according to the UN".

  • In the vanguard - Sydney Morning Herald - "UK shows the way on climate action".

    Sunday 8 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • People in Nevada are too dumb to accept tolls - Las Vegas Review-Journal - "EDITORIAL: Creativity and road building: What do state lawmakers have against tolls?".

    japan No tolls causes congestion
  • Japan Times - "Toll-free trial ties up Bon traffic".
    This is the usual misinformation. Most of the roads with jams still have tolls and they all still have toll barriers. If you want to see the proper effect of no tolls, then you have to get rid of all the toll system paraphernalia (the system is the same as the French Péage which involves taking a ticket as you enter the toll road, and then handing over the ticket and payment at the other end).

    australia Consultants say that a new road will reduce congestion but only if there are no tolls
  • Manningham Leader - "Councillor worried about north-east link".

    Saturday 7 August 2010

    britain" Bring back the toll
  • The "Independent" chairman of a parish council says that his main priority is to have a toll on the local bridge to keep the traffic away - Bucks Press - "Parish chief: 'Bring back bridge toll'".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - North Carolina - "For whom the road tolls? You decide".

    canada A change from the usual tolls touting in Toronto
  • National Post- "Urban Scrawl: Toronto needs more transit not new tolls".

    earth More AGW
  • Go slow - BBC - "Climate change talks 'backslide' at Bonn".

  • Titanic II - BBC - "Huge ice sheet breaks from Greenland glacier".

  • On 22nd and 23rd June we had stories on ASA research which proved that pro AGW scientists were more respected than the doubters. It seems that the statistics behind this were as flawed and biased as the rest of the AGW credo - Examiner - "Debunking the Blacklist Paper, Part 2: The results were rigged".

    Friday 6 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • The trolls are still hoping for a comeback in Connecticut - The Day editorial- "The case for tolls".

  • Sundry stories - Texas - "NTTA considers billing drivers less often for tolls"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Senator wants DRPA stripped of broad spending power"   Indiana / Kentucky - "We must say no to tolls"   Land Line Mag - "Wyoming lawmakers discuss road funding options"   Land Line Mag- "Wyoming newspaper poll: Toll the truckers".

    indonesia Bit more on proposed Jakarta Con
  • Tempo Interactive - "Electronic Tariff System Asked to be Postponed".

    nigeria 17 page guide on how to pay new Lagos tolls
  • Vanguard - "Lekki-Epe Road: LCC issues users’ guide".

    Thursday 5 August 2010

    britain" No change
  • BBC - "UK interest rates kept on hold at 0.5%"   BofE - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and the Size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £200 billion".
    The ignore inflation policy is just what the Government wants - the higher inflation is the lower their spending is in real times, particularly when pay and allowances are frozen.
    The high inflation / low interest rate policy should mean that the value of the pound falls, though strangely the pound has actually gone up in value by about 3 per cent since May's election. Perhaps a sign that the outlook is even bleaker elsewhere.

    earth More AGW
  • Call for an end to "global warming" - Guardian - "Is it time to retire the term 'global warming'?".

  • The latest monthly account from the Met Office - "July 2010". Though the summary for July gives the impression that it was warmer than average, they don't say so explicitly. But if you go to the Met Office's "UK actual and anomaly maps" page, and select "Mean temperature" and then click on the ".. display your map" box, you will see that much of Britain was warmer than average, and nowhere was cooler. Who, apart from gullible greens, is going to be fooled that this has any connection with reality?

    usa USA Roundup
  • Paul Mulshine in the footsteps of C.W.McCall - and George Washington - Star-Ledger (NJ) - "Ask not for whom the bridge tolls; ask why".

  • Wyoming is another state proposing a border toll - Billings Gazette - "Half of voters would back toll for out-of-state trucks on I-80".
    Why are the Interstates not fully funded from the Federal gas tax?

