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Friday 29 February 2008

britain" Two in Telegraph Motoring pages
  • Tax with a fat chance from James May - "Saving the planet is easy as pie".

  • Sir John W attacks Porsche for opposing the £25 toll - "Charge of the selfish brigade".

    london Petition against con fines
    The PM is being petitioned to make the fines for late payment of the London Toll less punitive - Petition.

    britain" A Perverse People
    Despite (or because of?) the odium heaped on owners of people carriers, it seems that one out of six prospective car buyers will buy one - Easier motoring - "Over 1 million Brits will choose a 4x4 over more fuel efficient cars".

    britain" Manchester Toll - going but not quite gone
    It is looking less likely that the councils in the Manchester area will go ahead with road toll plans that were drawn up by officials and consultants without elected members seeing them. The plans were submitted to the Government at the beginning of last August, but the Government is waiting till after the May elections to say anything as it does not want to scuttle Labour's chances. In the meantime the tolls ship is sinking. (More on Manchester News page.)

    london London green?
    The Green Party candidate for Mayor does not want to extend the toll zone. She says - "There's no need to extend the congestion charge as it has worked. If you extend the scheme it just won't work because you will just be creating congestion within the zone." IcSouthLondon - "Green queen". Have the Greens lost their "Hit the driver on the head and then kick them in the *****" manifesto?

    london usa "Choking on the congestion charge"
    Warning from the Livingstone fantasy kingdom to Bloomberg dukedom - Spiked.

    usa USA roundup
  • So many people are using the electronic tolls on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge that all tolls will have to be raised and the discount reduced - Kitsap Sun - "Citizens Committee Leans Toward Keeping Discount for Transponder Use".

  • Truckers view of the recent GAO report (see 12th and 17th) - Fleet Owner - "GAO gives highway privatization mixed review".

  • Corzine tolls - Newsday - "Corzine remains resolute on cutting debt even as toll plan stalls"   Asbury Park Press - "Corzine presses for focus on stress of state debt"   Express Times - "Corzine to get back on road, tout toll plan"   NJ Voices - "Governor Corzine's "cold turkey" budget"   Newsday - "Hospitals predict closings; top senator urges urban aid review" budget".
    Star Ledger - "Corzine admits being dogged by toll plan"   Press of Atlantic City - "Budget reality sinks in after details fleshed out"   Jersey Journal - "Toll hikes scheme like life terms for state's motorists"   New York Times - "New Jersey’s Warning"   Star Ledger - "Republican Franks gets behind Corzine's unpopular toll hike plan"   Tri Town News - "Chamber rejects Corzine's plan".

  • It is a common theme, but still amazing that those who preach the global warming religion, say that road tolls will save the planet. We wonder why they never mention fuel taxes?   Seattle Times - "Should roads have tolls to fight global warming?".

  • After a long tussle, it has been agreed that the new Mississippi bridge linking Illinois and Missouri will be toll free - Chigago Tribune - "Illinois, Missouri reach Mississippi River bridge agreement"   St Louis Today - "Mo. and Ill. find common ground on new bridge".
    Despite this agreement there is still pushing for tolls on other roads - St Louis Today - "Study says tolls should be in Missouri's future".

  • Other stories - California - "Toll Authority bonds take a hit"   Washington State - "‘Good To Go’ discount costs state $5 million"   Texas - "Taxes or Tolls on the TTC"   California - "Toll hike gets first airing at San Francisco meeting"   Maryland - "Toll ahead"   New York - "Public transit still cheapest route to NYC"   Illinois - "Your need for speed may cost you during rush hour - Planners propose higher tolls at high-congestion times".
    Washington State - "Tolling bills advance in Washington state"   Texas - "Katy, Rosenberg Host Trans-Texas Corridor Meetings"   Illinois - "Big Illinois Tollway project to add lanes south of state line"   Washington State - "Adding tolls to pay for bridge would take a toll on the public"   California - "Idea to toll motorists headed to LAX is called costly"   Pennsylvania - "Would toll lanes unclog Parkway East?".
    Pennsylvania - "State faces funding hole if feds reject I-80 tolling"   South Carolina - "Hike means less money, more traffic problems" letter   South Carolina - "America’s Infrastructure for Sale"   Virginia - "Toll bridge over Currituck Sound closer to reality"   Massachusetts - "State troopers will now guard turnpike toll collections"   Tennessee - "Toll road proposal for certain parts of E. TN".

    ireland Mea culpa
  • Independent - "Dante's Inferno has nothing on the M50".

    Thursday 28 February 2008

    london Tolls save lives
    A report from medical researchers says that improved air quality due to the toll charge has saved lives - BBC - "Congestion charge 'boosts health'"   OnMedica - "London Congestion charge improves Life expectancy". Though everyone would like to see a reduction in pollution from all sources, these claims are built on very thin air and appear to be solely based on computer models. The Transport for London reports include figures for actual measurements of the most serious pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10s) in and around the charging zone. These figures show that despite the claimed "estimated" reductions in these pollutants, there has been no reduction recorded in the actual measurements. The London Toll has failed to improve air quality as it has also failed to improve traffic speeds.

    britain" Humber Toll - Local politicians to press Government

    britain" chimaera Government refuses to name firms taking part in trials
  • Motorcycle News - "Government secretive on road pricing trials".

    britain" Big brother is here
  • New Statesman - "Too much information".

    britain" chimaera More tolls pushing from Labour think tank
  • Yorkshire Post - "North needs fair share to win world - class transport"   Journal (Newcastle) - "Ministers urged to look to maglev".

    britain" chimaera Push and Pull from DC
    David Cameron has been "up north". He seems to have distanced the Tories from any plans for road pricing while boasting about the M6 Toll road - Yorkshire Post - "Cameron's pledge to region on transport aid". If the Tory leader moved in the real world of the plebs he would know that the old M6 is just as crowded as ever, and that the decision to toll the relief road was a disaster.

    britain" Another Tory view
    We reported on the 20th that a Tory group had published - "Stop The War Against Drivers". The document is now on their - website (pdf file). Most of the documents is not about tolls, but it is made clear that they oppose road pricing. They don't appear to favour the London Congestion Charge though they make no suggestions about its future and it is not clear what their view is on the Government's cloning of the charge in other cities. They have little to say on motorway and bridge tolls, though they give the impression that they support them apart from on the Dartford Crossing where they say that they should be scrapped.

    Wednesday 27 February 2008

    china A few extra tolls
    China is somewhere between western capitalism and the third world. Just the place for lots of tolls, legal or not - China View - "Chinese auditors find billions collected in illegal road tolls".
    There has been talk of scrapping tolls and introducing a fuel tax to help the environment - Reuters 9th March 2007 - "Tackling road tolls key to China fuel tax-minister". Despite this recent crackdown on some of the tolls deemed to be "illegal" the chances of the Chinese taking a step away from the western toll system are probably thinner than the exhaust smoke from the traffic queuing at the toll barriers.

    london The other side
    Guardian Comment in recent days has been overflowing with celebrities backing Ken for Mayor. Suprisingly today we have a contrary view - "Ask Ken". What a pity that someone with Phil Taylor's knowledge is not the Tory candidate for Mayor.

    britain" All about diesel
  • - "Diesel prices and fuel tax".

    britain" Bristol spinners
    The BBC have a story about how tolls on the Clifton Suspension bridge are being used - "Bridge toll rise pays for works". This story is nonsense. As we argued at the 2006 toll inquiry, the increased level of tolls was not needed to pay for essential upkeep of the bridge. Most of the tolls money has gone on things like the illuminations and the planned museum. Things that should be paid for either out of taxes or funds such as the National Lottery. But with the Government backing tolls it is very easy to use drivers as a cash cow.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - NJ Voices - Paul Mulshine - "Corzine's long-overdue education".
    Asbury Park Press - "Corzine: We can no longer afford our government"   The Courier - "Monmouth residents would suffer under proposed toll hike plan"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Editorial: New Jersey's Budget - Damage control"   The Record - "Corzine's budget cuts spread the pain"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine keeps pushing toll plan even as he seeks budget cuts"   New York Times - "Corzine Seeks to Cut N.J. Budget and Work Force"   Courier Post - "Corzine sharpens budget ax"   Newsday - "Details of Gov. Jon Corzine's budget proposal".

  • Boston Globe - "Turnpike toll takers stripped of their guns"   Boston Herald - "Turnpike toll takers’ guns collected - Boss nixes old policy, but union vows fight".

  • Other stories - Tennessee - "Toll ahead? Planners OK more study on Knoxville Parkway"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Former philadelphia official in line for DRPA post"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Monica Yant Kinney: $40 million is burning a hole in DRPA pocket"   Massachusetts - "Remark on I-93 tolls adds to debate"   California - "Wheels are turning for toll-hike plan"   Florida - "Bayway area teams up against tolls"   Virginia - "No gas tax, no HOT lanes: What we need is pork" letter   Washington State - "Senate Budget Could Take Citizens' Group Out of Loop on Narrows Bridge Tolls"   Florida - "Commissioners support Expressway Authority, but not to toll I-75".
    Massachusetts - "State blowing chance at fed dollars?"   Texas - "Toll Road Opponents To File Lawsuit"   New York - "Toll hikes on Staten Island bridges to take effect Sunday"   New York - "Assemblyman Hevesi clarifies transit 'money grab' comment"   Pennsylvania - "Walker to Peters: No tolls"   Maryland - "Report: Bay Bridge tolls may double"   Washington State - "Lawmakers Hope Toll Contract Will Mean Better Deal for Drivers"   Georgia - "Truck lanes might not be worth the cost".

    london usa Porsche
  • From across the Ocean - The London Mayor probably needs no outside help, but by coincidence the New York Mayor's publishing arm has some stories about Porsche trying to take on Ken - Bloombergs - "Porsche Should Go Green to Beat Big-Carbon Tag"   Bloombergs - "Porsche Should Build Fuel-Efficient Cars, London Mayor Says".
  • More on the Mayor not releasing details of one poll - Auto Industry - "Porsche issues statement on London Mayor’s claims for congestion charge polling".

    britain" "The Woman who stops traffic"
    Last night Channel Four showed the first programme in a series about a woman who is encouraging people to use their cars less - Channel Four. This first programme was in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and she seemed to succeed. But it was not made clear that the programme had been made a year ago or what had happened since, though there are some reports in the local paper - Bucks Free Press - "Marlow 'No Car Day' on TV tonight"   Bucks Free Press - "Documentary shows drop in Marlow traffic". Whatever the result of this action, it is certainly a good idea if people use their feet on short journies. It would also be a good idea if there were more more roads going around small towns rather than straight through the High Street.
    Incidentally the programme mentioned that the woman had three children. That does not sound a lot. But if all familes had three children in each generation, then in one hundred years time, and assuming nil net migration, the population of Britain will be 250 million. They may have something to worry about apart from slow traffic.

    nigeria Another view
    We occassionally report on third world tolls, which are sometimes illegal, usually corrupt, and are encouraged by organisations like the World Bank. Though at least one politician is speaking out against them - Daily Sun.

    canada "Carbon" tax
  • BClocalnews- "Inside B.C.’s carbon tax revolution".

    canada Unions react
    Unions who fear the effect on jobs are campaigning against the proposal for private finance and road tolls to fund building of mass transit schemes - Journal of Commerce - "Labour council organizes Toronto rally against Metrolinx P-3 plan".

