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Saturday 31 July 2010

usa USA Roundup
  • New private troll bridge to be built - Philly - "Tolls coming to one of last free Delaware River bridges"   Trenton Times - "A bridge far too costly -- so states go a-courting for private partners"   Philly - "Rendell proposes tolls to rebuild Scudder Falls bridge" comments.

  • More on proposed toll bridge from Oregon to Washington State - Oregonian - "Independent Columbia River Crossing panel says new Interstate 5 bridge will need tolls, backbone"   Colombia River Crossing official report.

  • A few of the many stories on the latest official claims that corruption and profligacy at the DRPA will be stopped, though judging by the comments not many people believe this - Philly - "Gov. Rendell accepts 'lion's share of blame' for DRPA failures" comments   Bloomberg - "Christie, Rendell to Audit Delaware River Authority After Perk Complaints" - "DiCicco calls for freeze in toll hikes for area bridges until Delaware River Port Authority is audited"   Press of Atlantic City - "Delaware River Port Authority / Time for reform".

  • EZ toll speed limit goes back down - Seacoast Online - "New, reduced speed limit in effect at tolls".

  • Sundry stories - Georgia - "Toll lanes on road to reality"   California - "Congestion pricing plan headed to board this fall".

    britain" Possible increase in Humber tolls
  • Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge toll could rise to £3: Proposal blasted by businesses" comments   Scunthorpe Telegraph - "Humber Bridge Board consider hiking tolls by 11 per cent" POLL.
    The ABD have set up a poll on the proposal to use a tagging system for payment of tolls - (poll is part way down on the right).

    japan No tolls go slow, but not yet abandoned
  • Daily Yomiuri - "Plan to ax expwy tolls hits major pothole"   Nikkei - "Toll-Free Highways May Be Postponed A Year: Maehara".

    hongkong Hong Kong tolls increase
  • HK Gov - "Western Harbour Tunnel tolls to rise".

    wales More sound and fury signifying nothing
  • South Wales Argus - "Taxpayers foot £18 million Severn Bridge bill"   Western Mail - "Public funds have paid for £18m Severn Bridge repairs".
    This complaint is another indication that Welsh Assembly members either don't know anything about highway finances or that they don't care about the users of the Severn bridge. The UK Government is not only taking a fortune every day from drivers, it is also getting as VAT nearly a sixth of the bridge tolls. If this £18 million had been kept as bridge costs, then it would have meant that the day when the tolls should be free would move even further away.

    indonesia Jakarta pushing harder for a Con
  • Berita Jakarta - "City Urges Transportation Ministry to Soon Issue ERP-Related Regulations".

    london Congestion will be of Olympian size
  • Evening Standard - "Councils seek to limit VIP lanes for 2012 Games".

    britain" Bit more on possible changes at Dartford
  • Bexley Times - "MP supports fight to get Toll tunnel barrier lifted during rush hour congestion times".

    scotland Trolls come out to play
  • The Scottish Government has issued - "Report of Scotland's Independent Budget Review Panel" inc links to reports, produced by the body set up to advise on savings. The report recommends among other measures - "that the Scottish Government should consider the feasibility of adopting road user charging as a means to both better managing the use of existing transport networks and financing improvements to those networks."
    The chair of the group has also said that - "You might be able to make some of it (the deficit) up if you pull it back on other free services, for example, by reintroducing bridge tolls." - Telegraph "Keeping free personal care will mean mass redundancies, warns budget review chief".
    The CBI and the "Scottish Futures Trust" (a Quango) seem to be the ones who are pushing for tolls. Reintroducing all the four bridge tolls at their former level would raise the almost invisible amount of about 30 million pounds against the amount of nearly two billion pounds that the Scottish Government will have to save in 2011. Either the panel were ignorant of this or they are looking at the loot that can be gained from the widespread use of tolling.

    earth AGW
  • On Wednesday the NOAA issued this report - "State of the Climate in 2009". The Met Office released this - "Unmistakable signs of a warming world". But despite the overwhelming evidence that it is getting hotter, there was not much reporting of it - Independent (Thursday) - "A clear picture of accelerated warming that shows no sign of levelling off".
    Could it be that there are still people who believe that it is not getting hotter?
    PS Looking at is quite entertaining. The first thing that hits you about the NOAA report is that it is more like advertising than science. Amongst the puzzles is why based on their graphs was there almost no rise in temperature between 1930 and 1980?

    Thursday 29 July 2010

    newzealand Tamest drivers in the world?
  • According to the Government, 92 per cent of drivers support tolling of a new road - Bay of Plenty Times - "Local motorists face new $2 toll".

    panama Mañana
  • Drivers could be waiting a long time for this promise to be met - Newsroom Panama - "Panama’s president promises toll free corridors".

    india Truckers say that tolls are too high
  • Deccan Chronicle - "Truckers want toll panel, on strike from August 1".

    ireland Bit more on the new toll push
  • Westmeath Examiner - "Tolls proposal is ‘nonsense’ - Burke".

    earth AGW
  • Another end of the World story - BBC - "Plankton decline across oceans as waters warm".
    This seems to be the usual mumbo jumbo, that does not really prove what is happening, never mind why. In any case the main problem is that increasing numbers of people makes it almost inevitable that there will be overfishing and thus dwindling numbers of new fish.

  • A couple of sceptical stories - Canada Free Press - "Muir Russell Findings No Solace for U.S. EPA"   Dakota Voice - "Liberal Environmentalist Pans Global Warming".

    Wednesday 28 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Some of the many reports on the latest DRPA relevations - Courier -Post - "DRPA official quits in wake of E-ZPass revelation"   Examiner - "Port Authorigate: DiCicco calls for investigation"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "The bandwagon gets crowded in calls for DRPA reform" video and comments   NBC - "DRPA Director Resigns After Abusing Free Tolls"   Philly - "DRPA security chief resigns" comments   Courier-Post - "DRPA official resigns after revelation about E-ZPass abuse" comments   Fox - "DRPA Official Caught With E-ZPass Quits" video.

    britain" Bit more on Judgement of Solomon
  • Scunthorpe Telegraph - "We should not have to choose between road upgrades and axing of tolls" another POLL.

    malaysia singapore Toll reduction
  • Asia One - "Lower toll charges at second link".
    It seems that they want to attract traffic from the congested alternative crossing, though if they wanted to reduce congestion, it would have been better to remove all the tolls.

    nigeria Not popular
  • Vanguard - "Unending controversy over tolls on Lekki-Epe Expressway".

    britain" Old Lady confirms that Bank will encourage inflation
  • BBC - "Bank of England governor hints rates will stay low"   BofE - "Treasury Committee Opening Statement: Wednesday 28 July 2010: Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England" pdf.

    britain" More Government waste
  • DfT - "Green light to ultra low carbon car consumer incentive".
    If the DfT is "green" enough to fall for the idea of giving five thousand pounds to people who buy an "ultra-low carbon ca", then what else will they fall for? Or are they assuming that even with the handout, only a few drivers will buy them?.

    britain" Interesting transport site
  • This site has some interesting analysis of transport issues, albeit that it is not from a driver's viewpoint - Transport Policy.

    Tuesday 27 July 2010

    usa britain" America builds them cheaper
  • A new Mississippi bridge linking Arkansas and Mississippi - Ashley County Ledger - "Ceremony Marks Dedication of New Bridge over the Mississippi"   Wikipedia - "Greenville Bridge".
    This story highlights the usual pattern. Toll free bridges in America are built at about a quarter of the price that would apply in Britain. Why?

    gibraltar spain Spain wants a border toll at Gibraltar
  • Gibraltar Chronicle - "Sanchez Insists On ‘congestion Charge’ For Cars Entering Gib".

    usa USA Roundup
  • More toll pushing and a suggestion that gas tax will be scrapped from the DOT Secretary and other trolls - Trucking Straight Talk - "LaHood suggests more tolling as way to help bridge funding gap"   Infrastructurist - "Should We Scrap the Gas Tax and Simply Have More Tolls?".

