Economist complains about toll protests in Nigeria
Daily Independent - "Enough of ‘no toll, no fencing’ agitations!".
Trolls takeover Speed cameras
Daily Telegraph - "MacBank launches $300m bid for speed cameras through buying Redflex".
Some facts on China's money machine
Global Times - "Highways to hell" (3 pages).
Warning to try and find a lifejacket as the waves claim the ship
AFP - "Planet could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts say".
The quote from the WWF is laughable, as they are one of the orginisations that have diverted people's attention away from this problem. They also actively campaigned to keep and spread the use of tolls in Scotland.
Another test of how stupid Britons are
BBC - "Plan to bring UK clocks forward" Mail - "Dawn of double summertime as Coalition consider putting clocks forwards by TWO HOURS".
This plan would move Britain from GMT to Central European Time. Berlin is 14.3 degrees east of Birmingham, and a time zone is 15.0 degrees wide. So if this "extra" daylight is so wonderful, then why have the Germans not put their clocks on to Belarus time? This also shows that the politicians would make good companions for Canute, as if the clocks go forward another hour, what will stop people from changing the "time" that they get out of bed and and businesses from changing their opening hours?
Sunday 20 February 2011
Sundry stories - Penn. - "PhillyDeals: Builders extolling private highway projects" "Q&A on Maryland's Intercounty Connector" video.
Another toll protest
ANA-MPA - "Protest action at toll posts on Sunday".
According to their website the movement's goals are (translated from Greek) -
Abolish concessions of national roads to private companies.
To remove all tolls, private or state
Continue all the works of extension or improvement of all national networks operated by a public institution of social control.
We reject the logic of the card, the electronic toll or use side roads.
Toll tales from Canada
Opposing views on tolls - Province - "Tolls are needed" Province - "Forget tolls! We pay enough for bridges with gas taxes".
Bit more on the new tolls
IoL - "Toll fees: ANC heavyweights clash".
Global Times - "Road Rage". "Rage" is easily stifled in a state that would not hesitate to use force to support the trolls.
Saturday 19 February 2011
Bit more on attempt to bring back tolls to Connecticut - The Day - "Lawmakers debate state highway tolls" News Times - "Area officials object to toll proposal".
It is easy to say that you are aginst tolls and to vote against them if you think that your vote will have no effect. But when it really counts, then you may be told by the troll masters that your finger must have slipped - Asbury Park Press - "GOP lawmaker's vote switch may be important".
Sundry stories - Washington State - "520 bridge tolls closer to final passage" W Virginia - "Parkways Authority delays U.S. 35 toll meeting".
Jakarta councillors still want a Con
Jakarta Post - "Council to move quickly on ERP bylaw".
Toll tales from Canada
Bit more on latest tolls pushing - Ctv - "UBC professor proposes tolls on all bridges, tunnels" video.
Handy Shipping Guide - "Higher Road Tolls Will Hit Freight Haulage Companies".
AA - "Fuel Price Report February 2011" Telegraph - "British petrol should fall in price as it has in Europe, AA says".
What are the chances that the Government will introduce a "fuel price regulator" when they believe that prices have peaked and are likely to fall?
Friday 18 February 2011
Cleveland.com - "Gov. John Kasich says some toll workers make $66,000 a year to do the work machines could do: PolitiFact Ohio".
One of the mysteries of life is why drivers so meekly queue up to hand money over to the highway robbery system that is known as "tolls".
Update on attempt to bring back tolls to Connecticut - Hartford Courant - "Proposals for tolls in Conn. receive mixed reviews" Hartford Courant - "Transportation Committee Takes Up Question Of Tolls".
The New Jersey Senate have voted to reduce toll increase, but Governor will probably ignore them - Daily Record - "NJ Senate OKs toll increase rollback" NJ.com - "N.J. Democrats approve bill reducing toll hike despite Christie objections" NJ.com - "Live from the state Senate: Toll trouble for Christie".
No tolls, if you are military - and dead - State Column - "‘Deceased Veterans Dignity Act’ clears first Senate hurdle".
Sundry stories - W Virginia - "U.S. 35 decision delayed again" Rhode Island - "Newport County, East Bay Legislators Oppose Idea of Sakonnet Bridge Tolls" Florida - "Modernization takes a toll on Florida’s Turnpike crew" comments Florida - "Questions and answers about the Florida conversion to electronic toll roads" Maryland / D.C. - "High tolls on ICC might limit benefits for trucking industry" Washington State - "WSDOT: Good to Go! toll site has bugs" Alaska - "A bridge too far? Legislators should think twice before throwing more money at the Knik Arm Crossing".
Four views of a Con
As you might guess, the newspaper gives three views in favour and only one against the Con - Sydney Morning Herald - "Should motorists pay for the congestion they cause?".
