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SORRY! We fell about a month behind with this news page due to the anti Tolls campaign in Scotland, but here is a sample of the news from 8th Feb to the end of the month, grouped by area:-


21 February 2006
Brisbane Courier Mail - "Toll firms caught 'robbing' motorists"   The Age - "Clash on tolls fuels Doyle coup talk"
19 February 2006
Brisbane Courier Mail - "Libs toll-free roads poll pledge"
16 February 2006
Brisbane Courier Mail - "MPs want truck toll ditched"
15 February 2006
Brisbane Courier Mail - "Secret plan to buy troubled city tunnel"
13 February 2006
Brisbane Courier Mail - "Motorists throw away $65 million"

britain chimaera

16 February 2006
Hold the Front Page - "Calls to axe 'toll on health' are brought to the fore"
15 February 2006
BBC - "M25 has worst rush-hour journeys "


25 February 2006
The Star - "407 wins again on appeal: No plates if your tolls unpaid"


27 February 2006
The Telegraph - "British motorists face more road fees in Europe"


17 February 2006
Transport News Network - "French Protest at New Tolls"


8 February 2006 Irish Times - "Upgrade of M50 now delayed by change in toll policy"


23 February 2006
The Wharf - "GATEWAY INQUIRY REOPENED"   Herald - "Grandfather's bailiff ordeal"
22 February 2006
Times - "Electronic tags for cars as congestion charge spreads out"
17 February 2006
Wood & Vale - "Parking fine dodgers to hit end of the road"   Reuters - "London congestion charge to expand" Evening Standard - "Battling To Survive"<
This is Local London - "Madonna snubs London congestion charge"
Hounslow Guardian - "Driving into a row over charge zone"
16 February 2006
Evening Standard - "Madonna in C-charge blast"
12 February 2006
Observer - "Congestion charge fines are piling up" Barnett & Potters Bar Times - "Congestian charge blamed for number plate thefts"
8 February 2006
Times - "Councils accused of killing town centres"


19 February 2006
BBC - "M6 Toll 'created jobs and cash'"
13 February 2006
Transport News Network - "The Tolls Don't Work"
11 February 2006
Express & Star - "Drivers shun M6 toll road"
9 February 2006
Transport News Network - "Toll Road Traffic Falls Again"


23 February 2006 NZ City - "Business rejects tolling argument"


28 February 2006
China Post - "ETC Incident is disturbing"


26 February 2006
Newsday - "County exec, developer challenge Thruway tolls"   El Paso Times - "Many in EP oppose toll roads"
25 February 2006
Register Herald - "Forget 'pike projects" (Get rid of the bureaucrats)   The Capital - "Lawmaker: Halt tolls when Bay Bridge backs up"
24 February 2006
My SA - "Toll road foe has her say"
19 February 2006
WRAL - "Toll Road Plan Causes Commotion Along N.C./Va. Border"   News Press - "Sanibel toll ruling back in court"
18 February 2006
Munster Times - "Citizens pepper Daniels on Toll Road lease"
17 February 2006
WOAI - "Opponents: Toll Roads Create 'Second Class Citizens'"
  St Louis Post Dispatch - "Jerry Costello opposes toll on new bridge here"
14 February 2006
Times Leader - "Turnpike worker charged with stealing $5,000 in tolls (in just two weeks)"
13 February 2006
Wboy - "Kanawha County Judge Issues Injunction On Turnpike Tolls Case"
12 February 2006
My SanAntonio - "Are toll roads really about traffic, or perhaps about big contracts?"
10 February 2006
State Journal - "Turnpike Tolls Proposal On Table In Legislature"
8 February 2006 Letter From Ralph Nader to Governor Mitch Daniels on Indiana Toll Road Privatization

NEWs from 1st to 8th Feb is in a bit more detail:-

Wednesday 8 February 2006

britain Doing it the Hard Way
The RAC Foundation, that used to campaign for drivers have become very politically correct and seem to now be almost part of the anti car lobby. They are a strong advocate of tolls, though motorists don't want them.
Their latest suggestion is that another band for least fuel efficent cars is added to the top of the current six bands for tax discs, (band A for the most fuel efficient cars, costing £75 a year, to band F for the least efficient, costing £170 a year).
We wonder why all these proposals are designed to hit drivers, when fuel used for other purposes such as aviation gets off scot free? We also wonder if the Government and their supporters have heard of a little thing called fuel tax? The more fuel you use, the more you pay in tax (a lot more!). In a survey carried out for the RAC Foundation, three years ago, motorists said that they wanted car tax scrapped, and if neccessary the burden put on fuel tax. Motorists said that was a lot fairer.

ireland Irish Tolls Nightmare
Protests are continuing over the Irish Government's on / off / on plans to toll the M50. Hugh O'Connor of the Gallop's Residents' Association said "The new tolls will devastate the local community. Whatever they dress up the new tolls as they are really a tax on people who are already paying road tax and other taxes. Roads like Blackglen are going to become a nightmare and it's going to seriously diminish the quality of life in the area.": Dublin People - "Locals fear new M50 toll".