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Delaware River Port Authority chairman may end free tolls, rides for managers"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA faces more calls to reform"   Illinois - "Kane nearer to approving Longmeadow toll bridge"   Denver - "E-470 aims to be "kinder, gentler" with overdue payments"   California - "Congestion pricing goes up for discussion".

    ireland Bit more on the new toll push by the mischievous Leprechauns, and a new toll opens
  • Irish Examiner - "Dempsey: No tolls on national routes 'anytime soon'"   Limerick Leader - "'Historic' day as new Limerick Tunnel is opened by Taoiseach".

    london Revival of Greenwich Con proposal
  • Docklands 24 - "Environmental group proposes Greenwich congestion charge".

    nigeria Pay or else
  • Daily Independent - "Check Police Extortion On College Road".

    indonesia Bit more on possible Jakarta Con
  • Jakarta Globe - "‘Restrictions Needed’ to Relieve Traffic".

    britain" Transport Committee invite submissions
  • Parliament - "New inquiry - Transport and the economy".
    The invite refers to the December 2006 report from Sir Rod Eddington. Perhaps he found Britain a bit chilly as no sooner had he signed his name on the recommendations for road pricing, than he jetted back home to Australia.

    britain" Sec of State has job interview
  • Yesterday the Transport Committee interviewed Philip Hammond - the Secretary of State for Transport. We have not listened to what was said, but it's all here - BBC.

    britain" Bit more on possible changes at Dartford
  • Kent Online - "Dartford Crossing barriers could be lifted in worst congestion".

    britain" "End of the war on motorists? You'll be lucky"
  • Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail.

    usa britain" America two, Britain nil
  • BBC - "BP to set aside $32.2bn to cover oil spill costs"   CNN - "BP ousts CEO Hayward and taps an American"   ABC - "Hayward's Biggest Blunders".
    By hyping up the Gulf oil "disaster", the Americans are likely to eventually get full control and ownership of what remains of BP. The media attention for this can be compared with the Haiti earthquake earlier this year which was in the same area and is estimated to have killed over 100,000 people.

  • Meanwhile, the greens also join in the fun of bashing Britain's biggest company (or it was!) - BBC - "Greenpeace activists close down BP stations in London".

    europe turkey britain" PM pushing for gates to be opened wider
  • BBC - "Cameron 'anger' at slow pace of Turkish EU negotiations".
    Turkey's population grows at the net rate of one million people a year. And if Turkey is added to the list of countries that have unfettered migration to our already congested island, then "logic" will dictate that other Asian countries are also admitted.

    earth AGW
  • BBC - "Climate change 'will increase Mexico-US migration'".
    In the film "The Day After Tomorrow" (which was premiered in Mexico City), AGW has somehow caused a new "Ice Age" , with most of the U.S. frozen, and there is a mass migration south into Mexico. So if this latest forecast is as reliable as that piece of fiction, then all the Mexicans will be in the US and the Gringos will all be south of the border!
    In any case the BBC as usual turns a blind eye to population growth. In 1950 there were 28 million people in Mexico, the population is now 112 million and growing by one per cent a year despite the mass migration north.

  • Xinhua Net - "BASIC meeting ends without consensus on climate change".
    India and China have 36% of the world's population, adding Brazil and South Africa makes it up to 40%.

  • Bloomberg - "Tata Steel May Exit U.K. as Climate Protection Rules Boost Cost of Power"   Business Green - "Carbon policies will drive heavy industry out of UK, warns report" inc link to report

  • One of many reports on the anti-Carbon bill which will only get through if it is watered down and made popular by anti-BP clauses - Washington Post - "Kerry's lonely push on climate change".

  • According to a report produced for the NRDC (part of the Green establishment)- "As global warming accelerates, the world will become not only hotter, flatter, and more crowded but also thirsty" - Energy Collective - "U.S. faces climate change-driven water shortages inc link to report". It seems that Cole Porter got it wrong when he said that "it's too darn hot"! AGW will not only increase the population, the extra weight will also flatten the Earth.

    Monday 26 July 2010

    ghana Ghana's drivers to pay extra fuel tax as well as tolls
  • Peace FM - "Road Fund Wants Increase In Fuel Levy".

    indonesia Jakarta still planning to have a Con
  • Berita Jakarta - "City to Review ERP to Overcome Traffic Problem".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "At the DRPA, do away with perks"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Ar DRPA, livin' is E-Z for some"   Texas - "Toll road to improve truck movement near port"   South Carolina - "Don't count on highway tolls"   "Pennsylvania Turnpike takes heat for driving up tolls"   California - "Calexico Border Tolls: Business Reaction".

    Oregon / Washington State - "Toll lessons learned after the election"   Florida - "Cape Coral wants traffic enforcement at Midpoint tollbooth site"   Indiana / Kentucky - "Proposed Ohio River bridge toll is comparable to others"   Texas - "Tollway agency works to restore confidence".

    britain" Judgement of Solomon
  • Grimsby Telegraph - "Area asked to decide between axing Humber Bridge tolls and improving roads" POLL   Scunthorpe Telegraph - "North Lincolnshire must choose between Humber Bridge tolls and road upgrades" POLL   Scunthorpe Telegraph - "North Lincolnshire politicians react to Phil Hammond's announcement"   Hull Daily Mail - "'It's road improvements or no bridge tolls' – transport secretary warns of tough choices".
    Despite the newspaper polls, the local people will not have their say. If they did, then it is difficult to forecast what the result would be, as those who don't use the bridge would probably opt for the money to be spent on something else. Only a very few drivers will be aware that they are paying about ten times as much in taxes as is spent on the roads, and that they should have both better roads and no tolls.
    Presumably the Secretary of State has no intention of removing the tolls, though as the tolls in 2009/10 were £21 million (the net income will be about £3 million less), it would probably be the cheaper spending option for the Government.

    britain" Suggestion that the A14 road scheme will be tolled
  • Hunts Post - "Choices for the A14".

    britain" chimaera Lib Dem supports latest toll touting
    Lib Dem Voice - "Motorway tolls – a step on the road to a progressive, green and Liberal Britain".

    ireland More on the new toll push by the mischievous Leprechauns
  • Independent - "Roads: Coalition plans new wave of tolls to raise €100m"   Irish Times - "New tolls on M50 and M9 being considered"   Irish Examiner - "Coalition under fire for ‘absurd’ toll road idea"   tv3 - "Gormley proposes new tolls" video.

    london TfL toll trap
  • Evening Standard - "London traffic camera's £2m fines in three months"   Mail - "The £2m traffic camera which has snared 16,123 drivers in three months"   Autoblog - "Temporary traffic camera nets £2m in three months".

    britain" Repairs brought forward
  • Henley Standard - "Bridge repairs fast-tracked".

    vietnam Vietnamese drivers to pay fuel tax as well as tolls
  • ThanHinien News - "Road maintenance fees will increase toll on public: lawmakers".

    canada usa Billionaire fighting to keep border tolls monopoly
  • WSJ - "At Canadian Border, a Bridge to Prosperity".

    nigeria More on Lagos toll dispute
  • Compass - "'We are opposed to slavery'".

    britain" Steering towards more inflation and another financial crisis
  • BBC - "UK interest rates to stay at record low 'until 2014'"   BBC - "Cable looks to boost lending by bank".

    earth AGW
  • A gathering of statisticians are to consider various "Climate change" topics. One is a paper from one of the co-authors of the Wegman report (which had said that the "hockey stick" was not statistically sound), it seems that the new paper will support AGW. Another paper is on the problem of people feeling the cold and not believing that it is hotter than ever - Earth Times - "Statisticians Explore Issues Relating to Climate and Climate Change at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver".