The chief science man says that the end is nigh due to too much CO2 created by USA - BBC - "John Holdren criticises US Congress over climate".
Instead of mumbo-jumbo about the effects of the increase in CO2, the President and his advisers should worry about the increase in population. The 2010 Census shows the US population as 308,745,538, which is 9.7 per cent higher than the 2000 Census count. At that growth rate per decade, in 2100 the population will be 710 million.
It's definite - man made global warming causes snow - BBC - "Science In Action" 9 minutes into audio.
Toll tales from Canada
More on lossmaking bridge - Langley Advance (B.C.) - "Taxpayers stuck with bridge bills" Langley Advance - "Numbers stuck".
The Province (B.C.) - "Tolls unfair to already heavily taxed drivers".
More on latest tolls pushing - The Province (B.C.) - "Academic pitches tolls for Metro Vancouver bridges and tunnels" comments.
Canadians are either honest or scared - BCLocal - "Few trying to evade tolls on Golden Ears".
More views on New Brunswuck toll proposal - Journal Pioneer - "NB Tolls would hurt Island economy: Chamber".
More reaction to the new tolls
News24 - "Strike action over e-tolls on the cards" comments Mail & Guardian - "For whom the tolls erode" EyeWitness News - "Cosatu to fight Gauteng tolls ’tooth and nail’" Times Live - "Public being tricked into accepting high toll costs: iLIVE" Mail & Guardian editorial - "Tolls the only way to go".
Eurotrolls give Ken a bravery award for Con
Parliament (EU) - "EU commissioner says railways have 'crucial' role in tackling climate change".
Con wins 6th place
"Congestion charging" is number 6 in the list of "innovations that have contributed the least to Britain in the last 10 years" - Telegraph - "Reality TV and Facebook – the worst innovations of last decade". The Con would probably have come higher in the vote, but so far most people in Britain have not experienced it.
Increased Government subsidy for wind farm scam - BBC - "Windfarms to bring communities average £20,000 a year".
Thursday 17 February 2011
Prisoners to help chase the 150,000 Texas tolls a day that automated systems can't handle - Fox - "Inmates Could Be Part of NTTA Toll Billing" video NBC - "NTTA Mulling Prisoners as Contractors". The oddest thing about this is that Texans don't seem to care that 1984 has arrived.
Update on possible cancellation of New Jersey toll increase - NJ.com / AP - "N.J. Senate to decide whether to cancel scheduled Parkway, Turnpike toll increase".
Please sir, no tolls - Providence Journal (R.I.) - "Lawmakers seek to ban tolls on Sakonnet Bridge".
Sundry stories - Ohio River Bridges - "‘Devil is in the delay’" "Alaska $150M Knik bridge proposal moves forward" "Cash for Knik bridge gets cool reaction from Alaska legislators" Pa. - "Bumps ahead for roads proposal" Georgia - "Fulton Lawmaker Wants 400 Toll Gone" Pa. / NJ - "Another Bridge Toll Hike Likely In 2011" video Washington State - "State launches Good To Go! passes and account sign-ups for SR 520 tolling".
Maryland - "County gears up to oppose toll hikes" Maryland - "Crews work nonstop in Md. to finish first section of Intercounty Connector toll road" Ohio River Bridges - "Obama budget plan includes cash for new bridge" Alaska - "Knik Arm Crossing: A bridge too far?" Virginia - "Isle of Wight Supervisors to discuss tolls and cameras" Virginia - "HOT lanes and the Arlington lawsuit, part 2: Slow down" NY - "Sen. Chuck Schumer defends Staten Island bridge toll discounts".
Tolls up, traffic up
Malaya Business Insight - "SCTEX sees traffic rise despite higher tolls".
Lower toll limits
Reuters - "Japan's new highway toll caps may boost fuel demand" Reuters - "Japan to cap weekday highway tolls at $24".
As the ruling party promised to remove tolls, any charge is too high, and even with the limits, these will still be some of the highest tolls in the world. And if there is concern about fuel consumption, then the best answer is to increase the fuel tax which is low compared with Europe. Though given the usual coalition of corrupt and naive "green" interests there is lttle chance that tolls will go - Asahi - "EDITORIAL: Expressway toll cuts".
More reaction to the new South African tolls
In one way the reaction is too soon, as the tollng has not started. On the other hand it is probably too late to stop the corruption of tolling - IOL - "‘YOU take a taxi, Sbu’" Financial Mail - "Freeways not free" Sowetan - "Call for debate on new tolling" IoL - "Sanral boss defends toll fees" Business Day - "Road tolls far cheaper than feared — Sanral".
Times Live - "Cosatu joins toll road furore - Union says system will hammer poor workers" comments Times Live - "AfriForum calls for no VAT on toll fees" comments IoL - ""Don't like tolls? Get on the bus"" comments IoL - "Toll costs reveal two faces of ANC" IT Web - "E-tolling splits leadership".