    Tuesday 26 February 2008

    australia Flying knight to shaft homeland
  • The Age - "Transport expert tackles congestion".

    britain" Congestion charge proposed for Stow
    The town has a population of 3,000, so this must be some sort of a record - Gloucestershire Echo - "LET'S CHARGE THE GAS GUZZLING CARS".

    ireland Lazarus not yet running
    Following yesterday's reports, it seems that there will be a Dublin Toll - but not yet - Independent - "Congestion levies ruled out for eight years by Dempsey".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Asbury Park Press - "Budget briefing short on details"   Courier Post - "Corzine sharpens budget ax"   Star Ledger - "Small businesses not buying plan to hike tolls"   New York Times - "New Jersey’s Dilemma: Raise More Revenue or Cut Spending?"   New York Times - "   Courier Post - "New Jersey’s Dilemma: Raise More Revenue or Cut Spending?".

  • One of many toll pushing stories, but interesting as it repeats the misinformation about the effect of removing Scotland's tolls. It shows how powerful and widespread the troll interests are - Cascadia Prospectus - "Tolling, finance innovation vital for infrastructure growth".

  • Other stories - Massachusetts - "Total access - Single commuter pass would work on Pike, MBTA and parking".
    California - "Doyle Drive debate takes step foward"   Maryland - "Commuters likely to face higher tolls"   Florida - "Public has its say today on Sanibel tolls"   Oklahoma - "Panel backs blockade on sale of turnpikes"   California - "The 'eroding' gas tax"   Pennsylvania - "Turnpike Ad Campaign Opposes Lease Plan"   Tennessee - "Vote this week on whether to continue toll road studies".
    Illinois / Missouri - "States reach bridge deal"   Illinois / Missouri - "Sources: Agreement reached on new bi-state bridge"   New York - "Weiner says pricing shows "stunning political naivete""   "South Carolina DOT tallied $1.5 million in D.C. lobbying"   New York - "Downtown Brooklyn Board Backs Congestion Pricing"   New York - "Downtown Brooklyn Board Backs Congestion Pricing".

    Monday 25 February 2008

    ireland Irish Lazarus
    As predicted in the Independent, the Irish Government one week after the official denial that there was a Dublin Toll plan has now released it - Irish Times - "Views sought on easing congestion". Reports before the announcement - Independent - "Controversial congestion charge on way for city centre motorists"   Independent - "A fair deal for travelling public".

    earth The shape of things to come?
    People around the world assume that their politicians are generally dishonest and inept. One of the biggest deceptions is not how much some politicians may make on the side, it is the focussing of public attention on trivia while governments pump up various financial bubbles and ignore population growth. How long can this last?   FT - "UN set to ration food aid as prices soar".

    ireland The shady world of Irish tolls
    - Independent - "Justice at the court of the NRA".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Courier Post - "Corzine urges more transportation funding"   NJ Voices - "Turnpike gridlock, better alternate route ahead".

  • Governors push private road finance - Courier Post (NJ) - "Getting our fair share could fix congestion"   St Petersburg Times (Fl) - "Governors push road work"   Associated Press - "States Dealing With Tough Budget Times".
    On the other hand - Register Guard (Or) - "Feds must lead way on roads".

  • Other stories - Texas - " Congressman Ron Paul Speaks on Taxes or Tolls on the TTC"   Virginia - "What Would You Pay? And How?"   Florida - "Toll road paves way to growth in Orange"   Massachusetts - "Outside-the-box toll idea warrants consideration"   South Carolina - "I-73 slogs forward; no funds assured"   Virginia - "Will Drivers Pay to Hurry Up and Wait?"   Arizona - "Using toll concept on carpool lanes can be beneficial"   New York - "New Plan to Remove 190 Tolls on Grand Island"   California - "Camera-only toll system easy to beat".

    india "Vehicle area annual levy"
    A novel idea - Economic Times - "Public transport policy revisited".

    Sunday 24 February 2008

    scotland Gathering of the Trolls
    Now that the tolls have gone in Scotland, those that wanted them kept are desperate to try and prove that there is congestion (see Scotland news page). The fact is that traffic is now generally flowing more easily and speedily than before, though things are not yet normal as they are demolishing toll booths, closing lanes for various road works and messing about with the points at which traffic merges. The worry is that the trolls are so powerful that they will see that the bridges are mismanaged and their congestion claims are published in the papers that want to see road tolls and "congestion" charges introduced around Britain.
    PS The next day's paper from the Scotsman's group told of new speed limits and cameras in order to reduce traffic speeds!   Scotsman - "Road bridge to get speed cameras - and limit may be cut to 40mph".
    PPS The Scotsman story about the removal of tolls causing congestion has gone round the world, courtesy of United Press International, whose ultimate owner is the Unification church.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Newsday - "Senate leader urges lawmakers to back Corzine budget"   Daily Record - "Don't raise tax on gas"   Asbury Park Press - "End of the road for toll hike plan"   Courier Post - "'Harsh' cutbacks likely in Corzine's budget proposal"   Courier Post - "Corzine wants to scare us over cuts"   The Record - "Ahearn: Alternatives to toll hikes"   New York Times - "You Hate His Toll Plan; Ready for His Budget?"   NJ Voices - "The Wall Street Journal Looks at the State of the Toll and Spend State"   NJ Voices - "The Wall Street Journal Looks at the State of the Toll and Spend State"   Newsday - "Q&A: How the governor's proposed budget will affect you".

  • Other stories - Washington State - "Federal funds for roads fading fast"   Texas - "Say 'no' to more toll roads" letter   Massachusetts - "Documenting inequity for Pike drivers"   North Carolina - "Transportation officials looking for revenue to fill gap".

    london £25 toll poll
  • Times - "Charge ‘unfair’".

    britain" Politicians show the way
  • Daily Mail - "Ministers and Speaker still secretly use gas-guzzling limos despite eco-friendly boasts".

    Saturday 23 February 2008

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Vineland Daily Journal - "Key part of toll plan may be history"   New York Times - "On the Road With the Two Jon Corzines"   Wall Street Journal - "Toll and Spend"   Newsday - "Corzine: Looming budget cuts not a game"   Jackson Times - "Chamber Of Commerce Issues Resolution".

  • Whither trucks?   The Trucker - "Diversion: trucks came back to Ohio Turnpike after rates went down, but...".

  • Other stories - Minnesota - "Roads are a government problem"   Nevada - "TRAFFIC TROUBLES: Worse congestion predicted"   New York - "304 million vehicles flooded bridges, tunnels despite higher gas prices"   Massachusetts - "I-93 toll idea puts officials at odds"   Washington State - "$2 billion earmarked to replace 520 bridge"   Washington State - "520 gets closer to tolls"   California - "Charging motorists for using roads considered"   Texas - "Road block: Why the rage against the Trans-Texas Corridor?"   Pennsylvania - "Oppose plan to toll Interstate 80" letter   New York - "TOLLS: Alternative route for Grand Island"   Massachusetts - "Patrick administration says I-93 tolls being considered"   Colorado - "Seeking solutions for ski traffic mess"   New York - "Proposed Legislation to Lift Grand Island Tolls ".

    australia "Congestion tax back on agenda for CBD"
  • The Age.

    britain" Another camera scam
    The story about using cameras to detect how many people there are in a car has resurfaced (see 2 Feb and 27 Jan) - BBC - "Car-sharing cameras being tested". Whatever the story it is nice to see the way in which there is often a free plug for the AA with its insurance and other products.

    canada More on - More Toll pushing
  • Toronto Star - "Mayor backs serious look at road tolls"   Financial Post - "If Toronto needs money, toll the 401". Though the Government is saying no - Sault Star - "No tolls for T.O. roads: Bradley".

    wales Which way?
    Two odd stories today. The first is a report of a Lib Dem conference today on Local Government. The leader of the Welsh Lib Dems was last week reported as saying he wanted tolls removed from Wales, but all they will debate today is that they want to be able to pay tolls by credit card!
    The other story is about an increase in the estimated cost for the proposed M4 relief road, which is to be tolled. Friends of the Earth Cymru, say - "If the motorist has to pay the tolls, they might avoid the road." - Western Mail - "Delays push up M4 relief road costs".

    london More on the £25
  • Reuters - "London mayor plans to contest Porsche legal action"   Official press release today   This is Local London - "Porsche puts up petition to Ken's c-charge hike".

  • We don't know what the Porsche case will be, but one issue that may arise is that the Mayor's road tolling powers are supposed to be exercised in line with his "Transport strategy"; so can a charge which the Mayor says is to save the planet from Global warming be reasonably part of a London transport strategy? And if a judge somehow agrees that it is reasonable, then will the judge think that it is still reasonable when any effect will be undetectable, even within the charge zone?