usa chimaera Bush's "Shilling"
In Britain we have "Darling's Shilling", the bribe that the Department of Transport pay to authorities that say they will introduce some form of road pricing. Now the USA has joined in. President Bush has just allocated $100 million to 5 states to look at ways of controling traffic through more and higher tolls. Mind you in USA terms, $100 million is probably less than a shilling!

britain A Toll Rise Too Far   OR   Democracy - the British Way
  • The Scunthorpe Telegraph yesterday previewed the Inquiry into a proposed toll increase on the Humber bridge: "PROTESTERS LINE UP TO FIGHT TOLL". That paper and its sister paper, the Grimsby Telegaraph, have been campaigning aginst the tolls, and in particular their effect on patients travelling for hospital treatment. The bridgemaster says that "We have an outstanding debt of £330 million and we are bound to pay that back. We are not a public body and our only income comes from the tolls." The bridge should of course be a toll free public road.
  • The BBC showed it's impartiality again. It reported on the Inquiry into a proposed toll increase on the Humber bridge, but ignored a comment that we supplied, and only provided a web link to the people that have applied for the increase! "Motorists face rise in toll fees". Mind you they are only following the rest of the establishment. The board that controls the bridge had information on their web site about the increase, but it was in our opinion misleading and did not draw people's attention to their right to object. We raised various points with the Department for Transport, but by the time that they answered it was too late for us to do much, and when we made a brief submission (just before the Inquiry) they said it was too late.
    Of course it is all a game anyway. The Humber bridge is already the most expensive tolled crossing in Britain, but there is more chance that you will win the National Lottery than that a Government Minister will stop a toll increase.

    Monday 6 February 2006

    usa Carolina Toll - stop smiling
    The Republican governor of South Carolina has signed a law for the building of a 90 mile stretch of the Interstate 73. The state will borrow to build the road, but will charge tolls.

    jamaica Jamaican toll riots
    This is not really news, though it is in today's paper. The riots were in 1859 and led to the removal of tolls in 1863: Jamicaa Gleaner - "Roads & RESISTANCE - THE TOLL GATE RIOTS OF 1859". Are there lessons for today?

    london Monday morning smile
    The pro tolls Times this morning has a piece from the director of the Adam Smith Institute. He says that Transport for London will eventually replace the daily "congestion" charge with one based on mileage by tracking everyone's car by satellite. He is unconcerned that this takes us nearer to a police state as "only the guilty have anything to hide". Paying by mileage, he says "is indeed a fairer way to pay for road use". Perhaps someone should let them know about fuel duty. Oddly enough you pay more the more you use the roads, and it doesn't cost billions to collect!

    Sunday 5 February 2006

    usa Land of the Free
    The North Texas Tollway Authority has issued an arrest warrant for toll criminal Gail Blair. They say that he failed to pay a 75 cent toll. Gail, who pays about $1,000 dollars a year in tolls, denies the offence: - "Texas tollroad arrests two motorists over a total of $5.50 in alleged unpaid tolls".

    australia One for Tolls
    A recent survey of Australian motorists showed that nearly 80% don't want tolls. But the Victorian Transport Minister says that the survey proves that drivers want toll roads, because half of the 80% said that they would pay tolls if the Government refused to otherwise provide roads.

    usa Two for Tolls
    There are a couple of items today in favour of tolls.
    One from West Virginia, says that tolls are needed because of high unemployment. Tolls create jobs for toll collectors and administrators etc.
    The other is from the Executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation. He says the "Preservation and maintenance of the more than 79,000 miles of highways in Texas cost more than $2.3 billion every year." and that this and the cost of any new roads could not possibly be financed by gas tax and borrowing from the banks, it can only be done through tolls. Case proved!

    Saturday 4 February 2006

    usa Indiana Tolls
    The sale of the Toll road still dominates the Indiana papers, here are a few letters today in the South Bend Tribune: "Time to wake up from this disturbing dream" and Elkhart Truth: "Daniels acts as if he's better than other Hoosiers".

    britain chimaera Say Yes to Tolls, and you can tell the Buses where to go
    The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that as another sweetener for local authorities to take Darling's shilling and bring in road charging, he is promising to give them power to boss the bus companies about:- "Darling's bus route to better services".

    britain chimaera Congestion Charge Threat drives business away
    The Yorkshire Evening Post also reports that a firm is to leave Leeds because of the threat of road charging:- "Security firm leaves city centre amid congestion charge fears".

    usa Truckers v. Trolls
    The Charleston Gazette reports on yesterday's court hearing where truckers have applied for an injunction stopping the recent increase in tolls on the West Virgina Parkway: "State open-meetings law ignored, toll suit alleges".