Times Live - "Make up your mind on foreign investment: Sanral chief" comments Sowetan - "New toll system now hangs in the balance" comments Times Live - "ANC to force rethink of road toll fees" comments Business Report - "Toll road system will raise costs of doing business in Gauteng" comments.
Irish drivers don't care about roads or taxes or tolls
HGV - "AA issues election message". The survey of 22,000 drivers which presumably backs this claim is not on the Irish AA's website
Toll tales from Canada
CBC - "Taxpayers off hook for toll shortfall" comments BCLocal - "Tolls far short of costs as drivers shun Golden Ears Bridge" NEWS1130 - "Golden Ears Bridge revenue down" comments Vancouver Sun - "Tolled bridge to cost taxpayers even more".
This was originally a PPP scam, but the "backers" backed out - a wise move.
Differing views on the possibility that plan for a new tolled bridge may be abandoned - BCLocal - "50 years with no tolls? So be it" letters.
Tolls pushing from "Think City" - Straight (B.C.) - "TransLink should toll all bridges, including Lions Gate and Alex Fraser crossings".
Two people against tolling - Times & Transcript (New Brunswick) - "Forum".
Gerrymandering bill passed
The bill designed to ensure a perpetual two party Coalition including the Lib Dems is passed - BBC - "Referendum on voting system goes ahead after Lords vote".
In the 1975 referendum, 67% of voters were in favour of staying in the Common Market, so perhaps they can be persuaded to vote for an end to meaningful voting.
People Power, or a victory for dog walkers?
The Government does a rare u-turn following a petition, though it did not get as many signatures as Peter Robert's petition against road pricing - BBC - "Cameron 'to abandon plans to change forest ownership'".
Old Lady banking on more inflation to boost economy
BBC - "Inflation will rise sharply, says Mervyn King" BofE - Inflation report BofE - Dear letters.
Cheap money mainly benefits spivs and speculators. The right way to boost an economy is to have efficient, effective and open systems.
PS The Old Lady has published this different view from one MPC member, amongst other things he reminds people that the value of the pound has fallen by a quarter since summer 2007 - BofE - "The UK’s inflation problem: selling England by the pound?" pdf.
More of whatever happens let's blame AGW - "Climate change raises flood risk, researchers say".
The real increase in flood risk is not from any change in rain, it is because there are a lot more people and more built on land in flood plains and other areas where rivers have overflowed for hundreds of years.
The Sun is waking up from it's four year sleep - BBC - "Sun unleashes huge solar flare towards Earth" Weather Action - "New big solar storms .......".
Wednesday 16 February 2011
Keep on breeding
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution says that because of "objections on social and ethical grounds" there should be no attempt made to limit Britain's population growth, instead people should be moved to areas of Britain that are not yet crowded - BBC - "Green advisors target consumption in swansong report" RCEP - "Demographic Change and the Environment" large pdf.
The World Bank warns that "Global food prices are rising to dangerous level", but does not mention population growth - WB - "Food Price Hike Drives 44 Million People into Poverty".
Tuesday 15 February 2011
Sundry stories - Florida - "Part of Turnpike to remove cash tolls" DC / Virginia - "HOT lanes and the Arlington lawsuit, part 1: Myth vs. reality" Alaska - "Supporters seek $150 million for the Knik Arm bridge" Florida - "Brevard officials worry about toll increases".
More reaction to the new South African tolls (though they have not yet started)
East Coast Radio - "New tolls will cause inflation" Business Day - "Gauteng tolls may force vehicles to shrink" Business Day - "Paying tolls by post" Business Day - "Can tolls come down?".
EyeWitness News - "NCF questions foreign stake in Gauteng toll scheme" IoL - "R4bn toll contract fury" Mail & Guardian - "Unhappiness at Gauteng tolling system grows" comments Times Live - "New toll fees will punish workers"lot of comments IT Web - "E-tolling hinders SA's competitive-edge".
Business Day - "New tolling system ‘to put strain on businesses’" City Press - "Dummy’s guide to paying for road use" Times Live - "Highway tolls set to violate us yet again".
Government may sell the toll roads
Ekathimerini - "Greece’s plan for privatization".
Eurotrolls agree that tolls can be racked up
Euro Politics - "Council adopts common position on Eurovignette" Food Production Daily - "Food industry criticises ‘polluter pays’ road transport charges".
Toll tales from Canada
CBC - "Harbour Bridge nixes refunds for transponders". Perhaps drivers would prefer tolls to stay!
On New Brunswick toll proposal - Times & Transcript - "Toll idea is not solution".
NZ Herald - "Toll dodgers get off lightly" NZ Herald - "Editorial: Losing money to make money".
It's no suprise that the organisation which is supposed to represent drivers, is angry about those who don't pay, rather than about the toll racket - which it "conditionally" supports.