  • One of the people who does believe the figures is a Nobel prize winning economist - NY Times - "Who Cooked the Planet?". He should be in for another Nobel prize at this rate!

    Saturday 24 July 2010

    earth AGW
  • There has been a lot more reaction to the American anti-Carbon legislation slowing, including this - Time - "Cap and Trade is Dead (Really, Truly, I'm Not Kidding). Who's to Blame?" lot of comments   Washington Post - "Kerry Says Broad Climate-Change Bill Is `Not Dead'" video.

    Friday 23 July 2010

    m6toll M6 Toll traffic up
  • Earlier this week Atlas Roads published the latest quarterly traffic figures for the M6 Toll. The traffic is up 4 per cent on the same quarter last year, though it is still down (25%) on its best ever quarter, and very far below the traffic that they need - Our M6 Toll traffic figures page.

  • One driver recently sent us a copy of a long complaint they made to the Highways Agency. He points out to them that he has been travelling between Manchester and the South Coast for over 20 years, frequently at night. He is often caught out at the points where you have to leave the motorway to avoid the Toll. This is a small part of his letter -
    "My complaint concerns the design of the entry into the toll road, in that it is entered by default, rather than the result of a conscious decision to do so. Bearing in mind that this is a toll road, this is unfair, unjust and potentially even illegal ..... I often miss the detour to avoid the tolls and inadvertantly enter the toll road. This is because I am concentrating my efforts on DRIVING SAFELY (ie: keeping my distance, driving at an appropriate speed, being aware of my driving environment as far ahead and as far behind me as possible and the driving conditions) instead of tiring my mind by reading each and every irrelevant blue motorway sign we are bombarded with.
    I feel taken advantage of because we enter the toll road by default rather than by conscious decision, it should be the other way round. The situation is scandalous and because it is tricking unwitting drivers in to using the toll road. I urge you to get the entry to M6 toll re-constructed so that we can only enter from a conscious decision to do so, that is, by the willful action of exitting from the M6."
    This is part of the Highways Agency reply -
    "..The road was intended to be toll free to use. The design at that time was for a through route that would bypass Birmingham and the Black Country providing relief to the M6. The intention was that traffic for Birmingham and Black Country destinations would turn off the through route to continue on the M6 to the appropriate junction. This is why drivers now have to turn off to continue on the M6.
    (Later it was decided it would be a toll road). When it was being designed it was agreed that it should be signed in the same way as any other motorway. All primamry destinations are therefore signed down M6 Toll, regardless of journey length. Such signs are for the guidance of users from outside the local area. To accord with the national traffic signing policy, motorists who are new to the area are directed down the safest, quickest and most direct route. One of the purposes of this it to relieve unsuitable roads from through traffic."
    Which road is the main route and which is a turn off should depend on which road will carry the most traffic - in this case a far greater proportion takes the non toll route, but has to turn off to do so. (If the two roads had been expected to be of approximately equal importance then you would have had the road splitting with a lot of advance warning so that drivers took the appropriate fork.)
    Part of the arrangement for toll roads like this is that the authorities agree to "funnel" traffic away from free alternatives, by the design of junctions and the signage. If they were more neutral then the M6 Toll would have even less customers!

    ireland More toll pushing by the mischievous Leprechauns
  • RTE News - "Group identifies €500m in local govt savings" inc link to report.

    britain" Economy still moving back up
  • BBC - "UK economic growth jumps to 1.1%"   ONS - "Gross domestic product preliminary estimate: 2nd Quarter 2010".

    earth AGW
  • Latest Carbon peril - BBC - "Stars reveal carbon 'spaceballs'".

  • American anti-Carbon Bill slows - BBC - "US Senate will not pass a full climate bill"   The Hill - "Green groups lament Senate’s punt on climate bill, blame coal and oil lobbies"   NY Times - "Democrats Call Off Climate Bill Effort".

  • While the Earth, according to those who control the figures, is at record high temperatures, it seems that South America is somehow outside the area setting these records - Accu Weather - "South America Cold Wave Brings Rare Snow, Freezing Deaths".

    Thursday 22 July 2010

    south Suggestion that Open-road tolling will fail
  • IoL - "Why open-road tolling won't work".

    usa USA Roundup
  • PR NewsWire - "Americans Prefer Tolls Over Taxes"   HNTB - "America THINKS 2010 Tolls Survey" pdf   HNTB - August 2009 survey   HNTB - January 2009 survey.
    It is strange that anyone is supposed to believe a survey from the trolls, even though the survey says that as many Americans would prefer to have no new roads, as are claimed to support paying for them by tolls.
    HNTB also did two surveys last year, they phrased the questions differently, but even so it seems that the support they are claiming for the various guises of tolls has actually fallen.

  • Authorities prepared to subsidise new tolls - Virginia Business - "State reverses earlier stance and offers cash incentives on U.S. 460"   Pilot Online - "State sweetens pot to get bidders for new U.S. 460"   WSOCtv (North Carolina) - "Leaders Approve Grant For Tolls In I-77 HOV Lanes" video.

  • As usual the trolls are more equal than the plebs - Fox (Pennsylvania) - "DRPA Official Disciplined Over E-ZPass Misuse" video.

  • Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Board supports Route 422 master plan, but not tolling"   Virginia - "Drivers cited on HOV awareness day"   Texas - "Our Opinion: Border toll is a bad idea with no good explanation"   Land Line Mag - "‘Say no’ to toll proposal in Louisville".

    greece Greek toll protest
  • Ana-Mpa - "Consumer group urges motorists to refuse toll payments on sub-standard roads".

    britain" Vehicle production up
  • BBC - "UK car production up sharply in June"   SMMT - "UK automotive production figures June 2010".
    As we usually point out, most vehicles made in Britain are exported (over 70%), and the overwhelming majority of cars on British roads are imports.

    britain" More robbery
  • Drivers who use the Tyne Tunnel are already paying tolls that are far more than the cost of the tunnel, and they are now to also hand over £6 million for free pedestrian and cycle tunnels that are usually empty - BBC - "Tyne pedestrian tunnel funding approved"   News Guardian - "£6m investment improved for historic tunnels".
    This is another demonstration of how weak drivers are and of how they are held in contempt.

    britain" Bonfire?
  • BBC - "Dartford charge suspension considered at busy times"   Kent News - "Dartford crossing toll booths could be taken out".
    If the booths are removed, it is likely that they will be replaced with a test of whether British drivers are cowed enough to comply with open road tolling.
    It would be an innovation in Britain if tolls were to be suspended because of exceptional dealys. This sometimes happens in America, but in Brritain up to now the authorities have not done it as it would make it even clearer that tolls delay traffic. This reached an extreme a few years ago in a Liverpool toll tunnel when cars that had to turn back because of a fire were expected to pay a toll to get in and another toll to get out!

    wales Bit more on Severn tolls review and FTA claim the credit for it
  • Western Mail - "MPs to examine Severn road tolls"   MHW - "Freight Transport Association FTA asks government extend Severn crossing study to England".

    britain" York Con survey
  • A York councillor complains that a survey whivch showed that people rejected a Con charge, did not give enough choice over ways of reducing congestion - The Press - "York transport chief Steve Galloway claims traffic survey was ‘flawed’".

    singapore View against tag system being changed to spy in the sky
  • Asia One - "Satellite ERP may not be effective".
    The writer of the letter is correct in a lot of what they say, but they don't seem to understand the effect that the existing tag system does or does not have. The system may effect drivers at a micro level, i.e. should I try and avoid going through this gantry right now. But the system seems to have no effect at the macro level - though Singapore is less than half the size of London, the average car is driven 12,500 miles a year.

    phillipines Dispute over who has right to tolls, and a bit more on VAT on tolls
  • Manila Bulletin - "PNCC ordered to remit toll collections to NG".