    Friday 22 February 2008

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - effect on areas outside the city
  • Cambridge Evening News - "Congestion charge is 'stealth tax'".

    britain" Humber Toll - Comments
    Some letters in the Grimsby Telegraph following the recent announcement that the bridge board wanted to increase tolls again - "BRIDGING THE GAP IN BID TO AXE TOLL".

    london Business view
    When it comes to the London Toll there is a clear split between the big bosses in organisations like the CBI who want to force less well off drivers off the road, and those that represent smaller, particularly retail, businesses. Big bosses are most likely to travel by taxis which are exempt from the charge, but if they do drive, then it is quite likely that they drive a Porsche or similar car, so it is a bit strange that it is Porsche which has launched the attack on the £25 toll. For a view of how the existing charge affects smaller busineeses see this BBC video clip for 19th - "Congestion charge hits trade".
    PS From the Mayor's green Doppelgänger - New Statesman - "Porsche, Bozza and Paddick".

    canada More Toll pushing
  • CBC - "Toll Toronto roads, expert panel says"   Toronto Sun - "Toll urged for T.O. 'ring road' - Use revenue to improve public transit, panel say"   "Highlights" of official report (pdf file)"   full report (pdf file)".

    netherlands "Government is not listening"
    This headline could be anywhere in the world, but in this case it refers to the Netherlands where the Govcernment is likely to ignore a poll which has just been published - it shows that two out of three people are against the introduction of road pricing.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Asbury Park Press - "Budget trimming a bipartisan goal"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll plan in trouble, Corzine eyes $250M budget reduction"   Press of Atlantic City - "GOP lawmakers lead meeting critical of Corzine toll plan"   Jersey Journal - "Big toll load down the road"   The Record - "Curtains for toll plan?"   Star Ledger - "Corzine ready to consider Plan B"   Forbes - "N.J. still looks to cut debt with tolls"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine: Cutting debt with tolls still a goal, may be difficult".

  • In a lot of states the usual interests are pushing for a lot more tolls and for no increases in gas taxes. There are a few people who disagree - letter in Arizona Republic - "As Chicago knows, toll roads are scam".

  • Other stories - Massachusetts - "Turnpike picks cost-cutter"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA wrong to give away more money"   Arizona - "State's transit woes won't be resolved by toll roads"   Kentucky - "Ky. needs new money for Ohio River crossings"   Florida - "Residents to pay for roads"   Pennsylvania - "Pa. senate candidates talk about tolling on Interstate 80"   Indiana - "Toll road fares to increase April 1"   California - "New toll considered for Golden Gate Bridge"   Texas - "TxDOT official: Plans for massive TTC will likely change"   Georgia - "Study raises questions about value of truck lanes"   Texas - "Candidate forum focuses more on Grand Parkway"   Pennsylvania - "Turnpike chief speaks to Lancaster chamber".

    Thursday 21 February 2008

    britain" York Toll - some suggestions
  • York Press - "Don’t be boxed in by traffic"   York Press - "City road pricing examined".

    britain" Birmingham congestion
  • Birmingham Mail - "Drive to beat school run chaos".

    london More on Mayor's hot air
  • new Porsche anti charge site   Telegraph - "Porsche to petition Livingstone on gas guzzlers".
    PS My finances - "Transport costs turn off Londoners most".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Bridgewater Courier - "Lawmaker proposes doubling gas tax as alternative to toll plan"   Courier Post - "Poll: 3 in 4 oppose plan for toll hikes"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Voters souring on Corzine and U.S. senators, poll finds"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Senate leader shuns raising toll to fix debt"   The Record - "It's time for Corzine to scrap plan for toll hikes"   The Record - "Corzine's toll plan draws more public outrage"   Star Ledger - "Running'em out of state ... on a poll"   Star Ledger - "Alternate option on Corzine's toll plan - Legislator backs rise in gas levy, lottery sale".

  • Earlier this week it was suggested that camera systems, as in London, could be used to collect tolls - The Reporter - "Camera-only toll system easy to beat".

  • Occam's razor - Dallas News - "Adjusting stoplight timing is everything".

  • Other stories - California - "Congestion tolls for Golden Gate Bridge?"   Georgia - "Taxes stuck in traffic"   Massachusetts - "Pike union laboring under old rules"   Texas - "Texas 161 toll road may be finished before Super Bowl"   Massachusetts - "Pike shake-up"   Arizona - "Gov.: Don't charge tolls on car-pool, bus lanes"   Virginia - "HOT lanes not a hot deal for commuters"   Massachusetts - "Fed rules pave way to add I-93 tolls"   Texas - "NTTA plans to increase tollway speeds"   Arizona - "Napolitano wants to keep freeway lanes free"   Washington State - "Citizen Advisory Committee to offer toll recommendations"   Washington State - "Sales tax on bridge project doesn’t belong".

    canada Toll pushing
    The Government has said that it will more money on transportation but the Canadian Construction Association and the Infrastructure Investment Coalition wants road tolls and congestion fees - Daily Commercial News - "Dion’s funding pledge lacks certainty, Canadian construction officials say".

    Wednesday 20 February 2008

    sweden Money, money, money
    When the politicians broke their promise not to reintroduce the con charge, one claim that was made was that the scheme made "large" profits. It seems that the profits have disappeared down the same hole as the politicians words - Swedish Radio - "Congestion Charges Still Losing Money".

    usa Soccer mad
  • Philadelphia Inquirer - "DRPA approves $10 million for soccer stadium".

    london One anti toll candidate
  • - "SCP: Grey power is on the march".

    britain" Way forward?
    A Conservative group have published (though not on their website) - "Stop The War Against Drivers" Telegraph - "'Positive points' on driver's licence proposed"   Evening Standard - "Skilled drivers could offset speeding offences with 'positive points', think tank suggests". One of the group's proposals is scrapping the tolls on the Dartford Crossing. It seems that the news media were so shocked that they censored this out of their reports.

    sweden Another Swedish Con
    Gothenburg is considering a "congestion" charge, though the purpose is not to reduce congestion but "to reduce greenhouse gases" - The Local - "Gothenburg mulls congestion charge".

    britain" Dartford toll discount
  • News Shopper - "Crossing discount denied".

    australia Toll pushing down under
    We often point out that most of the British bodies that the press refer to as "representing drivers" - such as the AA and the RAC - have no members and push tolls. In Australia it is just as bad or worse - Advertiser Adelaide - "RAA calls for toll lanes to ease traffic congestion".

    london More on the £25 toll
  • Crash - "Friends of the Earth react to Porsche challenge"   ABD Press release   FT - "Porsche to challenge London C-charge"   Guardian - "Porsche threatens legal action on £25 congestion fee"   Reuters - "Carmaker Porsche challenges London gas guzzler tax".
  • Mayor or chameleon?   Bloomberg - "`Red Ken' Livingstone Garners Praise From London Capitalists ".

    britain" More on proposed Sheffield Toll
  • Sheffield Star - "Outrage at plans to charge motorists".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Bridgeton News - "Sweeney says there should be no increase in gas tax"   Newsday - "Assemblyman proposes gas tax, toll hikes"   Baristanet - "Corzine's Tolls & The Polls"   Newsday - "Poll: Voters unhappy with Corzine, toll increases"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll-road plan advocacy group should open its books to public"   The Record - "GOP sees dire results if toll increases pass"   UPI - "N.J. toll hike plan hits road blocks".

  • It seems that the greens in New Hampshire live in the strange surreal world occupied by greenies over most of the planet. They want to reduce fossil fuel use, so naturally they do not suggest using fuel taxes, instead they propose - "Put a meter on every parking space. Double or triple highway tolls." - New Hampshire - "New motto? 'Live green or die' - Climate change task force listens to ideas".

  • A rise in bond rates may be a problem for tolled roads and road sales which are usually financed this way - Bloomberg - "Port Authority Auction Bonds Reset at 8% After Surge (Update4)".

  • Other stories - New York - "93-year-old Theodore Kheel wants to make mass transit free. A crazy idea? Yes. A good one? Maybe."   Kentucky - "Bridges project is 'dead'" letter   Arizona - "Senate committee likes freeway-toll-lane measure"   Texas - "Group fights Grand Parkway expansion"   Massachusetts - "Pike union promises fight against electronic tolls"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA to vote on $10 million for soccer stadium"   California - "Picture this? Uh, no".
    Massachusetts - "Pike chief to cut jobs to revive agency"   Arizona - "Senate panel delivers twin hits to toll-road idea, killing 2 plans"   Washington State - "SR 167 'HOT' Lanes Tolls Set"   North Carolina - "Some In Holly Springs Say No To Tolls"   West Virginia - "Manchin proposes making W.Va. 9, others toll highways - Unger says governor 'looking to Eastern Panhandle as an ATM machine'"   Pennsylvania - "State lawmaker calls for audit of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission"   Massachusetts - "Tolls coming on Central Artery?"   Arizona - "The big debate: Toll roads for Arizona?".

    colombia "High" tolls
    Colombian farmers who have had their coca crops destroyed by the Government have retaliated by attacking toll barriers and setting up their own road blocks.