Inflation still going up
BBC - "UK inflation rate rises to 4% in January" ONS - "Consumer price indices January 2011" pdf.
The Governor must be well on his way to a Dukedom by now.
Saturday 12 February 2011
GISS have published their January figures - "GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index" (see bottom of page).
According to their figures, January was 0.46 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951 - 1980 average, and nearly one degree warmer than a 100 years before. Taking the hot year 1998 as a starting point, it is the joint 9th warmest January out of the last 14 years.
Friday 11 February 2011
The "Reason" Foundation selling tolls, though tracking and other disadvantges are mentioned - Ars technica - "We know where you've been: privacy, congestion tracking, and the future".
Trolls taken to Court - Courthouse News Service - "Unconstitutional Stops on Florida Highways".
Sundry stories - Texas - "TxDot removing tolls from road -- just for the weekend" Washington State - "State explains 520 tolling plan to City Council" NH / Mass. - "New, old toll debate continues".
Government seeks to increase punishment for protestors (update)
Ekathimerini - "PM blames SYRIZA for 'I won't pay' protests" ANA - "PM: 'Lawlessness not the answer'" Ekathimerini - "Tougher measures for toll, transport protestors unveiled".
Cost of Humber tolls
Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Constituents respond in their dozens over weekly cost of Humber Bridge tolls".
New tolls may increase accidents on other roads
Portugal News Online - "Death toll?".
Tales from Canada
Tolls police catch a few other criminals by accident - Langley Advance - "Pot traffickers caught on bridge".
Gathering of mass transit advocates in Montreal told to push for tolls - Montreal Gazette - "Mileage tax better than gas tax to curb car use, experts say".
Bit more on the tolls pushing in New Brunswick - NB Business Journal - "Highway tolls unwanted tax, say industries" Amherst Daily - "N.B. tolls could kill economy".
Bit more on toll scheme that may be dropped - BCLocal - "Editorial — Tolls part of the calculation" Record - "New Westminster's mayor prefers new Pattullo Bridge".
Old Lady sticks to high inflation plan
BBC - "UK interest rates held at 0.5% by Bank of England" BofE - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and the Size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £200 Billion".
Thursday 10 February 2011
Sundry stories - NY - "Pols head off congestion fee" "Think tank charges Maine Turnpike Authority with excessive spending" Maine - "Bill seeks piece of turnpike revenue pie" Ohio - "No benefit to turnpike privatization".
Trolls make money
Sydney Morning Herald - "Tolls turn traffic to cash" Herald-Sun - "Tolls boost lifts dividend".
Few from Canada
More on the tolls pushing in New Brunswick - Telegraph-Journal - "Tories will consider tolls" Journal Pioneer - "Throw highway toll idea into reverse".
Man from World Bank joins in Toronto toll touting - Star - "’Burbs bigger greenhouse gas emitters than inner city".
More on toll scheme that may be dropped - Vancouver Sun - "TransLink reconsiders Pattullo Bridge plan" BCLocal - "Bond defends rethink of need for new Pattullo bridge" Province - "Pattullo Bridge rehabilitation would mean no toll".
The DfT have just published two lots of updated statistics.
The first lot is - "Road traffic and speeds statistics" (note that part way down the page there is a link to compressed Excel files of all the data). There are 1,001 tables available, which amongst other things show that the number of miles travelled by car peaked in 2007, with a slight downward trend continuing into 2010.
The other lot is - "Road congestion statistics" (again note that part way down the page there is a link to compressed Excel files of all the data for the "inter-urban roads" and "local authority managed A roads"). The recent trend seems to be a fall in miles travelled per person, an increase in speed, and as a result, a fall in journey times.
AGW receives further backing from Britain's next head of state - BBC - "Prince Charles: Climate sceptics gamble with the future". A look at the Prince's website, shows that he mentions "climate change" nearly 400 times, which is ten times more than his mentions of "population growth".
Meanwhile the Secretary of State for Transport shows where the Government's priorities are on roads - DfT - "Government cuts red tape to allow Royal Wedding street parties to go ahead".
The Met Office have issued their - Climate summary for Jan 2011. They say that the "Mean temperatures for the month as a whole were somewhat below the 1971–2000 average". Their anomaly map shows the western half of the UK as one degree Celsius colder than this average, and the eastern half as average.
We have not mentioned sunspots for a while, but some AGW sceptics think that solar activity (of which sunspots are not the best indicator, but the only measure that we have which goes back in time for any significant length) is in a complex way related to Earth's climate / weather patterns. One problem with making long term comparisons is that the official sunspot numbers seem to have been exaggerated in recent years. This site uses a method which it is claimed is more in line with historical observations, and thus gives a better long term comparison - Landscheidt - "Layman's Sunspot Count".