  • Manila Times - "Motorists told to brace for increase in toll"   Business Mirror - "JPE vows to block ‘illegal’ VAT on toll"   Business Mirror - "Why VAT on toll is wrong"   Manila Standard - "VAT to be imposed on toll starting August 16"   Sun Star - "Palace: Aquino did not break promise on tax".

    canada Trolls back in Montreal
  • Montreal Gazette - "WLaval's Highway 25 toll bridge '85 per cent complete'".

    usa earth Grey future
  • BBC - "Bernanke: US economy faces 'uncertain' time"   CNN - "Bernanke: Recovery 'unusually uncertain'"   NY Times - "No Fed Plans to Give More Support, Bernanke Says".
    The semi annuual statement to Congress attacted a lot less attention in the USA than it did elsewhere in the world. Perhaps because the rest of the World is relying on America to keep consuming. The Fed Reserve will not care about the rest of the world, but domestic pressures may force them to print more money - a bit like downing a pint of bourbon to cure a hangover.

    earth AGW
  • It is possible that UN may change the rules so that countries can not avoid anti carbon targets set by the majority - Guardian - "UN in fresh bid to salvage international deal on climate change".

  • Various papers are still reporting NOAA claim that last month was the hottest June ever - LA Times - "You can't explain away climate change: Some hold that global warming stopped in 1998, but scientists know better".
    As we have previously reported the NOAA deviate from the GISS figures. It is puzzling why there is not more co-ordination between the NOAA and GISS so that they are at least publishing their doctored figures so that they tell the same story.

    Wednesday 21 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • A bit more on Ohio river bridge - Courier-Journal - "Opponents of Ohio River bridge tolls hold rush-hour protest"   Fox - "Toll opponents rally downtown" video   Wave - "Group holds protest against bridge tolls".

  • Sundry stories - "Pennsylvania Turnpike approves toll increase for E-ZPass"   Alabama - "Majority of Jeffco Commission against Grant’s Mill Road toll idea"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "It’s Time to Clean House at the DRPA"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Editorial: DRPA's muddy waters"   Illinois - "Chicago inching closer to freeway congestion charges?" comments   Maryland - "Couple's E-ZPass Fees Balloon Into Thousands"   Utah - "Tag, you’re it — for I-15’s express lanes".

    wales Inquiry into Severn tolls
  • The Welsh Affairs Select Cttee are to look at Severn tolls and have invited evidence to be submitted to them - Parliament - "Severn crossing toll"   South Wales Argus - "Commons committee to probe Severn Crossings tolls".

    britain" Still one anti-inflation renegade
  • BBC - "Bank of England member votes again for bank rate rise"   BofE - "Minutes Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting: 7 And 8 July 2010" pdf.

    netherlands chimaera Dutch tolls doubt
  • Following last month's elections, the various parties in the Netherlands are still having difficulty in forming a new coalition. It is reported that one of the main stumbling blocks is the different views on whether the Dutch pay per kilometre plans should go ahead.

    europe Bit more on - New European rules to promote higher tolls move nearer
  • Road Transport - "EU’s Belgian presidency resurrects Euro-wide road-charging directive".

    phillipines VAT on tolls to start soon
  • News Info - "VAT on toll fees to start Aug. 16".

    britain" usa "Barack" and "Dave" show
  • BBC - "David Cameron faces a history of complexity on US trip"   CNN - "British PM says he understands the anger 'across America' for BP"   ABC - "British PM David Cameron Says He'll Cooperate With U.S. Hearing into Lockerbie Bomber Release".
    Is the President being so friendly to the PM because they wear the same blue ties, or is that the PM can be relied upon not to support BP and to support America's opposition to the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing?

    Tuesday 20 July 2010

    britain" Looking good for house prices
    The Old Lady will be pleased today, it's aim of creating inflation, particularly of house prices, seems to be on course, as it was announced today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, that gross mortgage lending for June was up by 15 per cent to £13 billion. Unfortunately for the real economy it seems that this is at the expense of the rest of the economy as overall money supply growth for June was negative. - BofE - "Provisional estimates of broad money (M4) and credit (M4 lending): June 2010" pdf.

    usa USA Roundup
  • A comment on border tolls - Star Exponent (Virginia) - "What if other states got in on the I-95 toll concept?".

  • A bit more on Ohio river bridge including the turncoat Mayor - Oregonian - "For whom the I-5 bridge tolls"   KATU - "Vancouver mayor flips on Interstate bridge toll policy" lots of comments and a video   KGW - "Vancouver mayor explains new stance on bridge-tolling" comments.

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA commissioner John J. "Doc" Dougherty questions board's practices"   Utah - "UDOT Express Lanes tags will collect tolls"   Illinois - "Don't use tolls to pay for bridge" letter.

    Florida - "Orange hopefuls want to roll back toll hike"   Texas - "TxDot: Not all drivers are being billed on toll roads" video   Washington State - "Tolls considered for SR 167"   Land Line Mag - "California bill clears path for toll lanes on 91 Freeway".

    britain" Government debt a bit higher than forecast
    BBC - "UK public sector borrowing worse than expected"   ONS - "Public sector finances June 2010" pdf.

    britain" chimaera Bit more on - Toll touts on the rampage again
    Express - "Anger Over Pay Scheme For Motorways".

    bangladesh More on - Rickshaw drivers protest against tolls
  • Daily Star - "Barricade on Buriganga bridge for toll withdrawal"   Financial Express - "Traffic movements on 2nd Buriganga Bridge blocked".

    australia Truckers avoiding tolls if they can
  • Logan West Leader - "Logan Motorway tolls a turn off for truckies".

  • In the case of a possible new toll tunnel at Melbourne they have considered this issue and say that "there would be “requirements” on the industry to use the tunnel, including increasing truck bans on surrounding roads" - Maribyrnong Leader - "Toll option in Footscray tunnel plan".

    australia No to Con
  • On Sunday, Tony Abbot, the leader of the Liberal Opposition, was asked whether there would be a "Congestion charge" (as proposed by Ken Henry the Treasury Secretary) introduced if they came to power, he said "There absolutely won't be one".

    britain" Bashing savers
    Yesterday the Government showed that it has as little concern for savers as the last Government had. The "Big Society" relaunch includes a plan to seize balances in dormant savings accounts to fund handouts to local groups such as those that might want the cash for "a local buy-out of a rural pub". The Government also announced that it would close the issue of savings certificates which pay out a fabulous one per cent above inflation (on maximum savings of £15,000), as it was "too popular" - BBC - "Inflation-linked savings certificates cut by NS&I".

    britain" Doubts over cuts
    BBC - "Whitehall 'unlikely to meet' £35bn cuts target".
    If the last lot of Labour cuts are doubtful, then the further "efficiency savings" planned by the Coalition are even more doubtful. If the Government is to really cut expenditure then it will have to cancel whole programmes, which will politically be very difficult.

    britain" Another Quango
    BBC - "Tax system 'to be simplified to encourage investment'".
    If the Government wants to simplify taxes it does not need to set up an "Office for Tax Simplification". It should just scrap those taxes (incuding tolls) which are uneconomic and expensive to collect as well as being unfair. For those taxes that are kept, it should remove the numerous exemptions and loopholes and use some of the proceeds to reduce tax rates.

    earth AGW
  • The Foundation that some believe rules the world, now has a website. It includes - a brief note on what they were to discuss at their last meeting. The puzzle is why "Global Cooling" is shown as a problem.