    Tuesday 19 February 2008

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - At home
    It has been revealed that most of the people driving in Cambridge are from - Cambridge - Cambridge Evening News - "City residents 'are causing congestion'".

    wales More calls to follow Scotland
  • South Wales Evening Post - "TAKING ITS TOLL!".

    britain" Humber Toll - "Dear customer .."
    Following last week's announcement that they wanted a toll increase, the bridge board "sent" this - letter to their "customers".

    london Porsche and the £25 toll
    One car maker says that they may take the Mayor to court over his £25 a day toll for the cars that produce the most CO2 - BBC - "Porsche challenges C-charge rise"   Guardian - "Porsche could sue over £25 a day congestion charge"   The Register with comments - "Porsche to challenge London CO2 penalty in court"   The Register with comments - "Porsche to challenge London CO2 penalty in court".
    Some of these reports quote the RAC Foundation as if this establishment body represented drivers and as if it was opposed to the London Toll. Here are some selected quotes from the Foundation website - "The RAC Foundation supports the principal of congestion charging as a means of managing demand on the busiest and most congested roads during times of peak demand"; "The success of the initial London Congestion Charge in reducing congestion and allowing increased public transport to operate more satisfactorily"; "We have publicly acknowledged the success of the CCZ in purely traffic management terms, especially the welcome reduction in traffic and congestion"
    PS The Lib Dem candidate for Mayor gives his views in Guardian Comment - "Limbo-dancing under the charge".

    london Only greens admitted
    Last Thursday we reported the debate where the Mayor and the Tory, Lib Dem and Green Party mayoral candidates tried to outgreen each other. What we didn't realise was that the whole debate had been organised by the greens - This is Local London - "Hockney all red over rivals' green debate".

    britain" chimaera Business view
    The Federation of Small Businesses have made a 2008 Budget Summission to the Chancellor. On road pricing they say -
    "... The FSB remains opposed to road user charging as it will present significant problems for small businesses and impact on economic growth. Most small businesses rely on road transport and are unable to pick and choose when they deliver to clients, therefore road pricing will simply add to the burden of their already high transport costs. Essentially, the basic premise of road pricing, that it encourages people to make fewer non-essential car journeys, does not apply to small businesses as all business journeys are essential to their survival."
    "If road pricing is planned it must be agreed by a local referendum. A full impact assessment and additional research into the effect local road pricing will have on small businesses as well as the general public is essential."
    "The FSB remains firmly opposed to any road pricing scheme, but were they to be implemented, they should be revenue neutral so that the overall cost of motoring does not increase. Also, any revenue raised through road charging schemes should go back into road and public transport improvements, otherwise this will only be regarded as another form of taxation with no tangible benefits."

    Though the FSB oppose road pricing it is surprising that an organisation that covers over 200,000 businesses believes that a tax which would cost many billions to administer could be "revenue neutral" or that any impact or research by the authorities would not be biased.
    The FSB also says that it "continues to support a Lorry Road User Charge". Do the FSB realise that the tax would cost more to administer than would be collected from foreign drivers?
    A rival organisation to the FSB is the Forum for Private Business. They have campaigned strongly against various tolls including the London so called "congestion charge". Today they issued a statement on the proposed Manchster charge (see the Manchester News page).

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Press of Atlantic City - "Van Drew and First District colleagues propose eight government-restructuring bills".

  • Other stories - New York - "Brodsky sows doubt, misinformation at Brooklyn pricing debate"   Pennsylvania - "State considers drive-now, pay-later tollbooth system"   New York - "MTA: Price plan will hardly affect mass transit system"   South Carolina - "Subprime mess may squeeze Parkways"   California - "Toll dispute threatens Doyle Drive makeover"   Florida - "No toll on Indian Street Bridge?"   Texas - "Trans-Texas Corridor debated in East Texas"   New York - "Staten Island, state DOT wants to talk to you about traffic".

    Monday 18 February 2008

    london Buy a truck
    One of the quirks of the London charge zone was that a juggernaut paid the same £8 toll as a small car. The Mayor must have seen that this was unfair, and so as part of the changes announced last week some juggernauts will now pay LESS than the small car - Transport News Network - "FTA Wins Major Euro 5 LCC Discount".

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - "Workers to air views on congestion charge"
  • Cambridge Evening News.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Newsday - "Special interests on Corzine's toll road panel".
    Others - NJ Biz - "Bankers, Politicians Share Concerns about Toll Hikes, Economy" Asbury Park Press - ""Grandfather" current drivers" letter   Home News Tribune - "Toll-hike plan spurs winning alternatives"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Corzine plan is necessary"   Star Ledger - "Developers boost idea of tolls for Rts. 78, 80".

  • One person votes for tolls - The Trucker - "Informal poll: laws needed to ensure fuel taxes only spent on highways".

  • Other stories - Florida - "Martin panel votes against toll idea for Indian Street Bridge"   Louisiana - "U.S. 11 Bridge celebrates 80th birthday"   Pennsylvania - "Conklin calls for audit of Turnpike Commission"   New Hampshire - "Merrimack toll-payers just keep on giving"   Texas- "Toll Road Debate Widens Divide in East Texas"   Florida - "SunPass getting ready to trim its size and slash its price"   DC / Virginia - "Rescue Dulles transit".

    china Chemical Tolls
    One effect of China's reliance on road tolls rather than fuel taxes - Go Kunming - "Chemical spills in Yunnan highlight problems in China's chemical transport".

    india Sophisticated Tolls
    India is another country that relies on tolls. This is despite tolls and similar taxes causing "bottlenecks and delays" and despite an argument that these vehicles should pay more - "All luxury users (those who drive huge cars with limited number of passengers inside), all those old vehicles in bad condition who impose a heavy cost on road maintenance, all those vehicles who guzzle petrol and diesel and pollute far more per passenger kilometer (or per tonne kilometer), all those vehicles who are in unsafe conditions (and are more likely to cause accidents), etc. etc." - Financial Express - "All road users are equal but some are more equal". The answer to all these problems is apparently not to get rid of tolls and rely on fuel taxes, but is more "sophisticated technology".

    Sunday 17 February 2008

    london Five years old
    The London Toll is five and the Mayors' spin doctors are still telling it how it isn't - Wimbledon Guardian - "Congestion charge celebrates fifth anniversary with record numbers on public transport"   Independent - "Londoners may moan - but the world wants to copy it".
    Not everyone is fooled - Hampstead & Highgate Guardian - "Five years on, congestion plan has failed to deliver".
    Just to prove what a mad mad world it is, another report this weekend says that last year's extension of the congestion charge zone has been shortlisted for the Design Museum awards.

    london Little bit More on £25
  • Times - "Ken Livingstone’s war on drivers hots up"   Guardian Comment - "How green is my Berry?"   Times - "I'm sick of Ken and his emissions"   Londra - "A tax by any other name"   Evening Standard - "Car makers could go to court over Mayor's £25 C-charge".

    australia Honeymoon?
    The state government welcomes the announcement of a toll free period on a new road - Herald Sun - "EastLink plans toll-free honeymoon". We would have thought that by now it had been proved that Australians were such good dupes that you would not need a free period to sucker them in - unless of course there is a good free alternative - Daily Telegraph - "Tunnel increase to drive boycott".
    Someone has come from Colombia to sell something - and no it's not the favourite drug of the well heeled - The Age - "Charge for road use, urges parking expert".

    britain" Humber Toll - "CASH PLEDGED FOR BRIDGE TOLLS STUDY"
  • Scunthorpe Telegraph.
    And more reports on plan for a further toll increase - BBC - "Rise in Humber Bridge toll fares"   Scunthorpe Telegraph - "TOLLS RISE IS BRIDGE TOO FAR FOR HAULAGE BOSS"   Grimsby Telegraph - "TOLLS TO RISE BY 20P FOR CARS".

    britain" York Toll - "have your say"
  • York Press - "Have your say on traffic congestion".

    britain" Sheffield Toll - to reduce "carbon footprint"
  • Sheffield Star - "Drivers 'must pay to use Sheffield roads'".

    ireland Irish Con proposal denied
  • Sunday Post - "Dempsey rules out congestion charges".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Save Our Assets NJ - What Will happen to our roads? Blog.
    Sunday - Newsday - "Corzine to give legislators what they want; they may not like it"   Today's Sunbeam - "Budget might silence toll talk".
    Saturday - Newsday - "N.J. gas tax increase eyed as alternative to toll hike"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll hikes costlier than tax increases - All alternatives would be less"   Courier Post - "Broken promises"   Toms River Times - "Toms River Officials Lash Out Against Toll Increase".
    Friday - Asbury Park Press - "Belmar mayor says toll plan is dead, but action is needed"   The Courier - "Corzine’s plan is not an ‘EZ Pass’"   Courier Post - "GOP must do more than criticize toll-hike plan"   Jersey Blogs - "Blog of the Day: SaveOurAssetsNJ".
    Thursday (cont) - Press of Atlantic City - "GOP congressmen oppose toll hikes"   Suburban - "Governor faces boisterous crowd on debt reduction"   Brick Times - "GOVERNOR MET WITH STRONG BACKLASH AT OCEAN COUNTY FORUM"   Politicker - "Kean and Decroce ask governor to release legal opinion on constitutionality of toll plan"   New York Times - "Relying on New Jersey Roads, and Fearing Higher Tolls".

  • Another use for tolls - paying for a soccer stadium - Philadelphia Inquirer - "Dempsey rules out congestion charges".
    On the other hand - Newsday - "Atlantic City baseball team refunding tolls for fans".

  • More on GAO report (see Tuesday) - Land Line - "GAO wants federal transportation policy ‘re-examined’".

  • Other stories -
    Sunday - Arizona - "Toll roads on table again in Arizona"   Kentucky - "Possible makeup of toll authority spurs local concerns"   Arizona - "Strapped for highway funds, Arizona considering tolls".
    Saturday - Washington State - "State House OKs toll financing for roads, bridges"   Washington State - "State tolls could go on and on"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Stadium at odds with vow of DRPA"   Texas - "Residents rally against Trans-Texas Corridor".
    Friday - New York - "Toll hikes? State Comptroller says just say ‘no’"   New York - "M.T.A. exe likes traffic pricing, not free subways"   Pennsylvania - "Effects of Turnpike Privatization".

    china usa China outdoes America - on toll roads
    Report in the Economist on China - "Rushing on by road, rail and air". At one time, China was for environmental reasons to switch from toll roads to fuel taxes, but tolls are the modern opium, and once you are hooked ...