Wednesday 9 February 2011
Some comment on the proposal to toll Conecticut's borders - Stamford Advocate - "From Rocky Hill, The Toll Man cometh" Greenwich Time - "Border tolls? No, thank you".
Plan to create jobs in South Carolina, by tolling North Carolina - Herald - "Study: N.C. toll road would add jobs in S.C." Charlotte Observer - "State: Gaston toll road would funnel jobs to S.C.".
Is anyone selling the Con to NY, apart from a few cyclists? Queens Gazette - "Pols Denounce Traffic Pricing Plan" Gothamist - "Bloomberg Won't Fight For Congestion Pricing This Time" Streetsblog - "Bloomberg: It’s Up to Albany to Revive Congestion Pricing".
Trolls create jobs - for dunning drivers - WREX - "Illinois Tollway brings jobs to Rockford, Galesburg".
Sundry stories - Maryland / DC - "First stretch of Intercounty Connector toll road in Maryland to open Feb. 22" Washington State - "Senate, House submit bills to enact 520 tolls" comments N.C. - "Toll plaza for planned N.C. bridge would be outside of town" California - "Happy Valentine's: SBX lowers some tolls on Feb. 14" N.J. - "The Democrats on tolls: Seven years' bad luck for drivers".
Toll scheme may be dropped
News1130 - "Plans to tear down Pattullo on hold. TransLink is looking at renovations instead" comments BCLocal - "Spectre of tolls may quash new Pattullo".
More on Liverpool tolls increase
Wirral Globe - "From the Globe's message boards: Tunnel tolls hike backlash" Wirral News - "Drivers urged to protest against Mersey tunnel toll increase" Wirral News - "Disabled concessions reviewed" Wirral News - "Politicians call decision to increase tunnel tolls from April “a hammer blow to Wirral”".
More on toll protest
Reuters - "Greek road operators want toll dodgers punished" UPI - "Protest means no tolls for Greek drivers" ANA-MPA - "'I won't pay' movement raises the bar throughout Greece" Ekathimerini - "Protesters occupy toll stations".
Bumper bundle of reports on the new South African tolls (though they have not yet started)
It is odd that people only now seem to realise that tolling is a very expensive way to raise income for roads, and is often corrupt - Times Live - "Gauteng tolls will raise commodity prices: SACP" News24 - "Slow progress" Sowetan - "'Greed drives road tolls'" iol - "e-tolling for other regions eventually".
Fin24 - "e-tolling for other regions eventually" lot of comments Business Day - "Snags to toll system" Business Day - "The state: Sanral tolls for thee" Business Day - "Minister promises further discussion on new Gauteng tolls" New Age - "Further engagement on tolling" New Age - "Editorial: A question of road tolls raises ire".
Politics Web - "New road tolls will hit workers hard - COSATU Gauteng" Politics Web - "New road tolls will hit workers hard - COSATU Gauteng" Times Live - "Gauteng tolling system too complex: DA" lot of comments
Business Day - "Discounts offered on Gauteng tolls".
An alternative to taxes, though it would affect the poorer drivers almost as badly - Business Day - "Policing can thin traffic".
Reaction to tolls pushing in New Brunswick
Telegraph-Journal - "Alward not sold on need for tolls" comments and from a lover of tolls - Chronicle-Herald - "Hefty bridge toll increases would drive folks onto buses".
New Polish tolls
Warsaw Business Journal - "Preliminary tolls revealed for Poland's highways".
The car toll of 0.20 zlotys a kilometre is about 7 pence or 11 US cents a mile. This may not sound much but is about the same as a fuel tax of nearly three pounds or four dollars a gallon.
Another complaint about Malaysian tolls
The Star - "Most taxing tolls on intra-urban highways".
Trolls colour blind
Berita Jakarta - "Vehicle Restriction Based on Color Deemed Ineffective".
More tolls in "democratic" Russia
Itar-TASS - "Road agency to hold contest for operator of part of Don highway".
Hard way to avoid tolls
Herald-Sun - "Geelong woman escapes $41,000 worth of traffic fines".
Bit more on Helsinki Con
YLE - "Helsinki Congestion Charge Faces Opposition".
One investor's perspective on population growth
Asia Times - "Nile lesson for the world".
More selling of AGW on the Beeb - "Arctic canary looking sicker than ever".
Beeb backs another Carbon money maker - "Palm oil deal aims to save forests and carbon".
Tuesday 8 February 2011
Waste? Or another case of Three Wise Monkeys?
BBC - "M25 scheme 'may have wasted £1bn'" Daily Mail - "Botched plan to widen M25 'could cost the taxpayer an extra £1billion'" Public Accounts Commitee - "M25 Private Finance Contract".