    Monday 19 July 2010

    britain" chimaera Bit more on - Toll touts on the rampage again
    BBC - "UK 'must accelerate' on low-carbon road"   Committee on Climate Change - "Building a low-carbon economy - the UK's innovation challenge" links to report etc.
    Though the BBC have linked the report of the Committee on Climate Change (a quango) to Tim Yeo's tolls push, the Committee don't mention tolls in any guise. The main thing that they are pushing on the transport side is having 1.7 million electic vehicles by 2020.

    usa USA Roundup
  • The job of the DRPA boss is in doubt. At risk is pay of 220,000 dollars, car allowance of 10,000 dollars and free tolls!   Fox - "Future Of DRPA Executive Dir. Unclear" video.

  • A new anti tolls site, which is against the proposal to toll Columbia River crossings between Oregon and Washington State -

  • Sundry stories - California - "An Unintended Consequence of Peak Pricing"   Illinois - "New Tollway chief looking ahead"   Illinois - "Congestion pricing idea deserves a closer look" few comments   Texas - "Tollway agency acknowledges camera problems, vows to boost billing"   California - "Plan calls for tolls"   Pennsylvania - "Ask not for whom the turnpike tolls; just prepare to pay".

    Washington State - "Tolls considered for SR 167"   Pennsylvania - "Route 422 plan sparks talk of tolls, jobs, traffic"   Washington State - "Narrows bridge toll might not change until 2012"   West Virginia - "Tolls on U.S. 35 likely route for project to take" comments   Texas - "Tollway 'feasible' as mobility authority seeks better credit" comments.

    bangladesh Rickshaw drivers protest against tolls
  • BdNews24 - "Traffic on 2nd Buriganga bridge resumes".

    britain" Firm that auctions deliveries says that it can reduce road congestion
  • PRFire - "Most Delivery Vehicles Half Empty Says Courier Services Company".

    britain" Marching up and down the hill at the same time
    BBC - "David Cameron to launch Tories' 'big society' plan"   BBC - "Environment quangos to be cut, says Caroline Spelman".
    The original and most common translation of "Quango" is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, i.e. a body which is independent of government but which is mainly funded by them. Quangoes have various advantages to politicians - they can deny responsibility if things go wring, it gives them patronage and the bodies can be more political than the civil service. At the same time, politicians often attack Quangoes as a waste of money, particularly if they were set up by a previous administration. What David Cameron is now proposing is in effect the devolution of public functions to tens of thousands of quangoes. This will inevitably mean even more waste and corruption and even the spending of public money on what not should be public functions - such as "a local buy-out of a rural pub".

    britain" chimaera Toll touts on the rampage again
    The farmer MP who at one time was the Tory Transport spokesman and is currently chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee is calling again for tolling and privatising main roads, as well as other measures including "personal carbon trading" to fight the Carbon peril -
    PA - "Pay-as-you-drive scheme urged by MP"   Telegraph - "Privatise roads to meet green pledges, MP tells Cameron"   Telegraph - "Tim Yeo: More radical steps are needed to tackle climate change".
    He says that "We must decarbonise our transport system by improving the incentives for hybrid, electric and other low emission cars, vans and trucks, and by introducing road pricing on our motorways.". He also says that the road tolls could pay for "immediate development of high speed rail .. (and) .. a cut in fuel duty". Perhaps one day the trolls will treat us to a rational explanation on how cutting fuel duty will reduce the Cabon emissions that they claim is their biggest worry.
    PS Later report -
    Politics - "Road pricing on the way?".

    britain" Bashing bankers
  • The politicians have been competing with each other as to who can propose the highest tax on banks, and we now have the Business Secretary returning to the theme of banks ripping off their customers and not lending enough money - BBC - "Vince Cable: Banks continue to rip customers off".
    The Government's actions could almost be aimed at producing another banking crisis. The last one was caused by low interest rates, over lending and only nominal financial regulation. We still have those and we also have the possibility of a double dip recession caused by public spending cuts. If the Government wants to stop the ship from sinking, then it should scrap the extra taxes on banks and instead substantially increased the capital requirements for banks. It would also help if it introduced real regulation and stopped badgering the banks to lend more to individuals and firms that are high risk.

    earth AGW
  • Down under we had some of the most fanatical of AGW believers, but things may be changing, a bit - Sydney Morning Herald - "Climate Institute at odds with Abbott's carbon copy" inc Poll.

  • GW Policy Foundation - "US Government Halts Funds For Climate Unit". As the Administration are firm believers, this is probably more a case of Anglophobia than any backpedalling on AGW.

    Sunday 18 July 2010

    earth AGW
  • On Monday we reported that GISS had published the latest Earth's temperature "anomaly", which showed that last month was the joint third hottest June since 1880. (For the reasons that are widely known - particularly to those who follow What's Up With That? - GISS, NOAA and CRU to a large extent use the same biased and unreliable adjusted figures, but we quote them as there is nothing else available.) There have since been reports on these latest figures including - NOAA press release on Thursday - "June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record"   Guardian on Friday - "Last month was the hottest June recorded worldwide, figures show"   The Hill on Friday - "Markey, citing LeBron James, says warming supports climate bill".

    You may notice that June is being described as the hottest rather than the joint third hottest as we described it. The figures that we quote are from the "Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies (Land-Ocean Temperature Index, LOTI)". In part NOAA get different answers by using a data subset which only includes Land temperatures, (which using GISS data would make June 2010 the joint highest with June 1998). In part NOAA publish different figures from those published by GISS. The NOAA figures go to an even more spurious level of precision (four decimal places, instead of two) and use a different base 1901 -2000 (GISS use 1951 to 1980). But on top of these presentation differences, the NOAA give slightly different anomalies e.g. the relative anomaly on GISS for Land and Sea temperatures comparing June 1998 with June 2010 is minus 0.10 degrees Celsius, but on NOAA it is plus 0.0356 degrees Celsius.

    There is no way of knowing whether it is really getting warmer or not. But if it isn't then the people who produce these figures will eventually get their comeuppance. One sign that this may be starting to happen is the part of the Guardian story which says that "Scientists expressed surprise that the June land surface temperature exceeded the previous record by 0.11C". One reason that scientists may be sceptical is that they have seen the GISS published data and know that it does not support the NOAA press releases, another possible reason is that they may be shivering.

    Saturday 17 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on turncoat Mayor - Oregonian - "Drivers on Interstate 5 could face paying a 'corridor toll'" comments   Columbian - "Leavitt backs off his anti-tolling stance on I-5 bridge".

  • Latest in the long running story of possible tolls on a new bridge twixt Indiana and Kentucky - WHAS11 - "Public reaction to Bridges Authority report for funding, with tolls; most simply won't pay" video   News & Tribune - "Report: Tolling could start in 2017"   Wave3 - "$3 tolls out of the question for some Kentuckiana residents"   Fox - "Tolls likely with the Ohio River Bridges Project" video   Courier-Journal - "Tolls could fund more than half of Ohio River Bridges cost"   Kentucky Now - "Drivers could pay $3 tolls" comments.
    Copy of official report - WFPL - "Financial Demonstration for the Ohio River Bridges Project ... July 2010" pdf.