    Thursday 14 February 2008

    britain" Humber Toll - another turn of the screw
    The Humber toll is already the highest in Britain, but they intend to get more - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "HUMBER BRIDGE TOLLS TO RISE".

    britain" chimaera Tolls donation
    The Troll Times gives space for a Tory Party donor to say - "Road users will have to pay for better roads in one way or another. In the long term, the substitution of road charging in place of fuel tax is the answer" - "Time for courage to build for a better future". Roads users already pay for the roads seven times over. Presumably if drivers pay even more then it will keep down the taxes of the rich.

    britain" chimaera More Green tolls
    The "Green Fiscal Commission", an "independently funded think tank" say that cars are "key" to the green tax debate and apparently wants "road pricing" to replace fuel taxes - Climate Change Corp. The commissioners include some of the usual backers of tolls and the ex chairman of Shell.

    london Lib Dems outbid other parties
    The Lib Dem candidate for Mayor suggests a £10 toll for non Londoners who drive cars into London - Greater London that is, not only the 3 percent that is currently within the tolled zone - Evening Standard - "Paddick will charge £10 for driving into London"   Lib Dem Press Release.
    Today the main candidates for London Mayor, plus the Greens, had a public debate where they tried to outgreen each other as to who would hit drivers the most. Perhaps the green prize goes to the Lib Dems who said that they would "remove the congestion charge exemption from the greenest cars to discourage driving".

    london Another report on the pay as you don't go zone
  • Evening Standard - "The 6.5mph C-charge zone".

    europe chimaera "Galileo: Star project or black hole?"
  • BBC.

    britain" New idea for increasing congestion
    It is proposed that most road marking etc are removed. The lack of any indication of who has precedence will force traffic almost to a halt and if the authorities are really lucky may cause total gridlock - Times - "How stripping the streets of traffic lights and signs may be a life saver". Just in case there are still some vehicles moving the authors of the proposal also want "road pricing and congestion charging tolls" introduced - County Surveyors' Society press release.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine tolls - Though the Governor wants to raise $30 billion with bonds in the name of toll payers, it is reported that the state has the lowest gas prices in the Union, no doubt keeping them low pleases all the troll interests from the "greens" to the oil sheiks - Times - "Gasoline in N.J. is nation's cheapest".
    NJ Voices - Paul Mulshine - "Corzine is giving us the business"   Thurman Hart - "How to Lose the Turnpike".
    Other stories - Press of Atlantic City - "Cutting state spending / Just say 'no' - repeatedly"   Newsday - "Amid talk of higher gas tax, fees, GOP questions toll plan"   Asbury Park Press - "State politicians can't be trusted" letter   Asbury Park Press - "A look at the past may help N.J.'s "taxed" future"   Press of Atlantic City - "Lonegan uses toll plan as recruitment tool for group"   Press of Atlantic City - "More on the toll-hike plan" letters   Courier Post - "Gas tax, auto fee increases on table"   The Record - "GOP leaders say toll plan may be unconstitutional"   Express Times - "Republicans: Toll hikes would hurt economy - Congressmen also concerned truckers would start using local roads"
    New York Times - "Relying on New Jersey Roads, and Fearing Higher Tolls"   Atlanticville - "Crowd gives Corzine no E-ZPass"   Hammonton News - "Corzine pitches toll plan to Atlantic Co."   Asbury Park Press - "Toms River council formalizes objection to toll idea"   Asbury Park Press - "Secrecy, tolls a bad mix"
    Courier Post - "Inflation could boost tolls more in plan"   Sentinel - "Governor faces boisterous crowd on debt reduction "   Sentinel - "Governor faces boisterous crowd on debt reduction"   News Transcript - "Crowd does not give governor an E-ZPass"   Interactive Investor - "NJ transportation needs cash"   Asbury Park Press - "Key lawmaker contends toll hikes wrong cure for ailing N.J. finances".

  • "Mode neutral" or how drivers should pay for everyone else's transport - Streetsblog.

  • Other stories - California - "Smile, pay fare? Study to explore video toll system - Cash collection may end on Bay Area bridges"   Ohio - "New support for toll"   Colorado - "Of hybrids and HOV lanes"   Massachusetts - "Greenway giveaway"   New Hampshire - "Federal government should reduce gas tax"   North Carolina - "Holly Springs Council To Officially Oppose Toll Road"   Massachusetts - "Pike users asked to pay for 'City of Boston park' named for Kennedy"   New York - "Kheel Plan’s Powerful Ideas Won’t Fade From Public View"   Colorado - "Snow Is Great. But That Road Plan to Get to It?".

    china "China to extend highway toll exemptions to help disaster relief"
  • China View.

    britain" chimaera "BROWN'S 13 NEW WAYS TO SNOOP EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE"
    The Tories complain about "snooping" including - "Officials will be able to break into the cars of motorists ­sus­pected of evading forthcoming pay-as-you-go road tolls" - Daily Express.

    britain" chimaera Another congestion charge for Durham?
    Durham city had Britain's first con charge (albeit that it only applies to one street), now they want to expand - Journal - "Congestion charges consultation delayed".

    ireland Irish Con proposal
  • Independent - "Drivers may face charges to ease congestion".

    britain" "Britain in motoring boom despite 'Traffic Taliban'"
  • Agence France Presse.

    london Bit More on £25
  • business green - "Congestion charge changes to put brake on electric cars"   Guardian Comment - "What's driving Ken?"   Greenpeace - "New congestion charge kicks out gas guzzlers"   Green bang - "'Ken's carbon tax wrong' says advice man".

    Wednesday 13 February 2008

    london More on £25
  • BBC - "Family cars among 'gas guzzlers'"   Guardian - "£25 congestion charge will hit 30,000 of worst polluting vehicles, says mayor"   Times - "£6,000 a year to drive your Chelsea tractor into town"   Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders press release   FT - "London to penalise gas guzzlers".

  • Boris Johnson, the Tory candidate for Mayor, backs the London Toll Tax, but Angie Bray the Tory leader on the London Assembly has campaigned against the charge, and late yesterday issued this statement - "Ken Livingstone has imposed a carbon tax on Londoners and downgraded his Congestion Charge. Congestion is no better today than when the charge was introduced. Now he’s going to exempt two entire categories of car from paying the charge. How is that supposed to deter driving? At the other end of the scale he tells you that in this cultural revolution of his, he is against Chelsea tractors, luxury saloons and high performance sports cars - that sounds like class war if anything does. What he doesn’t tell you is that the family cars he spoke of today as alternatives, like a Mondeo or Vectra, will also be clobbered by the £25 charge."

    Tuesday 12 February 2008

    london £25
    Announcement from the Mayor about the £25 charge for "gas guzzlers" - Mayor's press release.
    It has also been announced that vehicles in bands A and B will be exempt from the London tolls - official database to search (by fuel type) for cars in each band). There is however a CATCH - vehicles must also meet "the strict Euro 4 air pollution emission standard". This catch may mean some unsuspecting drivers getting whopping fines.
    Stories - BBC - "Gas guzzlers facing £25 C-charge"   Independent - "C-charge rises to £25 for 'gas guzzlers'"   Times - "Ken Livingstone declares war with £25 congestion charge"   Evening Standard - "Go-ahead for £25 C-Charge"   This is Local London - "Ken gives green light to c-charge hike for SUVs"   Daily Mail - "Go-ahead for £25 congestion charge on gas guzzling cars".
    As you are unlikely to see the real facts in most of the papers this was our press release - This move is not based on logic but on the whipping up of prejudices against those who use these particular vehicles. Some drivers now face paying over £6,000 a year if they move within the charge zone. This is a draconian measure when emission producers such as aircraft going to Heathrow pay no taxes on fuel.
    The Mayor has previously admitted that all cars make up less than 11 per cent of the CO2 emissions which he regards as pollution. He has also said that the cars which will pay the new £25 a day tax, are only 8% of the cars that make up the cars travelling within the charge zone. So if ALL these "gas guzzlers" were taken off the road and replaced by cars with lower CO2 emissions, then the amount of CO2 emissions would fall by about 1%.
    But the charge zone even with the western extension is only 3% of London. So the reduction for London as a whole will be about one part in three thousand. And that is emissions, the vast bulk of the CO2 is already in the air, so even if the Mayor was to construct a glass dome to isolate London air from the rest of the planet, the change in CO2 would not be detectable though he says that the £25 toll is part of his plan to "reduce London's CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2025". What will the Mayor's next move to save the planet be?
    australia "The public is being taken for a ride"
    It has been suggested that commuters into Melbourne will either have to change their working hours or face a "congestion" charge - The Age.

    usa london 25 Pounds = 49 Dollars
    With the Bloomberg plan for $8 New York tolls. It is interesting to see what has happened in London. The tolls started at five pounds (ten dollars), then soon went to eight pounds (sixteen dollars), and for some cars will now be twenty five pounds (forty nine dollars) A DAY!!   Streetsblog - "London imposes $50 guzzler fee on SUVs and lux roadsters"   Time - "Taxing the Gas Guzzlers in London"   Bloomberg - "London to Triple Traffic Charge on Polluting Cars".

    scotland britain" wales More on Scotland free
    Items that have appeared in Scottish news media are on our Scotland news page. Other items are - Transport News Network - "End to Scottish Tolls"   Western Mail - "Wales urged to follow Scotland and end tolls".

    canada Right on our side
    It was only a small victory, but for possibly the first time in the world a judge has not sided with the trolls - Globe and Mail - "Trailers not liable for 407 tolls, judge rules".

    britain" "Road Rage: Take the power back"

    usa USA roundup
  • It's official - PPP financed roads are a rip off of drivers - Street Insider - "GAO Report Backs ATA Views on Public-Private Partnerships". U.S. Government Accountability Office - Summary of report   Full report (pdf file).

  • Corzine tolls - A novel idea - Asbury Park Press - "Charge drivers to leave state" letter.. And "shunpikes" - NJ Voices - "Toll-hike solutions parallel history". And "I didn't do it" - Star Ledger - "Corzine plan taking toll on D.C. races".
    More - Courier Post - "Toll highway records must be open to public"   Courier Post - "Inflation could mean even higher tolls under Corzine's plan"   Asbury Park Press - "Lawmakers looking for financial help"   Courier Post - "Republican legislators criticize toll-road plan in Warren County"   Courier Post - "Crowd hears Corzine out on toll-road plan"   The Record - "Corzine could eat his words"   Star Ledger - "Corzine and Republicans hold dueling meetings on tolls"   Trenton Times - "A better highway plan"   NY Times - "Study Bares Transit Woes in New Jersey"   NY Times - "A Hard-Times Road Show on New Jersey Finances"   Star Ledger - "Senator calls for quicker toll hike"   Tom River Times - "GOVERNOR MET WITH STRONG BACKLASH AT TOMS RIVER FORUM".