  • Sundry stories - Wisconsin - "Barrett, Neumann, Walker Oppose Tolls"   Washington State - "Report: Can state afford 520 bridge replacement?"   Washington State - "More tolls possible to help fund 520 bridge" comments   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Truck toll would be $20 or more to cross I-95 bridge"   Virginia - "Richmond Toll Booths Accept Ez Pass and Exact Change Only" video   Indiana / Kentucky - "Bridges executive expects toll study soon"   NJ / NY - "Goethals Bridge complex project balloons to $28M after mid-construction delays" with comments.

    mexico usa Novel solution to the problem of road congestion at border crossing - walk
  • Sign-on San Diego - "Cross-border bridge gets federal permit".

    gibraltar spain Bit more on Spanish Mayor wanting a border toll at Gibraltar
  • Chronicle - "Spanish workers association concerned that mayor's action could wreck relations".

    ireland Another possible Irish toll
  • Galway City Tribune - "Galway drivers face €22m a year in tolls on new road".

    singapore "The Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system is a good example of how raising prices does not solve problems."
  • Asia One - "Rise in parking fees not solution".

    canada More tolls touting in Toronto
  • Globe and Mail - "Electric cars could make toll roads inevitable".

    australia Tolls touting in Oz
  • Reportage-Enviro - "Can the congestion crisis be solved?".

    china Toll touting and a bus that gobbles up unwary cars
  • The New Republic - "China's Bus of the Future".

    earth AGW
  • DEFRA - "UK businesses must plan for climate change says Environment Secretary".

  • Deniers only come out to play when it's cold - Helium - "Global warming denial patterns"   Economist - "Missing links".

  • Guardian - "Climate deal loopholes 'make farce' of rich nations' pledges".

  • Ecuador is to be given over two billion pounds for delaying oil exploration so as to save the planet from the evil Carbon - BBC - "Ecuador pledges no oil drilling in Amazon reserve". The Saudis may also want money - Guardian - "Saudi Arabia to seek compensation for climate pact oil losses".

    Wednesday 4 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Some comment on the DRPA - Philly - "John Baer: DRPA reform, or just smoke & mirrors?"   Philly - "Suddenly, everybody's a reformer at the DRPA"   .

  • The trolls at the "Reason" Foundation are calling for all the Federal Highways Fund to be spent on highways, and, of course, they also want a lot more tolls - RF - "Restoring Trust in the Highway Trust Fund" pdf.

  • Even better than tolls is privately operated tolls - Sun Journal - "Private enterprise does it better".

  • A "No tolls" group wants "historic" building delisted to reduce costs - Courier-Journal (Indiana / Kentucky) - "Heritage Council wants estate in bridge path to stay on historic register" pdf.

  • Arguing for even bigger subsidies for mass transit to be financed by more bridge tolls and "congestion pricing" - Huffington Post - "A Sustainable City Requires Increased Mass Transit Subsidies".

  • Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Upper Providence reacts with skepticism to Rt. 422 plan"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Editorial: Change of plans"   Washington State - "520 bridge shortfall: more tolls, taxes ahead"   Texas - "Funds for 'Y' to be added to toll rate"   Georgia - "Contract Awarded For I-85 Toll Project" with comments.

    indonesia Jakarta woes
  • Jakarta Post - "Focus on MRT, not roads: Expert"   Jakarta Post - "A better Jakarta: Between promise and reality".
    As usual, the main issue is hidden - in 1960 the population of the city was one million, it is now ten million. The amazing thing is that the city has not ground to a complete halt.

    australia A tag future
  • Life Hacker - "The Future Of Road Tolling Technology".
    A comment added to this story by Victor says - "The considerably easier way to do this is to drop tolls and tax petrol instead. That doesn’t require any fancy technology, is equitable (user pays), and would encourage low (or no) fuel consumption vehicles. Not politically palatable though…". Perhaps the biggest problem with a fuel tax, is that it does away with the corruption and political patronage that go with tolls.

    earth AGW
  • There are reports that the Sun is waking up - NASA - "Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth"   Fox - "Solar Tsunami to Strike Earth".
    Such bursts of activity are associated with sun spots, though a lot of sunspot activity does not necessarily mean large flares. This latest flare is only of medium size - "C", and the sunspot count is still very low. The AGW "scientists" will be hoping for far stronger solar activity as it will mean some increase in temperatures and more extreme weather events, so they will be able to have a rest from manipulating the figures.

  • The reportedly worst floods in Pakistan for "eighty years" are not due to monsoon rains but melting glaciers - AP Pakistan - "Melting glaciers main cause of floods: Prof Khan".
    We have no idea of what was happening with floods 80 years ago, but there have been population censii going back to 1881. The 1921 figure for the whole of the Indian subcontinent was 306 million people. Today it is over 1.5 billion. Many of Pakistan's share (185 million), will be living in the flood plains which helped to make the Indus valley one of the birthplaces of civilisation, 5,000 years before anyone discovered AGW.