  • Sundry stories - Phoenix - "Pa. Turnpike travelers will see a 3 percent toll increase"   Land Line Mag - "Truckers favor off-peak deliveries in NYC'"   Florida - "New toll system to start this weekend" video.

    britain" More Science fiction
  • Telegraph - "Are electric cars ready to transform Britain’s motoring in the Age of Energy?".
    The story says that "There's little doubt that electric vehicles will play an important role in the Age of Energy, eradicating emissions at street level at the same time as cutting costs for motorists." But if these cars are ever used in significant numbers then the massive subsidies and the tax and toll exemptions will disappear.

    india Toll increase
  • Times of India - "Elevated expressway ride to cost double now".

    britain" More Government "saving"
  • BBC - "Minister Jeremy Hunt says licence fee 'could be cut'".
    Rather than reduce the licence fee, it might be better to cut the amount going to the profligate BBC, and give the difference to help other producers of TV programmes and films made in Britain.
    Alternatively, they could scrap the TV licence completely and any money for the BBC could come from either a system of Pay TV or taxes or a mix of both.

    earth AGW
  • Surprisingly the the thin air dissapears story reached one of the main news channels - CNN - "Scientists baffled by unusual upper atmosphere shrinkage".
    This is the story on NASA site - "A Puzzling Collapse of Earth's Upper Atmosphere".

  • A bit more on the last "Climategate" Inquiry, though most of the news media are still saying that the inquiries cleared and exonerated the CRU and Co from doing anything wrong - Spectator - "The 'Climategate' travesty".

  • One possible cause of AGW - Globe and Mail - "If climate change didn’t exist, Obama would've had to invent it".

  • We have been looking out for the DEFRA sponsored report on rising sea levels which was a story on Thursday. The DEFRA website still does not mention it, neither does their - UK Climate Projections website. Anyone who wants to see what the claimed changes in past sea levels (since 1914) have been is referred to the Met Office site who appear to have hidden the data under a rock.

    Friday 16 July 2010

    europe New European rules to promote higher tolls move nearer
  • EuroPolitics - "Eurovignette 'light' on horizon".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Bit more on toll proposals for what is sometimes described as America's most corrupt city - - "Illinois: Toll Road Consultant Says Toll Roads Needed in Chicago".

  • More on planned Pennsylvania toll increases - Observer-Reporter - "Fares increasing on turnpike, toll roads"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Analysts: Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls will likely rise sharply"   Post-Gazette - "Turnpike to become costliest toll road"   Vindy - "Pa. pike tolls set to rise in 2011"   WFMZ - "Pa. Turnpike Okays Toll Increases" video.

  • Sundry stories - Louisiana - "State seeks backup plan if Crescent City Connection tolls lapse" comments   Florida - "Rental car toll charges" video.

    canada One complaint about subsidy to toll company
  • My Kawartha - "Why are Ontario taxpayers paying for this private toll road extension?".
    The 407 is owned by one of the Australian trolls, but the Canadian Pension system wants to buy a bit of it back - Financial Post - "407 ETR right speed for CPP board".

    australia Toll operator making money
  • Business Spectator - "Intoll sees revenue surge in June qtr".
    One reason that Intoll is doing well is that all the sick toll roads - including the M6 Toll - have been dumped into a separate company - Macquarie Atlas Roads.

    usa A slap over the wrists
  • BBC - "Goldman Sachs agrees record $550m fine". In America, the story was buried in the business pages - CNN - "Goldman settles with SEC for $550 million".
    The American court ordering that RBS is reimbused an amount less than it was scammed out of contrasts with the twenty billion that President Obama browbeated out of BP as a down payment for compensation to Americans.

    london For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance
  • The Independent today reported on the expenses of BBC bosses, including the Director General who not only gets £834,000 pay and benefits a year, he also gets to claim £1,700 for the Con - BBC - "Mark Thompson's expenses Q4 2009-10" pdf.

  • The various shades of green are pushing hard for the Western extension of the Con to remain. The deadline for responses to the latest consultation is Monday 2 August.

    britain" Government "savings"
  • BBC - "NHS sets £1.7bn aside for reform".
    This initial cost - of handing power over nearly all NHS money to GPs - is just the tip of the iceberg. Either there will be waste and corruption on a massive scale, or there will have to be a new bureaucracy set up to try and contain errant GPs.

    britain" Another Government "saving"
  • BBC - "Free bus pass age rise may be sped up amid budget cuts".
    The Government has to save money, but this idea seems particularly bad. Free bus travel has a major effect on the finances of bus companies as it generates income at a time of day when the buses would be underused (whether on the road or waiting at the garage for the next peak). It also encourages older people to travel by bus rather than by car (or staying at home), this has a small beneficial effect on road (and car parking) congestion and it increases social interaction.

    earth AGW
  • The Guardian's debate - What's Up With That? - "Reports from the Guardian Climategate Debate"   Guardian- "'Climategate' debate: less meltdown, more well-mannered argument"   Weather Action - "The Guardian ClimateGate “Debate” 14 July 2010".

  • Thin air dissapears - Space Daily - "A Puzzling Collapse Of Earth's Upper Atmosphere".
    We ignored this story when it first appeared a few weeks ago, as it displays various enigmas which are hard to grasp. The "thermosphere" which "collapsed" contains the hottest molecules (because nothing shields them from the Sun) but is also the coldest part of the atmosphere because it is so thin. Best of all, it is said that the thermosphere is cooling because of AGW!
    Though the Solar Minimum is over, the Sun is struggling to climb back up - NWRA - "Cycle 23/24 Effective Sunspot Number".
    The AGW lobby used to say that the Sun's activity had no affect on temperatures, more recently they have been saying that if it does then it proves that AGW exists as otherwise the Earth would be cooling due to the Minimum. As the AGW lobby control the temperature measurements we can't be sure what has been happening with temperatures. One of the minority of scientists who believe in the significance of the Sun on temperature is Cees de Jager - Journal of Cosmology: June 2010 - "The Forthcoming Grand Minimum of Solar Activity".

    Thursday 15 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • MSN - "What would you pay for a faster commute?".

  • Sundry stories - Pennsylvania - "Pa. Turnpike Approves 10 Percent Toll Increases For 2011"   Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Turnpike will charge more for paying with cash"   Pennsylvania - "Turning Route 422 into a toll road is ridiculous"   California - "FasTrak sales jump with toll increase"   Land Line Mag - "Truckers oppose congestion tolls on Chicago roadways"   Illinois - "Congestion Pricing Coming to Chicago?"   Georgia - "I-75 toll project needs big tax money and tolls, too"   Indiana - "Task force considering 'pay-to-drive' interstate lanes" video.

    mexico usa Tolls temporarily lifted
  • Transport Topics - "Mexico to Reopen Monterrey-Laredo Toll Road to Trucks Only".

    britain" New set of prefects
  • Parliament - "Membership of Transport Committee confirmed".
    Still on the committee are - Louise Ellman (chairman, Labour), John Leech (Lib Dem) and Angela Smith (Labour).
    Old boys no longer on the committee are - David Clelland (Labour), Sammy Wilson(DUP), Philip Hollobone (Tory), Eric Martlew (Labour), Mark Pritchard (Tory), Peter Soulsby (Labour), Graham Stringer (Labour), David Wilshire (Tory).
    New boys are - Angie Bray (Tory), Lilian Greenwood (Labour), Tom Harris (Labour), Kelvin Hopkins (Labour), Kwasi Kwarteng (Tory), Paul Maynard (Tory), Iain Stewart (Tory) and Julian Sturdy (Tory).
    Membership of the committee usually seems to be MPs that believe that train users should be rewarded and road users penalised. Two exceptions on the old committee were Sammy Wilson and Graham Stringer. One of the new members who may not want to send all drivers to gaol is Angie Bray who was prominent in the opposition to the Western extension of the Con.
    The committee are kicking off with a grilling of Philip Hammond - the Secretary of State for Transport - at 4 PM on Monday 26th. We advise that if he wants to leave the committee room intact, then he should turn up with bicycle clips on his trouser bottoms and a train ticket behind his ear.

    earth More AGW
  • Canada Free Press - "Global Warming Theory: False in Parts, False in Totality".
    Part of the article by Tim Ball discusses the effect of wind on the weather, which gives us a chance to "raise the wind".
    Some sceptics believe that the AGW establishment produce false temperature figures by bias in deciding which measurements to include in their averages and how those figures should be "corrected". But whatever else is happening, the land measurements all come from thermometers in Stevenson screens which are sheltered from strong winds (and oddly enough from sunlight). When there is a wind, sheltered or not, it will only make a little difference to the temperature registered on the thermometer, but it can make a big difference to anything which (unlike the thermometer which is sheltered from the sunlight) has absorbed the rays of the Sun or has some other heat source such as mammals. So whether a human with a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius and who only lives three score and ten years or so, perceives it to be "hot" or "cold" has far more to do with any change to the wind, than it has to the claimed increases of about one degree Celsius in the air temperature over five score years.