  • Other stories - Florida - "Motorists Overcharged At Central Fla. Tolls".

    Monday 11 February 2008

    scot Scotland free
    Scotland is now free of tolls as the Act abolishing the last of them came into force at midnight last night - Press Release.

    britain" "Hauliers call for Dartford toll discount"
  • road

    london Traffic slower, but "congestion" down
    More mumbo jumbo from TfL courtesy of the Financial Times. Despite the evidence (which comes from TfL) that traffic in the toll zone is slower than before the charge was introduced, TfL are claiming that "congestion" is down. On this basis even if the traffic was not moving at all, they would claim that congestion was down - "London sees more traffic despite charges".

    usa USA roundup
  • New York Times - "As Toll Dodgers Get Creative, Eyes of E-ZPass Are Watching".

  • Corzine tolls - Newsday - "Gas tax, other alternatives to Corzine toll hike weighed"   NJ Voices - "Let's talk about Corzine's toll road plan".

  • Other stories - Pennsylvania - "$3B debt for roads, transit may cut turnpike lease price"   Texas - "Tollways may or may not be money machine".

    london "London gas guzzler tax decision expected this week"
  • Reuters. The Mayor has the support of the Daily Mirror - "Clear the air", presumably all their hacks ride bikes or are not able to figure out that a "gas guzzler" may be driven less than a smaller car and thus consume less fuel.
    Today's Guardian has various features on the mayoral election, mainly selling Ken but they also have a round up of "The main candidates' policies", i.e. all the candidates that support the London Toll.

    singapore chimaera Drivers views on ERP hikes
    It seems that Singapore drivers agree with Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister, (see 2nd Feb) that ERP does not reduce congestion. They suggest that the authorities "re-look at road designs, from the number of traffic light junctions to the positioning of entry and exit points at expressways, while other suggestions included improving urban city design and moving business headquarters out of the city centre". The only problem is of course that the trolls need to manufacture congestion as an excuse for imposing the tolls - Today online - "CNA survey reveals discontent over ERP".

    london Tory leader wants another tolled Thames crossing
    Lord Hanningfield, the Essex Council leader thinks that the solution to the delays at the tolled Dartford Crossing is another tolled crossing - Transport Briefing - "Councils slam 18-month wait for Thames crossing study". Putting a toll on a crossing substantially reduces its capacity - the delays at Dartford are caused by the tolls.

    india More on the new Delhi-Gurgaon expressway toll
  • Business Standard - "Wait for the final Gurgaon bill!". It seems that the Indians have been so well conditioned to toll roads, that it does not occur to anybody that the problem of the toll queues would go if the roads were financed from fuel taxes.

    newzealand "Tolls almost inevitable if private sector gets tunnel role"
  • New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald - "Twin-tunnel project has some dark implications".

    Sunday 10 February 2008

    usa USA roundup - Thursday to Sunday
  • Corzine Toll - In NJ Voices - the Gov himself - "No easy way out of the deficit" and Paul Mulshine - "Welcome to Wonderland, Governor".
    10th - Star Ledger - "Corzine drops Route 440 from toll plan"   Courier Post - "Toll plan debt cuts will have short life"   Star Ledger - "Corzine finds some sympathy in Hightstown"   Star Ledger - "Governor wades through a state of doubt - In middle of Corzine's Hike the Tolls Tour, a pattern has emerged"   Trenton Times - "Bumpy road for Corzine at Mercer meeting".

    9th - Newsday - "Corzine building support for toll hike plan, but not from public"   Asbury Park Press - "Demonstrators condemn toll-hike proposal at protest organized by talk-radio station"   The Record - "Pigs 'fly,' ridicule toll-hike plan"   Star Ledger - "Hundreds rally against Corzine toll plan"   New York Times - "Tolls Plan Is Dead Unless Revised, Corzine Is Notified by Opponents".

    8th - Courier Post - "Lautenberg separates from Corzine toll plan"   Politicker NJ - "Toll hike plan is a losing scenario"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll hikes another tax" letter   Asbury Park Press - "Freeholders say toll rise would have negative impact on county"   Courier Post - "Adler joins foes of toll road plan"   Star Ledger - "Tide turning against toll hike plan".

    7th - Paul Mulshine on NJ Voices - "Corzine's plan is dead on arrival"   Star Ledger - "Republicans, enviro groups oppose Corzine toll plan"   Politicker NJ - "Rible calls on Governor Corzine to disclose who is supporting pro-toll advocacy group"   Politicker NJ - "GOP chairman calls on Corzine to open up clandestine meeting for public to view"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll road plan to burden traffic on free highways, local roads"   Newsday - "Leading Democrat, all GOP legislators reject Corzine toll plan"   Asbury Park Press - "TAKING A BIG TOLL".

  • Bloomberg a.k.a. New York Toll - WNBC - "Transcript: Congestion Pricing Discussion On 'News Forum'"   Downtown Express - "Downtown pols cool to new traffic pricing plan"   Queens Chronicle - "Queens Pols Reject Congestion Toll"   Queens Courier - "Congestion plan could die in council committee".

  • In the last 25 years the population of Texas has grown by over 50 per cent, and there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of Mexicans to keep the population explosion going indefinitely. The answer to the problem is of course toll roads - Herald Tribune (Florida)- "Proposal in Texas for a Public-Private Toll Road System Raises an Outcry".
    Road builders are also keen to have more toll roads - Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)- "Status quo no solution".
    As of course are the academics, and if it's privately owned so much the better - North County Times (Ca.) - "Taxes, tolls necessary to pay for roads".

  • An extreme way of avoiding tolls - Register Herald (West Virginia)- "Does death entitle mourners to free ride?".

  • On Wednesday a bill was introduced in Washington state with the aim of "cutting greenhouse gases by increasing road tolls and parking costs". The bill follows recommendations of Gov. Chris Gregoire's Climate Advisory team. It appears that to live in the state you must have a degree in upside down logic.

  • Mary and others continue their fight for tolls and against fuel taxes - Land Line - "Secretary Peters defends her position on tolling, privatization".

  • Other stories - 10th - Pennsylvania - "Some tolls are better than others"   West Virginia - "Fewer Trucks Rolling On Turnpike".

    9th - Kentucky - "Electronic tracking at bridges means no booths"   "N.H. man charged with evading tolls in Maine".

    8th - Maryland - "Having a hard time with E-ZPass"   Pennsylvania - "Group formalizes efforts to oppose I-80 tolls"   DC / Virginia - "Toll for Massaponax to 14th St. Bridge Could be $50"   Texas - "New cameras catch drivers who aren't paying the toll"   California - "Bay Bridge toll sneaks beware: New cameras on way"   Virginia - "Obenshains I-81 Toll Bill Passes Senate"   Virginia - "HOT lanes to average 45 mph"   Virginia - "HOT lanes to average 45 mph".

    7th - Rhode Island - "House panel hears bridge toll objections"   Washington State - "Lantz and Seaquist Weigh in on "Oke" Bridge".

    finland More on Finnish Toll proposals
  • Newsroom Finland - "Finnish transport minister applies brakes on congestion charge zeal"   Newsroom Finland - "Finnish transport ministry takes charge of congestion charge work"   Newsroom Finland - "Finnish gov't working group finds SE road pricing would prove dear".

    mexico Mexico selling off roads
  • Reuters - "Mexico launches road tender in western states".

    london Another anti toll candidate
  • This is Local London - "Hockney throws hat into ring".

    Saturday 9 February 2008

    britain" Trojan Horse
    Hauliers have been told by the Tories that if they form the next Government they will bring the Lorry Road User Charging plan back from the dead - - "Tories to resurrect Lorry Road User Charge". As the hauliers know this scheme was dropped becuase if it was in effect only paid by foreign hauliers then the Government would lose money. What the Tories are likely to do is to also inflict road tolls on British drivers and hauliers as a way of raking in money.

    britain" chimaera National Lib Dems back tolls
    Not news really as the Lib Dems at a national level seem to have been even more enthusiastic then the Government about road tolls, but the new Leader has confirmed this - Cambridge News - "Lib Dem leader in road toll warning". What is odd, or perhaps not, is that at the same time the Lib Dems are trying to give the impression that they are opposed to tolls.

    britain" Liverpool Toll - Call for more
    On Monday it was agreed that the toll to use the Mersey Tunnels would be increased. Now there is a call for more tolls in the city - Daily Post - "Fresh call for road charging in Liverpool".

    britain" Leeds Toll - academics call for one
  • - Yorkshire Evening Post - "Leeds' car nightmare".

    britain" Geordie Toll for "People in motion"
  • News Guardian - "Possible congestion charge to be introduced in region"   Sunderland Echo - "Call for tax breaks for 'green' cars".

    britain" York Toll proposal from Greens
  • - The Press - "Politicians back Press transport campaign". A good laugh in this story is the bit that quotes "The RAC Foundation, which aims to protect the interests of motorists". This is not a members organisation, does not look after the interests of motorists, and is one of the biggest advocates of road tolls.

    london "Battle lines drawn"
    Ken Livingstone says that he will be relected as Mayor because of his road toll schemes - Guardian Comment.

    britain" Some relief for a few
    On Thursday the Government suggested that "local residents" will get a discount on Dartford tolls - News Shopper - "Dartford residents win crossing discount"   BBC - "Locals given river toll discount"   Government press release   NAAT response in March 2007 to Dartford tolls consultation. It is good news that some drivers will pay less, but the tolls should have been removed for all people and businesses in 2003, when the debt was paid off. The tolls cause traffic queues which results in increased vehicle emissions and more accidents. Those who are just over the border from wherever the discount boundary is drawn will feel particularly incensed if the Government also goes ahead with the suggested 50 per cent toll increase.
    Some of the reports mention Howard Stoate, a local Labour MP, with his "Fair Toll for Dartford campaign" warmly welcoming this news. This same MP issued a press release in May 2006 which was headed "TIME FOR THE TOLLS TO GO " and called for them to be scrapped for all users.
    The Freight Transport Asociation press release says that "For industry and motorists the tolls are costly and inconvenient and the process of slowing traffic to collect a toll is very bad for air quality. On many occasions the collection of the toll adds to congestion problems...The continuing collection of tolls at Dartford is outdated, unnecessary and unfair and should be stopped for all.".

    britain" "Kent vignette may pay for third Thames crossing"
  • Getting foreign lorries to pay something is a good idea, though there are better ways than this - for a start you could make sure that they bought our heavily taxed fuel. But tolling any new road or crossing is highway robbery when the Government is already raking in £50 billion a year from drivers and commerical vehicles.