MPs seem to have the knack of missing the obvious. The M25 widening cost so much because of the PFI process, which is a scam invented by the Tories and then copied by Labour on a massive scale. It almost inevitably means that projects take years longer to reach the stage where work begins and the projects cost far more than with a traditional contract. ICAS - "Financial Black Holes: Accounting for Privately Financed Roads in the UK" pdf.
Widening a motorway is certainly more difficult and expensive than using "hard shoulder running", but in the long run both may be needed.
The stories quote the Roads Minister as saying "This government is driven by the need to get value for money for taxpayers so I welcome this report. It is another example of Labour costing taxpayers dearly. I am determined to learn the lessons of the report and we will act on its recommendations." In reality the Government have already said that they are going down the wasteful PFI route with the plans for tolled bridges near Liverpool.
The Daily Mail quote the boss of the RAC Foundation, saying - "Next time fuel duty rises drivers will know why - to meet Government costs which shouldn't have been incurred in the first place.". He should know that one billion pounds is only what the Government takes from drivers each and every week. It is nonsense to suggest that wasting money on PFI is an excuse for extracting more money from drivers.
Monday 7 February 2011
Nobel prize winning economist says that high food prices are due to global warming - NY Times - "Droughts, Floods and Food".
For writing about food prices without mentioning population growth, he must be after another Nobel prize!
Saturday 5 February 2011
New Jersey's trolls still want a 50 per cent toll hike, even though the scheme it was to finance was scrapped - Daily Record - "Adviser to Christie: Rollback of toll hikes a bad idea".
A novel idea - Hartford Courant (Connecticut) - "Think Outside The Toll Booth".
Gimme, Gimme, that's what I want - Star (Toronto) - "San Francisco agency eager to adopt road tolls".
Pushing for "novel financing" to boost the Federal "Highways" Trust Fund, though it is also used to subsidise mass-transit and cycling - DC Streetsblog - "AASHTO Suggests Some Tools for Getting Out of the Transpo Funding Mess" "The Forum On Funding And Financing Solutions For Surface Transportation In The Coming Decade Conference Report" pdf.
Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Border tolling, road projects, to get attention from state lawmakers" California - "Bill aims to crack down on toll evasion loophole" video W Virginia - "US 35 Saga: W.Va. DOH says $40M needed to complete project; Hall, Facemyer say tolls are not the answer" "Suit filed over toll discount for R.I. residents on Pell Bridge" N.J. - "The Democrats on tolls: Seven years' bad luck for drivers".
Dave Hill peddling a tale that drivers don't care about being Conned
Guardian - "Congestion charge change doesn't impress London's motorists much".
Bit more on cheeky bid to buy Humber tolls
Hull Daily Mail - "Bridge board boss: buyout plan is up to the Government".
Bit more on Liverpool tolls increase
Wirral Globe - "Drivers urged to join demonstration against tunnel toll hike".
More on the toll rates for the Gauteng "Freeway"
IoL - "Outrage at toll road hikes".
Sydney Morning Herald - "Labor's long and winding road toll tease".
Another complaint about Malaysian tolls
The Star - "Taken for a ride for way too long".
Don't panic, here's a blindfold
On the 18th January the Independent had this - "Dominic Lawson: The population timebomb is a myth". It quoted the director of the UN's Population Division saying - "We still don't understand why fertility has gone down so fast in so many societies, so many cultures and religions. It's just mind-boggling...".
On the 3rd February the BBC had a story which has appeared almost nowhere else - "UN 'concerned' by world population growth trends". It quotes the same Director as saying ""Even countries with intermediate fertility need to reduce it to replacement level or below if they wish to avert continuous population increases to unsustainable levels.".
The "World Demographics Trend" report that is referred to by the BBC is not on the Population Division's website or anywhere else on the web. An old version can be found. It said that at current fertility rates 40 years from now the population will have increased by 5 billion to 12 billion. The report however assumes that this won't happen and that the population will "only" have increased by 2 billion.
BBC - "Climate mass migration fears 'unfounded'" International Institute for Environment and Development - "Climate change: governments should support migration, not fear it".
It seems that the increasing world population is not a problem, and we should not be concerned about the people who want to move to Britain. As the IIED said in 2009 - "the real issue is not the growth in the number of people but the growth in the number of consumers and their consumption levels" - "Study shatters myth that population growth is a major driver of climate change".
Friday 4 February 2011
City Watch (California) - "Now Some Good News: Motorists Rejecting Toll Roads".
Sightline(Washington State) - "Not So HOT?".
Two cents worth from Paul Mulshine - Star Ledger (N.J.) - "An enormous toll hike? Do the math".
Legal action against State border tolls - Providence Journal (Rhode Island) - "Class-action lawsuit calls Pell Bridge tolls discriminatory".
According to the Charleston Daily Mail, the sky wil really fall in if tolls are removed, and there won't be anybody to clear up the snow - "Editorial: Eliminating tolls".