  • Attack on Britain's next head of state - Spectator - "Frankly, more sense is spoken by his plants".

    london More fog from the Con batallions
  • Guardian - "New congestion charge plans 'will make London pollution worse'".
    The campaigners are correct to point out the harm caused by Pm10s from diesels, which will be favoured by the Con exemptions for vehicles that produce less CO2. But the Mayor is only following the Green road by treating CO2 as a poisonous gas and ignoring the real pollution from motor vehicles - a problem that is not affected by whether a particular vehicle has to pay a Con charge or not.
    As for PM10s, though serious, according to the official figures, cars (engines, brake linings and tyres) are responsible for about 8% of them, so perhaps those who are concerned about air quality should forget the Con and start worrying about the other 92%.

    canada Toll pushing
  • Toronto Star - "How to sell toll message: appeal to emotion, youth"   National Post - "Toronto needs ‘bold’ solution to gridlock problem: roundtable"   Vancouver Sun - "Evergreen Line promise comes with funding gap: Fuel taxes, road tolls may be the $600-million solution"   CTV - "Golden Ears Bridge traffic up, but so are tolls".

    ireland Trucks avoiding tolls, even some that are not there
  • Meath Chronicle - "Kells may look at HGV ban as trucks remain in town".

    usa britain" Another American attack on BP
  • BBC - "BP faces 7-year offshore drilling ban"   CNN - "U.S. moves to block new BP oil leases".
    As it has not yet been established where the blame for the explosion and leak lies, this seems to be just another attack on what is seen to be a foreign company. It is symptomatic that the attack on BP accuses them of having a hand in the freeing of the Libyan convicted for the Lockerbie bombing.
    As BP must now have more experience and expertise than other companies in how to handle oil leaks, this anti-Anglo attitude may not help the Americans in the long run.

    britain" Another tax
  • A company that was set up by local GPs is criticised - BBC - "Vince Cable proposing graduate tax in funding rethink".
    Students already are charged fees (though they don't cover all costs), which are financed by loans which they have to start repaying when their earnings reach about £15 thousand a year. This is now done as an "Income-Contingent Repayment" which means that those on higher incomes have to repay the loans faster. If this system is replaced with a highly progressive tax regime, then those who will already be paying the most income tax may leave the country and pay nothing at all.

    britain" Green for danger
  • A company that was set up by local GPs is criticised - BBC - "Out-of-hours GP firm had systematic failings, CQC says".
    Though GPs are not employed by the NHS, the Government have said that they will scrap the NHS "bureaucracy" and give the GPs control of almost all the NHS budget. This may result in some more GP millionaires, but what will it do to NHS services?

    earth AGW
  • George Monbiot attacks Christopher Monckton and other "leaders" of the AGW sceptics and implies that they ""display all the features of paranoid personality disorder" - Guardian - "Monckton's response to John Abraham is magnificently bonkers".

  • Britain's next head of state attacks AGW sceptics who are "peddling 'pseudo science'... (and) intimidating governments" - Mail - "Charles: Pseudo science of the climate sceptics".

  • Scientists from "40 leading UK organisations" have reported to DEFRA that AGW is causing Britain's sea levels to rise and reducing the numbers of fish - Telegraph - "Climate Change report sets out impact on British seas".
    There is not yet a copy of this report available at DEFRA, but the story says that Britain's sea levels rose "an average 1.8mm a year since 1955" That is just under ten centimetres in total. It is not credible that such a small movement can be confidentially attributed to a change in sea level rather than land movements.
    Also, as the AGW lobby rarely mention, we are currently in the Holocene interglacial period which began about 12 thousand years ago, when most of Britain was covered in ice and sea levels were about 130 metres lower than now. So the sea has risen by an average of about one metre a century, or at about five times the rate of increase that the scientists claim we have experienced over the last 55 years due to AGW.
    As for the claims about the numbers of fish dwindling, the main problem is too many people trying to catch them.

  • More proof, courtesy of the new Government, that it is getting really really hot - Guardian - "Google climate map offers a glimpse of a 4C world".

  • Another climate oddity - Reuters - "Woolly mammoth hunters helped change climate - study".

    Wednesday 14 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "DRPA leadership draws scrutiny"   Indiana - "Toll lanes proposed to ease gridlock on I-69, I-65"   West Virginia - "Putnam County Residents Speak Out about Possible Toll Road" video.

    britain" Inflation and unemployment down, but still far higher than "normal"
  • BBC - "UK unemployment declines to 2.47m"   ONS - "Labour market statistics: July 2010" pdf.
    BBC - "UK inflation rate slows again in June"   ONS - "Consumer price indices: June 2010" pdf.
    The main beneficaries of the Old Lady's money supply policy are still owners of residential property, with the latest statistics showing 11 per cent annual inflation -
    ONS - "House Price Index - May 2010".

    australia More on the empty toll tunnel
  • Crikey - "Brisbane’s tunnel vision: numbers look like pie in the sky".
    Most economists would charge you for the air that you breathe, but in many cases it is better to either supply something "free" (i.e. no charge at the point of use), or to not make the provision at all.
    A classic example is the case of museums and art galleries where the Thatcher Government introduced charges. If say a Government owned museum costs 1,000,000 gold coins to operate and you have 1,000,000 visitors paying nothing, then the cost to the Government per visitor is one gold coin. If the Government then decides to charge say one gold coin per visitor it is quite likely that the number of vistors will tumble to say 500,000. The cost to the Government per visitor will still be one gold coin (actually a bit more than that, because there will be some costs associated with making charges), and there will be far less people benefitting from what the Government believe is good for them!

    From a wider economic viewpoint it is even worse. If the visitors are from that country, then there has only been a transfer of money within the country. If the visitors are from outside, then there will be a real financial gain, but that may be more than offset if there is a fall in visitors to the country.
    The case of the Clem 7 is the same as the museum. Given that the tunnel has been built (though it may have been poor economics to do so), the greatest economic good, now, would come from the Government buying out the Tunnel (presumably at a knockdown price) and removing the toll.

    britain" Lord, make me chaste - but not yet!
  • BBC - "FSA's Lord Turner warns against quick-fix regulation".

    britain" Taking from those that have not and giving to those who have
  • BBC - "Union 'outraged' at head teacher £200,000 pay package"   BBC - "Fresh details about public sector pay freeze disclosed".
    That someone should receive what seems to be excessive amounts of pay is very common in modern Britain, but it is odd that someone who appears to have had a second job on the "City Challenge programme" had sufficient spare time to put in £10,000 worth of overtime on his first job.

    earth More AGW
  • Telling it "Straight", those who doubt AGW are not only deniers, they are "shills for industry or just disingenuous clowns" - "Science delivers repeated blows to deluded climate change deniers".

  • More worries - Environmental Research - "Tropical butterflies join polar bear on climate threat list".