  • As the anti Carbon legislation has faltered, the Environmental Protection Agency (a Federal agency) will be the main weapon in the war on Carbon - Washington Post - "EPA left to pick up climate change where Congress dropped the debate".

  • Some sceptics doubt whether it is scientificaly possible that CO2 could have any warming effect at all. Here is an attempt to kill that view - Watts up with that? - "Explaining misconceptions on “The Greenhouse Effect”".
    If you have a day or so to read all the comments, you may come to the conclusion that in the chaotic system that is weather / climate with numerous inputs and so many different sciences involved, there are probably no scientists who understand it and certainly not "climate scientists" whose own field of research is usually a very very small part of the whole subject.
    One of the comments is from Chrisptoper Monckton who is in the limelight as one of the main deniers, though he seems to believe a large part of the AGW faith - "The true debate in the scientific community is not about whether there is a greenhouse effect (there is), nor about whether additional atmospheric CO2 causes warming (it does), nor about whether CO2 concentration is rising (it is), nor about whether we are the cause (we are), but about how fast CO2 concentration will rise".

  • On the 20th June, there was this story - NY Times - "British Newspaper Apologizes to Climate Scientist". The Press Complaints Commission eventually (20th July) published this, though it reveals little more.

    Tuesday 3 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • USA Today - "States turn to tolls to fund roads".

  • Toll collector who enjoys it when the traffic queues to pay - Baltimore Sun - "Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll-taker unfazed by jams".

  • Sundry stories - Texas - "TxDOT use of eminent domain benefits private firms"   Indiana - "Reader says no to tolls" letter   Oregon / Washington State - "Panel says tolls ‘essential’ for I-5 bridge"   Texas - "RTC may shift Trinity toll road money to S.M. Wright project" comments.

    britain" Bit more on plan to increase Humber tolls
  • Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Humber Bridge Board to reconsider tolls after applying to reclassify vehicles"   Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge toll could rise to £3 by April – but bikers get good news"   BBC - "Humber Bridge Board's proposal to end motorbike toll".

    germany German tolls pushing
  • The Local - "Tolls on all German roadways would reduce traffic".

    britain" chimaera More trolling
    A call for a Carbon tax on all fuel, scrapping fuel duty, and bringing in road tolls - "The most radical approach to transport in the context of a fuel-based carbon tax is to abolish fuel duty and replace it with road pricing. The carbon tax on upstream oil takes the place of fuel duty, so petrol is taxed on the basis of its carbon pollu1on. Charging for road usage then makes up the revenue shortfall and this may be tailored to traffic flows and conges1on. The car driver therefore pays a carbon tax, plus a conges1on charge plus a charge for the creation and maintenance of the road asset." - Policy Exchange - "Greener, Cheaper" pdf   FT - "Expert points to window for fossil fuel tax".
    As with most of these reports that argue for road tolls it comes from a charity (this time the main Tory think tank). It seems that in modern Britain a charity is any organisation who's aim is to inflict pain and misery, as long as it can be dressed up as being "green". And as usual, the greens seem to be blind to the illogicality of scrapping the main tax on fuel while saying that their aim is to reduce fuel use.

    earth AGW
  • Central Russia is having unusually hot and dry weather - Pravda - "Heat Wave Kills 71 in 24 hours, Worst Drought in 130 Years". This is said to have converted Russia's rulers into a belief in AGW - Time - "Will Russia's Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts?"

  • It is reported that Russian and German scientists are saying that the extent of Arctic summer ice seems to be cyclical rather than on an ever upward trend - Register - "Boffins: Arctic cooled to pre-industrial levels from 1950-1990". It is strange that this is based on pine tree rings as these have been used before to "prove" that there is a trend which was said to be due to AGW. It is also strange that, according to this study, the pine tree ring growth rate has increased since 1990, as most other scientific reports indicate that it was about then that an increase in growth rate stopped, which then led to the "hide the decline" trick of mixing tree ring growth rates with temperature "measurements".

  • WWF and Oxfam say "sorry" for upsetting Saudis - BBC - "UN climate talks settle Saudi nameplate affair".