Odd that this "editorial" bears the name of Associated Press, and also odd that they have never heard of fuel and other taxes.
Sundry stories - W Virginia - "Turnpike debate: Lawmakers target tolls — again" California - "Free way" Maine - "Our Opinion: It’s past time for Turnpike to join austerity club" Florida - "Tolls not enough to pay for Wekiva Parkway" video Maryland - "Md. scales back expectations for magnitude of toll increases" Virginia - "How HOT lanes network will work" comments.
The new toll rates announced
Eyewitness News - "What the N1 highway is going to cost motorists in tolls".
The toll of 66 SA cents a kilometre is about ten pence or 14 US cents a mile. The total length of the N1 is 1,200 miles, so if this is eventually all tolled, it could be an expensive journey!
Call for a stop to 407 Toll rises
York Region - "Di Biase calls for moratorium".
Best laugh from this story come from the trolls - "Toll money has gone to invest in technology that helps ensure billing is accurate as well as energy-saving light systems on the roads, where licence pictures are taken.".
The phantom debt again
BBC - "London embassies 'owe £50m in congestion charge fines'" Evening Standard - "Embassies owe £50m C-charge fines as US tops list of those 'insulting every Londoner'".
The embassies don't pay because they say that the Con is a tax. If TfL really believe that it isn't then why don't they go to court?
RAC Foundation support for a bigger Con in London
Guardian - "After the WEZ: congestion and resignation".
Minister does not like Con
Helsinki Times - "Finnish transport minister flatly rejects congestion charge".
Ministers have different views on toll protest
ANA - "No-pay movement" Ekathimerini - "Minister says he understands 'Won't pay' protest".
Tolls pushing in New Brunswick
CBC - "Higgs open to N.B. toll highways" comments.
Liverpool tolls increase is passed
Liverpool Echo - "Politicians call decision to increase tunnel tolls from April “a hammer blow to Wirral”" Click Liverpool - "Mersey Tunnel tolls up 10p from April" Wirral Globe - "Tunnel toll rise is a 'hammer blow' for Wirral says council leader" Wirral News - "Mersey Tunnel tolls to rise by 10p from April".
More on opposition to a new crossing
BBC - "Concerns over River Thames crossing between Kent and Essex" Dartford Shopper (27 Jan) - "Gravesham and Thurrock council's leaders fight proposals for Thames crossing".
More hot air - BBC - "Amazon drought 'severe' in 2010, raising warming fears" Telegraph - "Amazon rainforest 'could start contributing to global warming after droughts'" Independent - "Catastrophic drought in the Amazon" Guardian - "Mass tree deaths prompt fears of Amazon 'climate tipping point'".
How many people will be fooled into believing that floods in Australia, snowstorms in the US, and drought on the Amazon are all caused by an almost undetectable change in temperature?
And if the news media told their readers that the population of Brazil had quadrupled since 1950 (53 million to 203 million), might they wonder how much of the forest has been cut down because of that?
Thursday 3 February 2011
BBC - "Humber Bridge: private bid to buy debt off government" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Radical plans unveiled to buy the Humber Bridge and slash tolls" Scunthorpe Telegraph - "How proposal to buy the Humber Bridge came about" Yorkshire Post - "Businessman unveils £100m scheme to lighten Humber Bridge debts millstone" Hull Daily Mail - "Businessman's radical £100m plan to buy Humber Bridge and slash tolls".
More on proposed Liverpool tolls increase
BBC - "Mersey Tunnel toll rise 'bad for Merseyside'" Liverpool Echo - "Proposed Mersey tunnels tolls increase branded ‘ludicrous’ by CBI" Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Tunnel toll rise called ludicrous by Confederation of British Industry" Liverpool Daily Post - "Time to make amends for tolls betrayal".
More on Greek toll rebellion
Ekathimerini- "Campaign of resistance forces government to act".
Public transport advocates worried that there will be less buses
BBC - "'Save buses' campaign launched to fight council cuts".
Wednesday 2 February 2011
On the 14th April there is to be a conference on - "Sustainable Transport Systems - Influencing Travel Behaviour". The "keynote address" will be from Norman Baker, a Transport Minister, and the subjects covered include toll systems. One of the main sponsors is the CTC - "the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation". According to their website they aim to change their status to be 100% charitable. If a group that championed motorists, such as the ABD, tried to do the same, they would stand no chance.
Wall Street Journal asks if drivers are willing to pay more - "American Idle: On the Road" "Would You Pay to Reduce Your Commute?" comments.
AOL - "Electronic Toll on Golden Gate Bridge Can Cost Tourists Hundreds"
Sundry stories - "DRPA defends spending $1.7M on lobbying firms" W Virginia - "The state should finish U.S. 35 without tolls" W Virginia - "Lawmakers trying to ensure end of tolls on turnpike" "Bill proposes changes to who controls Maine Turnpike" Washington State - "Tolling on I-405? Idea returns in Olympia" Virginia - "Portriots Crossing: Now do you like it?".