    Wednesday 6 February 2008

    norway A tax too far?
    Norwegian drivers must be the most masochistic in the world (linked to all those cold dark days?)- not only do they have high fuel taxes, road tolls, and "congestion" charges, they now may face a parking tax - Aftenposten - "Tax on parking wins support".

    london "Power play in bid to become mayor"
  • News Shopper.

    netherlands One for the gullible
  • Dutch News - "'Anonymous road pricing is possible'".

    britain" "Forget MPs, what about our privacy? They have a nerve complaining about bugging. Think of the surveillance society they've brought in"
    Comment piece about the complaints that an MP was bugged while talking to a constituent who was detained as a terrorist suspect - Times

    britain" A repeal not far enough
    Various old Acts are to be repealed. The oldest of which is reported as being the London to Harwich Roads Act 1695 under which the county justices could turn the road into a turnpike and collect tolls. As far as we know all the other Turnpike Acts were repealed in the 1870s, so it is a puzzle how this one was missed. In any case would it not be better to scrap all the hated toll legislation which is still enforced.

    britain" Geordie toll
    Transport bosses are discussing road tolls for Newcastle and Sunderland - The Journal - "Pay as you drive fury"

    britain" Mike Rutherford's column in Auto Express
  • "Is the Government trying to hide the rapidly increasing cost of motoring?". (No prizes for the answer.)

    wales "We need help to flourish again"
  • Letter in Welsh paper.

    australia "The tolling system has been designed for the benefit of the motorists who regularly use toll roads"
    Quote is from the Roads Minister - Manning River Times - "Beware the sting in the toll ".

    usa USA roundup
  • Tagging - Fosters (NH) - "E-ZPass files, on-scene evidence scrutinized in Dodds trial".

  • The Governor of Pennsylvania has said that he is not backing down on his plan to either sell the Turnpike or toll some free roads. The reaction of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association is to suggest fuel taxes as the most equitable way of funding roads and bridges - PR News wire.

  • Corzine Toll - Asbury Park Press - "Toll corporation too costly, unfair" letter   Courier Post - "Toll road plan stirs emotions"   Courier Post - "Tell Trenton no on toll-hike plan"   NJ Voices - "Plastic bags, Irish taxes and Governor Corzine's toll plan"   Bloomberg - "Corzine Plan Raises $3 Billion a Year, Kolluri Says (Update2)".

  • Other stories - Virginia - "HOT lanes construction to begin soon"   Illinois - "Cintra Chicago Skyway Jan traffic down 11.48 pct yr-on-yr".

    Tuesday 5 February 2008

    britain" One view of the RHA

    canada "the gate won’t raise the next time the motorist is in a toll lane, tying up traffic"
    This is Canada but it could be anywhere, the same old excuses for keeping tolls, the same indifference to drivers, and the same readiness to spend more money on tolls collection - Chronicle Herald Metro - "Bridge tokens to disappear May 1".

    china Really cool!
    There have been some more suspensions of road tolls in China so that traffic can move more easily - Thai News Agency - "Transport resumes in frozen south China".

    britain" Liverpool Toll increase
    Yesterday councillors agreed to increase tunnel tolls from April. It was a six to four vote, with eight abstentions. For details see - Mersey Tunnels Users Association

    wales Welsh "toll"
    The shadow toll on the A55 in North Wales is not suprisingly costing more than conventional funding - Western Mail - "Roadworks ahead - and they could cost double what you’re expecting". The Institution of Civil Engineers say it doesn't matter about the cost as the road "would not have been built without private funding, because of the Treasury’s strict limits on the amount the public sector could borrow". It used to be the case that private finance was "off balance sheet", but the rules are supposed to have been tightened up to prevent thi - or does ICE know something that we don't?

    london "LEZ to Hit Truckers Hard"
  • Transport News Network.

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine Toll - His $196 bilion charge on road users - Politicker.
    On NJ Voices - Paul Mulshine - "Corzine plan can't succeed without GOP". Also on NJ Voices - John Bury - "Corzine's faulty reasoning on toll hikes".
    Other stories - Asbury Park Press - "Corzine gets an earful"   Asbury Park Press - "Gov's effort to win converts seems to fall on defiant ears"   Asbury Park Press - "Barnegat Committee opposes toll hike"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll hikes would hit truckers, consumers hard"   Jersey Journal - "Toll hikes? Bayonne wants share"   Press of Atlantic City - "Mainland towms in Cape May County at odds over toll-hike plan"   Bond Buyer - "Corzine call for toll PBC" (PBC=Public Benefit Corporation)   Newsday - "Corzine unveils draft legislation for toll plan".

  • News Press (Florida) - "Pennies, sticky coins buy trouble on Lee toll bridges".

  • Other stories - Kentucky - "Bridges: Jeff asks officials to aid Ky."   Texas - "Who altered check to toll road operator?"   Kentucky - "Leaders of 8664 say their plNew York - "Forget the toll hikes"   an could mean tolls"   "Missouri bill would add tolls to I-70"   Kentucky - "Will the bridges ever be built?"   Kentucky - "Leaders of 8664 say their plan could mean tolls"   Kentucky - "Leaders of 8664 say their plan could mean tolls".

    Monday 4 February 2008

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine Toll - You can take your choice with NJBiz headlines - "Business Leaders Back Toll Hikes With Some Strings Attached"   "Business Group Opposes Toll Road Plan".
    Other reports - Newsday - "Republicans to rally businesses against Corzine plan"   Courier - "Citizens group: Corzine toll plan doesn't add up"   Press of Forget the toll hikesbring business to Route 9".

  • Times Herald Record (New York) - "Driving dip: Trend or blip? Americans driving less, analysts say".

  • Other stories - New York - "Congestion Pricing Doesn’t Make Sense Without Permit Parking"   Texas - "Paving Paradise"   New York - "New Plan Combats Traffic".

    london LEZ starts today
  • This latest London toll scheme will hit British registered vehicles hard while having a negligible effect on emission levels. Vehicle emissions have already fallen due to tighter manufacturing regulations and higher fuel prices encouraging fuel economy. The road to further improvement is through more regulations, not through a toll scheme. Initially this scheme will not apply to cars, but is it prophetic that one BBC story is headlined - "Motorists enter the emission zone"?   Reuters - "London launches low emission zone"   Press Relaese (as usual with the Mayor's press release if you read it you do not need to read many of the papers)   BBC - "Polluting lorries unwelcome in London"   BBC - "Low emission zone baffles driver"   BBC - "UK's first emissions zone begins"   BBC - "Motorists enter the emission zone"   BBC - "Q&A: London Low Emission Zone"   Independent - "Livingstone clamps down on lorry pollution"  Guardian - "London launches £200-a-day 'dirty lorry' entry charge".
    PS Warnings from RHA and FPB - Retail Bulletin - "London's emissions-related charges could backfire on small firms, warns FPB".
    PPS There are the usual incomprehensible figures being quoted. It is said that in a six month survey 120,000 lorries entered London. Is that every day or the whole six months? If it is the latter then that is only 800 a day which is not much for a city of eight million. Of the 120,000 it is said that 10% would have to pay the new toll, again if it is for the whole six months then that is only 80 vehicles a day that would be affected. The scheme is estimated to gross £2 to 3 million a year from the tolls. At £200 a go that works out at 80 vehicles a day. Does that mean that none are deterred? Or if the 12,000 is an average for every day then it means that 99.5% are deterred (or don't pay). There is a similar mystery with fine income which is said to gross only one million pounds a year. As the fine is £1,000 that works out at only 3 vehicles a day being fined and paying. Yet on the BBC it is also said that "the mayor hopes the LEZ will reduce emissions overall by 16% by 2012". Have the spin docotors spun too far?

    britain" Ban on bigger engines
    An ex Oil boss wants cars that do less than 35 mph banned for "environmental reasons" - Telegraph - "Ban gas-guzzling cars, says ex-Shell boss". It is surprising that an ex chairman of Royal Dutch Shell apparently believes in global warming. But it is not surprising that a ban on bigger cars is proposed, as that is the illogical idea which comes from the believers. They do not recognise that we already have a major incentive to lower fuel use because of high fuel prices.

    earth Bears saved!!
    Today's Christopher Booker column in the Telegraph has an interesting piece on - - "...Arctic ice isn't vanishing after all".

    britain" Liverpool Toll - vote on increase
  • BBC - "Increase in tunnel toll discussed"   Daily Post - "Business on the attack over Mersey Tunnel price rise plan".

    britain" A new Liverpool Toll
  • Daily Post - "Latest plans for new Mersey Gateway unveiled"   Daily Post - "Comment: Bridging the gap to brighter future".