    Monday 2 August 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • There are still a lot of stories about DRPA including - Courier-Post - "DRPA outcry builds"   Philly - "Editorial: DRPA needs budget diet" comments   Times - "Editorial: Time is now to clean up DRPA’s problems" comments.

  • Sundry stories - Illinois - "Rental car pitfalls at tollbooths"   New York - "MTA gets 2 thumbs down for possible V-N fare hike"   California - "Fastrak's BOGO Offer"   California - "What to do if you get a toll violation"   Virginia - "A loan plan for toll lanes".

    britain" Bit more on plan to increase Humber tolls
  • Grimsby Telegraph - "Humber Bridge board bids to raise tolls but bikers go free".

    britain" A comment on the Nottingham parking place Con
  • Nottingham Post - "Tram saga a sad state of affairs".

    britain" Preston looking at a Con
  • Lancashire Evening Post - "Road charging mooted to end gridlock misery". (Preston is run by a minority Tory administration).

    gibraltar spain Bit more on Spain wanting a border toll at Gibraltar
  • Panorama - "Spanish workers association concerned that mayor's action could wreck relations".

    nigeria Lagos Tolls on hold
  • Vanguard - "Why Lekki-Epe road toll was suspended, by concessionaire".

    scotland Bit more on Trolls come out to play
  • Express "Pay-As-You-Go For Motorists".

    hongkong Bit more on Hong Kong tolls increase
  • Standard - "Tunnel toll hike sparks call for fourth crossing".

    south Some businesses unhappy with new tolls
  • EyeWitness News - "Chamber of Commerce against tolls in CPT".

    scotland Waste tendency
  • Herald - "Time to get a grip on transport spending".

    canada More from Toronto trolls
  • Sun - "Real mayors talk about road tolls: Editorial".

    india More on Southern India truck strike over tolls
  • Hindu - "Lorry operators' stir from today".

    london Deadline
  • Today is the deadline for responses to the consultation on honouring the promise to remove the Western extension of the Con - the latest consultation.
    The Mayor is under pressure from the usual green interests and we suspect that he will use this excuse to renege on his promise. Some of today's stories - BBC - "London C-charge zone extension consultation ends"   NCE - "Scrapping congestion extension could breach European air quality laws"   Londonist - "Public Consultations: WEZ And Council Cuts".
    PS Our submission (pdf).
    Or there's this from when the West was conquered by Ken - You Tube - Dead Ringers.

    britain" Statistics
  • DfT - "National Travel Survey" (As well as the PDF files at the top of the page, lower down there are a considerable number of Excel files that can be downloaded, including a zip file with all 189 of them).
    As we have warned before, the more recent data may not be reliable, as a few years ago they started "correcting" the figures for what was said to be the effect of travel by people not completing the survey being different from those that did.

    The distance traveled per person peaked at 7,208 miles in 2005 and has since declined reaching 6,775 miles in 2009 (a decline of 6 per cent).

    The share of travel done by car or van has fallen from 82 per cent in 1995/97 to 79 per cent in 2009.

    The rule that people will spend about one hour a day travelling still seems to hold true, according to Table NTS0101, the time spent travelling in 2009 was 372 hours. The distance travelled was 6,775 miles, giving an average rate of 18.21 mph. There is more detail about this and other data on our Figures page.

    In 1995/97 travel was 6,981 miles in 369 hours - an average rate of 18.92 mph, so speeds have deteriorated slightly between then and 2009. Partly this decline is due to the switch from car and van travel, as the other modes are slower; it is also partly due to a fall in car / van speeds. This car / van speed decline has continued even when individual drivers are using the roads less because of the effect of increased population and the measures taken by local authorities to hinder and slow traffic.

    In 1972/73 there were 4,476 miles travelled in 353 hours - an average rate of 12.68 mph. So there was a very substantial (over 40 per cent) increase between then and 1995/97. This major improvement in speed was presumably due to people switching to faster modes of travel, but the DfT do not reveal their travel mode figures for before 1995/97.

  • The DfT also published these last week - "Regional Transport Statistics".

    britain" Chancellor tries to break banks
  • BBC - "Osborne calls on banks to lend more to companies".

    earth AGW
  • Those who do not believe in AGW are either in the pay of or are dupes of right wing American organisations - Observer - "A dark ideology is driving those who deny climate change".

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