    Friday 3 February 2006

    europe germany chimaera Another Trucks Mystery
    We reported on 25th January that the European Commission were blocking plans by Germany to reimburse truckers some of the tolls, providing they had bought fuel in Germany. The Transport News Network todays reprints a story from Big Lorry Blog. They are complaining that the scheme may not start. The scheme is said to involve the toll first being increased, and then truckers being able to claim back the increase: "Musings". Can anybody explain why truckers would want a scheme where tolls were increased amd they might be able to claim the increase back? Have they got some underemployed clerks?

    usa Tolls - No More, No Less
    The Chicago Tribune reports that a 14 mile stretch of the Northwest Tollway (I90) will be switched to one way tolls from tomorrow. As in many other parts of the USA, toll booths are being removed in one direction to "reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing"

    britain Heads you lose, Tails you lose
    A Liverpool tram scheme, that was partly to be financed by profits on road tolls for the tunnels under the Mersey, seems to be dead following a court case. The case was brought by the local authority against the Government who refused to cough up a large part of the cash. It is still bad news for users of the tolled road, as it seems that they will have to contribute towards £56 million ($100 million) already spent on the scheme:- Liverpool Daily Post - "Transport blueprint set back five years".

    australia Eyes on the Road
    There is a long report in the Age on electronic systems for monitoring vehicles. It says that during the Louisiana hurricanes "officers from the state's highway system were reportedly scanning e-tags to make sure evacuees had paid their tolls": "Eyes on the road" (page 3).

    Thursday 2 February 2006

    sweden london No Tolls for 45,000 Swedes
    In the first month, 45,000 people have failed to pay the trial Stockholm Congestion charge of 20 kronor ($2.50 or £1.50). The fine for not paying is an extra 40 kronor: Radio Sweden - "Congestion Charge Hiccup: 45000 Haven't Paid". London drivers who have to pay £8 (100 kronor or $14) a day and are subject to penalties of £100 (1,400 kronor or $180) will think that the Swedes are getting a bargain. The comparitively low tolls could be because there will be a vote in Stockholm on whether to keep the scheme. Based on the London experience the Stockholm scheme would have to charge 500% more just to break even - so if they vote to keep it, they may be in for a surprise.

    britain Another Way Forward
    The Mersey Tunnels Users Association are part of the NAAT who campaign against the tolls under the river at Liverpool. They have suggested various changes, including one way tolls to reduce queues at the toll barriers: BBC - "Call to reform Mersey Tunnel toll"     Liverpool Daily Post - "Tunnel users outline the road ahead on Mersey tolls".

    Wednesday 1 February 2006

    usa No Tolls - Better Roads
    Texas is to be covered in toll roads, but even some of the politicians don't like it. Now a Republican and a Democrat have got together and suggested that instead of massive new toll roads what is needed is better planning and removal of bottlenecks in the system: WOAI - "Toll Alternatives Proposed".

    london "Low Emission " Tolls - High Cost
    London proposes to set up a Low Emission Zone which will charge high tolls to vehicles that don't have low emissions. The Freight Transport Association complain that at a cost of £130 million ($230 million), it is poor value for money: FTA Press Release.

    britain chimaera Tolls Are Politically Correct
    We reported yesterday on the publication of UK Transport Trends. There has been a considerable amount of Government spin claiming that the figures prove that there will soon be gridlock on British roads. This is in fact not what the figures show. The amazing thing is that despite the best efforts of politicians and their officials to bring the system to a halt, the traffic still gets through. It would of course get through a lot better if more than £1 out of every £7 collected from roads taxes was spent on the roads. And we mean spent on improving them, not on destroying them.
    Following the spin, one of our spokesman was invited to contribute to a BBC radio programme on congestion charges and tolls. He waited expectantly by the phone listening to the programme. All those who spoke on the issue, such as Friends of the Earth and the RAC Foundation were in favour of road pricing. At the end of the programme, our spokesman was told that he hadn't been included because the BBC wanted to get "the balance right". They may have got it "right" and of course "politically correct", but was it fair? Example of one of yesterday's reports: Channel 4 - "UK heading for gridlock, says government report".

    bangladesh Tolls in their most basic form
    Occasionally we report on the tolls in less developed countries. Here is one from Bangladesh: Independent - "Extortion on highways rampant".

    australia More Tolls? Or None?
    The Age reports that at the Inquiry into the Cross City Tunnel the former New South Wales auditor-general Tony Harris has suggested a lot more tolls on Sydney roads: "Massive expansion of Sydney tolls proposed". If you read the rest of the report it seems that what he actually said was "there were better ways to finance urban roads than using privately owned toll roads, such as imposing new petrol taxes"
    It is also reported that all the Government ministers have refused to testify at the Inquiry. Perhaps no one would have believed them, but it would have been interesting to hear what they said.

    ireland Irish Kush
    We reported on the 30th the Irish Government plan for more tolls. Following a debate in the Dáil, it seems that the Government may have already abandoned the plans. Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party told the Taoiseach - "If a warlord in the Hindu Kush controlled a vital pass and fleeced the unfortunate peasants who had to use it every day for their livelihoods, some people would say: 'that's Afghanistan and it's the dark ages'. But even Afghan peasants had it easy compared with victims of the West-Link.": Irish Times - "Despite 'magic' mushrooms ban, Bertie has a bad trip".

    usa One Woman says "No Tolls"
    Al Lewis in the Denver Post reports on Robin Wiesner and her one woman campaign against road tolls. She is particularly angered by the secret agreements between authorities and trolls, so that alternative roads are deliberately congested: "Toll of road congestion by design angers".

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