Lorry toll scheme to hit the road again
Telegraph - "Lorry drivers face £9-a-day UK road charge" Daily Mail - "Foreign lorry drivers face road charges of £9 a day under radical new plans" comments.
Most people would welcome a scheme that ensured foreign lorries paid a fair charge for using Britain's roads. The simplest would be a way of making sure that they bought their fuel here rather than arriving with full fuel tanks and leaving with empty ones. But that and any other scheme would be subject to EU rules. Extra toll charges to British operators could probably be offset by reduced VED on British lorries without breaking the rules, but that means that the net take from the scheme might be less than nothing. It would be simpler just to cut the VED as it is exorbitant even without tolls, or even better we could leave the EU!
There is also a real danger that if a toll scheme for all lorries is introduced, it won't be long before the Government widens it to cover cars.
Bit more on proposed Liverpool tolls increase
Liverpool Echo - "We must not deter visitors" Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Tunnel toll rise vote too close to call".
Update on the life sentence case
Epoch Times - "State Robbery in China Is Reaching a Dead End".
Blowing hot again
Yesterday we reported that the Helsinki Con proposal had data protection problems, but the trolls are still pushing - Helsinki Times - "Report paves way for Helsinki region congestion charge".
Bit more on Malaysian tolls
The Star - "Highway toll rates unlikely to go up".
M6 Toll increase
M6 tolls are to go up from 1st March by about 6 per cent - cars and motorbikes by 30 pence and other categories by 60 pence - M6Toll company - "M6toll Announces New Toll Schedule" 28 Jan Express & Star - "Hauliers hit out over new rise on M6 Toll" 29 Jan.
As we say with each toll increase, the drivers who use the toll have a low price elasticity so toll rises don't reduce traffic by much, and thus the toll rises will reduce the massive losses, though it is not likely that the road will ever make a profit.
Weather Action - "Comments from Piers" 21 Jan You Tube - "Piers Corbyns report on December & Januarys weather" 29 Jan.
So far the January and February weather in Britain and Europe has not been as cold as Piers Corbyn predicted due to a "mistake", but the weather in USA and Oz seems to be as he predicted.
Tuesday 1 February 2011
Sending you down the wrong road
DfT - "New powers to help councils redraw the map".
The risk with this is that local authorities will make changes which direct all traffic onto the same routes and thus causes more congesion.
LA Times - "Recession slows use of Orange County's toll roads".
The picture of the almost empty toll lanes illustrates that traffic lanes rserved for any particular type of traffic are a waste of space. It also illustrates how weak drivers are, as they don't do anything to get rid of this stupidity.
Sundry stories - Wyoming - "I-80 tolls run over" Florida - "$1.8B price tag could block Wekiva Parkway project" Maine - "Lavish Turnpike spending is taking toll -- on my patience" W Virginia - "Face the reality of tolls on U.S. 35" New Jersey / NY - "For sale: naming rights for Goethals Bridge" California - "Officials push for higher tolls during rush hours on San Mateo, Dumbarton bridges".
Handy Shipping Guide - "Haulage Contractors Say Freight Blighted By Tunnel And Bridge Increases".
More on proposed Liverpool tolls increase
Liverpool Wirral Globe - "Wirral Council leader blasts Mersey Tunnel toll rise as 'knee-jerk'" Wirral Globe - "Wirral Euro MP calls for tunnel tolls to be scrapped".
Liverpool Echo - "10p Mersey tunnel toll price hike planned" Liverpool Daily Post editorial - "Tunnels rise takes toll on motorists" Click Liverpool - "Mersey Tunnel tolls hike "would damage Liverpool region" - say campaingers".
Annual Swiss "tolls" due
Geneva Lunch - "Mandatory annual highway pass due today 1 February".
The charge of 40 Swiss francs (42 US dollars or 26 GB pounds) seems hardly worth collecting, and is just a dodge to get money from the significant number of foreign drivers.
There were reports two weeks ago that the Helsinki Con proposal had been ressurected, but there are now data protection problems - Helsinki Times - "Finnish ombudsman rejects satellite-based congestion charge -Papers".
The story says that the data protection ombudsman thinks that there will be ways of implementing a con scheme without knowing "where and when people used their cars". About the only way that we know of approximating the effect of a con charge without knowing this, would be fuel taxes.
More on the impending tolls
Sowetan Live - "Motorists bite the bullet as road tolls loom" comments.
Bit more on suggestion that some Malaysian tolls would go
The Star - "No tears from no toll hike".
Decision due on bust tunnel
Sydney Morning Herald - "Clem7 operators have two weeks until D-day".
Straits Times - "Three new ERP gantries from Feb 21".