    Sunday 3 February 2008

    london The Times on the London Toll - two views
    The Times usually backs the trolls but it now reveals to its readers some of the truths about the London Toll scheme - "Stop, thief - it’s Ken’s CO2 tax robbery - Plans to raise the London congestion charge to £25 a day for some cars will hit the less well-off". This is very welcome, even though it may be connected with the Mayoral elections.
    Jeremy Clarkson who writes for the Times and who a few years ago suggested that the London charge should be £50, in his Times piece today referred to "all the good work done by Uncle Ken’s congestion charge".

    usa USA roundup
  • Corzine Toll - Asbury Park Press - "Sunday Letters to the Press"   Asbury Park Press - "Tell lawmakers what you think"   Asbury Park Press - "Help counter the toll hike plan P.R. blitz"   Home News Tribune - "Group forming to support Corzine agenda"   Asbury Park Press - "Toll hike foe preps crowd to grill governor"   Asbury Park Press - "Corzine fails to sway officials"   Press of Atlantic City - "Gov. Corzine heckled at Ocean forum"   Press of Atlantic City - "Wave of protest meets Corzine in Ocean County"   New York Times - "As Corzine Lines Up Allies for Toll Plan, Republicans Push Back".

  • Another report on I-80 toll study - Standard Speaker (Pa.) - "PSU prof: I-80 toll would harm local roads".

  • Other stories - New York - "Audit raises questions"   New York - "OUR VIEW: Canal Corp., Thruway Authority should split"   Kentucky - "Bridges aren't free"   California - "Our position: The Orange mayor is the only elected official needed on toll-road board"   California - "Mark Leno and Charles McGlashan: A better Doyle Drive approach"   California - "A Doyle Drive suggestion"   California - "Doyle Drive plan must start with regional fairness"   Washington State - "Share the Burden on Highway Tolls and Fares" letter   Virginia - "Port takes place as economic pillar"   Pennsylvania - "Getting Around: Turnpike Commission borrowing millions to help fund PennDOT".

    india Toll "etiquette"
    A new Indian toll road has more traffic than forecast resulting in queues of up to 45 minutes to pay the tolls - Live Mint - "Delhi-Gurgaon expressway traffic stuck in a numbers jam".
    PSIt appears from later reports that the contract included the usual "funneling" clauses, i.e. the authorities have to keep alternative routes congested so that the toll operator can be sure of their profit. So the Indian drivers may have to grin and bear it.

    israel Israeli toll road delay
    Problems with electronic variable toll system - Haaretz - Green Computing - "Shapir in violation of express lane financing agreement".

    britain" Mike Rutherford's column in Auto Express
  • "New hi-tech kit could leave motorists powerless to appeal against parking tickets".

    Saturday 2 February 2008

    singapore chimaera More on ERP hikes
    We reported on Thursday the further measures (more road tolls and less vehicle licences) that Singapore is taking due to the failure of its long established "Electronic Road Pricing" system to reduce vehicle miles and congestion. Today there is a report of a speech by Lee Kuan Yew (the former Prime Minister who has the non portfolio job of "Minister Mentor"). He is scepticial whether the latest toll increases will reduce traffic congestion and says - ""Having paid so much for the car, you might as well pay the ERP and use it. Now we know that the person who bought the car will use it, no matter the price." Perhaps he has been reading what we say in our Singapore section!!!   Today online - "MM on traffic congestion, the A team".

    usa USA roundup
  • New York Toll - Gothamist - Bloomberg Accepts Commission's Modified Congestion Pricing Plan"   Logistics Management - "New York congestion pricing plan is revised".

  • Another of those stories about saving the planet by reducing the amount of fuel used by cars - as you probably guessed they are not suggesting higher fuel taxes - they want road tolls - North County Times (Cal) - "SANDAG ponders climate change".

  • Ohio toll bridge proposal in Kentucky - Kentucky Post - "Legislators Examine Tolls To Boost Building"   Courier Journal - "Toll proposal is new troll in Ohio River Bridges plan"   Courier Journal - "'Megaprojects will require tolls'"   News Tribune - "Local officials weigh in on Kentucky's bridge study"   Wave3 - "Study looks at using tolls to pay for new Ohio River bridges"   Kentucky Post - "Ohio River Bridges Project Study Released".

  • Other stories - New Jersey - "Corzine plan has cost $7 million already - Lawyers, consultants paid for early studies"   New York - "OUR VIEW: Canal Corp., Thruway Authority should split".

    kenya Tolls in third world
    Generally we don't report on third world tolls. In some cases it is difficult to tell whether the tolls are road tolls or some other form of extortion. It is also a grey area where the tolls may be collected by criminals and rebels or by police or even offical agencies encouraged by the likes of the World Bank. The main thing that they have in common is that the tolls will mainly go into the pockets of those collecting the tolls. Here is a story today from Kenya - Florida Herald Tribune - "Marauding thieves collecting road 'tolls' add to Kenya's woes".

    india An Indian view
  • Daily Pioneer - "Why must we pay toll?".

    britain" Another report on Cyclops and Sharing
  • Daily Mail - "Camera that can catch lone drivers in car-sharing lanes".

    britain" More on Liverpool Toll Increase
  • Liverpool Echo - "Talks demand on 10p tunnels hike"   Daily Post - "Mersey Tunnel toll rise to pay for new Merseytravel office".

    britain" Green dreams
    The islanders of Eigg have got a wonderful new electricity system mainly powered by renewables. Good luck to them, but with a subsidy of nearly £20,000 per head, only greens could afford it - BBC - "Islanders get 24-hour green power"   BBC - "Electric dreams".

    Friday 1 February 2008

    london Boris supports Ken's London Toll while traders suffer
  • Wimbledon Guardian - "Boris wants to be 'a very green mayor'"   East London Advertiser - "Petticoat Lane 'struggling' to keep going".

    usa USA roundup
  • On Tuesday we reported that the Trolls in the shape of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission were to fight the proposal from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to mainly use large increases in the gas tax to fund roads. It seems that the tolls proposal is in the form of a mileage tax - Land Line - "Senators raise privacy issues about federal mileage tax proposal". The gainers from this troll proposal would include suppliers of the monitoring equipment, the firms that run the scam, agencies that will make use of the monitoring data, drivers who waste fuel, and suppliers (domestic and foreign) of fuel. We say "it seems" as there is no other news report on this and nothing on the Financing Commission's website.

  • New York Toll - The Con panel is recommending an $8 toll for entering Manhattan south of 60th Street - Details of Recommendations on Streetsblog site (pdf file)
    Stories - Downtown Express - "How about free subways to go with that traffic pricing?"   NY Times - "Ganging Up on Gridlock"   NY1 - "Congestion Pricing Panel Endorses $8 Fee For Driving Into Manhattan"   Public Radio - "Congestion Pricing Plan Approved, Critics Remain" (radio links on right)   Staten Island Advance - "Congestion pricing closer to reality"   Bloomberg - "Manhattan Drivers Should Pay Fees South of 60th St., Panel Says"   NY Daily News - "Congest plan panel agrees with weekday toll for drivers below 60th St."   Newsday - "State panel recommends version of congestion plan"   am NY - "Commission issuing plan to charge drivers entering Manhattan"   NY Sun - "The Reverse Commuter Tax"   Metro - "Traffic fee picks up speed in new plan"   NY Times - "State Commission Approves a Plan for Congestion Pricing"   Newsday - "State panel recommends version of Manhattan congestion plan"   Gothamist - "Commission Recommends Modified Congestion Pricing Plan; Boundary Would Start at 60th Street"   Gothamist - "Commission Recommends Modified Congestion Pricing Plan; Boundary Would Start at 60th Street".

  • Corzine tolls - Star Ledger - "Corzine says it was a good week for toll plan"   Asbury Park Press - "No alternatives to toll hike? Here are a few, for starters"   Asbury Park Press - "Don't take Corzine toll hike plan sitting down"   Home News Tribune - "Toll-hike plan worries S. Bruns."   Daily Record - "A strange alliance - Business group backs Corzine toll proposal"   Star Ledger - "Toll plan fuels Chamber's train of thought"   Trenton Times - "Highway robbery"   Sentinel - "Toll increases detrimental to the Brunswick area"   NJ Voices - "Readers Suggest Alternatives to Corzine Plan".

  • More toll pushing and opposition to gas tax - Bond Buyer - "Transportation Solutions".

  • Randy Boss, a veteran anti toll campaigner, unsuccessfully tried to stop the new Tacoma Narrows toll bridge being named after a local politician - News Tribune - "‘Bob Oke Bridge’ wins a vote from State Senate Transportation Committee". Only politicians could believe that naming a toll bridge after the late senator was a way of honouring him.

  • Other stories - Louisiana - "Business, investments key to loop financing"   Rhode Island - "Legislator wants to limit use of Pell Bridge tolls"   Pennsylvania - "Hanna: Some ‘positive’ news on I-80 front"   Pennsylvania - "Lawmakers weigh in on I-80"   Kentucky - "Bridge funding debate takes toll"   Colorado - "Panel seeking to unclog I-70 thinking big"   Kentucky - "Bridge toll study to be released today"   Virginia - "Toll for neglect is $2.85 per day"   California - "$8 toll for GG Bridge?"   Pennsylvania - "Turnpike revisited - Senator proposes multiple-lease plan"   Pennsylvania - Turnpike revisited Senator proposes multiple-lease plan".

    london More on "Low Emission Zone"
  • Reuters - "London hosts world's largest low emission zone"   Bloombergs - "London to Impose $394-a-Day Charge on the Most Polluting Trucks".

    britain" Liverpool Toll Increase
  • Cars go up to £1.40 but some categories of vans and lorries will see their toll more than doubled - Wirral Globe - "Tunnel tolls rising again"   Liverpool Echo - "Taking its toll on city"   Liverpool Echo - "Tunnel toll set to hit £1.40". It is probably not a coincidence that the authority responsible for the tolls increase recently spent £70 million on a trams scheme that did not go ahead.

    britain" Tyne Toll Petition
  • Shields Gazette - "PM urged to scrap Tunnel tolls" (includes link to petition).

    finland Helsinki Toll in the Sky
  • Helsingin Sanomat - "Use of positioning satellites would provide most precise way of monitoring congestion charges".

    britain" chimaera More on East Midlands Toll

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