    Tuesday 13 July 2010

    wales One less toll?
  • Daily Post - "New £20m bridge to be built at Penrhyndeudraeth"   BBC - "New £20m road and rail bridge plan for Penrhyndeudraeth".
    Apart from this bridge and the Severn bridge, there are two other minor tolls in Wales. Though one has a 5 mph speed limit and the other does not allow cars at all!

    phillipines Jeremy Clarkson of the Phillipines loves tolls
  • Business World - "Why tolls have to rise (1)".

    earth More AGW
  • Christopher Monckton v. one of his opponents (an associate professor in mechanical engineering at a Catholic University in Minnesota) - Watts Up With That - "A detailed rebuttal to Abraham from Monckton".

  • Bit more on the question of Northern hemisphere ice melting, or not - Watts Up With That - "Greenland Hype Meltdown".

    britain" From the one MPC member who thinks that interest rates are too low
  • BofE - "UK Monetary Policy – How long should “The song remain the same”?" pdf.

    britain" How independent?
  • BBC - "Sir Alan Budd denies OBR faced political interference".
    The OBR is embedded in the Treasury and its (ex) head was appointed by the Chancellor. For the moment the independence seems to be more a cosmetic change than real.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Lifting the lid off "extravagance and corruption" - Michigan Tech - "Ask Not for Whom the Bridge Tolls".

  • Selling the Con in Illinois - Fox - "Congestion Fees Proposed for Chicago Roads" video   WGNTV - "How much would you pay for a quicker commute?" video   Chicago Tribune - "To cut gridlock, drivers should pay for fast lane, new study says. 'Congestion pricing' works elsewhere and is needed here".
    Drivers on the road at the busiest times are not there for fun, it is because they have to be there. "Congestion pricing" has almost no effect on when people drive, and the negatives far outweigh the claimed benefits. This is what we said when this was suggested in Britain - "Reasons Why Idea Is Daft".

  • Bit more on proposed West Virgina tolls - WSAZ - "Public Weighs In On Route 35"   Charleston Gazette - "Mason residents weigh talk of U.S. 35 tolls".

  • Sundry stories - Connecticut - "Don’t be fuelish, there’s no such thing as a free ride"   Virginia - "Planners wonder if drivers will pay the price for expanded Midtown Tunnel".

    japan Railways complain
  • Nikkei - "Scrapping Road Tolls May Cost JR East Y1bn Annually".
    According to Wikipedia, the East Japan Railway Company "is the largest passenger railway company in the world" and was one of the companies formed when the railways were privatised. If Britain is anything to go by, then the railway companies will not be bearing any historical costs. In any case, if the Government want to discourage driving, it would be better to increase the low fuel taxes and thus encourage fuel economy.

    ireland VAT
  • HGV Ireland - "VAT on M50 tolls".

    tajikistan Who owns it?
  • Radio Free Europe - "Tajik President's Son-In-Law Denies Ties To Company".
    It may seem strange that Tajikistan's toll road is registered in the British Virgin Islands, but the M6 Toll road comes under "Macquarie Atlas Roads International Limited" which is registered in Bermuda, though the ultimate owners seem to be in Australia!

    wales Bit more on FTA welcomes the last minute protest
  • Road Transport - "Severn tolls a "tax on Welsh business"".

    britain" Population trend
  • Leeds University forecast that the UK population will reach 78 million in 2051. "Ethnic" minorities will apparently be responsible for about 11 million of the 16 million increase - BBC - "UK's ethnic minority numbers 'to rise to 20% by 2051'".
    The last official estimate of the UK population was 61.8 million people (ONS figure released on 24 June, and is at mid 2009). The latest official projections of the UK population were released on the 25 March -
    ONS - "National Population Projections 2008-based" - and look further ahead than Leeds University - to 1983. The ONS estimate that the population will be nearly 86 million - 24 million more people than the estimate for mid 2009. They will demand a congestion charge for walking along the pavement!

    earth AGW
  • Bit more on the inquiries - WSJ - "The Climategate Whitewash Continues".

  • The WWF and their latest daily lamentation - Globe and Mail - "Climate change could put Canada's Arctic whales in hot water".

    Monday 12 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Right symptoms, wrong remedy - Washington Post - "Less driving undercuts raising the gas tax" letter.
    This letter from the Brookings Institution is typical of the pro toll propaganda trotted out by political pressure groups on both the left and the right.
    Though "Americans drove 1.6 billion fewer miles over the first four months of this year", Brookings neglect to mention that even so Americans are driving three trillion (3,000,0000,000,000) miles a year - FHWA - "April 2010 Traffic Volume Trends", the amount of fuel consumed by road vehicles is over 170 billion gallons a year, and the population is increasing at the rate of one per cent (3 million) a year. America urgently needs to increase the low Federal gas tax to encourage greater fuel economy.

    britain" Growth "up"
    BBC - "UK GDP growth unchanged at 0.3%"   ONS - "Quarterly national accounts: 1st quarter 2010" pdf.
    UK GDP has to increase by 0.6 per cent a year to match our growth in population.
    In any case, GDP is an inadequate measure of the state of a country or the well being of its people. Countries with high levels of waste and efficiency may also have high levels of GDP. In a Utopia (that exists nowhere), it would be quite possible for people to experience real increases in the quality of life each year with no increase in GDP. This is because for the last two thousand years, most societies have produced an annual surplus which has enabled the creation of capital assets which increases each year and which later generations benefit from. Though some parts of capital, such as our roads system, may have spending levels which are not even high enough (or wisely spent) to maintain previous level of the asset.

    britain" chimaera More on RAC Foundation plan
    Mike Rutherford in Telegraph - "Why does 'our' pressure group support road tolls?".
    One answer, as Mike Rutherford seems to realise, is that the RAC Foundation is not "our" pressure group. The only real groups that campaign for driver's interests are
    the ABD and the Driver's Alliance. It is not clear who controls the RAC Foundation, but the Aviva insurance group seem to have the main say. Though at the end of the day organisations like this are just part of the establishment that dominates Britain, and allows a registered charity which has "Road user safety" as its "key theme" number 1, to have as number 2 "Road pricing" (from page 3 of the Foundation's 2008 accounts).

    britain" Bikers may go free
    Hull Daily Mail - "Humber Bridge toll for bikers may be scrapped under new tagging system" POLL.

    australia "More on Go Between" bridge traffic
  • Brisbane Times - "Solid start for Go Between Bridge".

  • Jakarta Globe - "Activist Hits Law As Toll Road Fees Are Raised Again".

    earth More AGW
  • GISS have published the Earth's temperature "anomaly" for June - "GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index in 0.01 degrees Celsius: base period: 1951-1980" June is last figure in the series.
    Though they "adjust" the data to get the published figures, this time they are not claiming another world record, it is "only" the joint third highest for June since 1880!

  • The UN's "High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change" which used to be headed by Gordon Brown is meeting in New York wih Britain still leading the campaign to "channel $100 billion a year in climate aid to poorer nations" - Business Week "Climate Finance Deal Needed to Break Treaty Deadlock, U.K. Says".

    earth Too little attention, too late
  • BBC - "Global population study launched by Royal Society"   Independent - "Population explosion scrutinised as scientists urge politicians to act"   Royal Society - "Does population matter?".
    World population growth is currently nearly 80 million a year. The percentage growth rate is slowing and may eventually stop, but the population has already reached an unsustainable level of 6.9 billion. Britain will suffer more than most as it is one of the most crowded countries on Earth and it is a net importer of millions of tonnes of food each year, including 95% of the fruit that we eat.
    The Royal Society must be mad if they think that it needs a two year study to consider "the extent to which population will be a significant variable in rates of progress towards sustainable economic and social development over the next thirty years and beyond". Over the next 30 years it is forecast that there will be another two billion people needing food, other resources and space. It should be obvious to everyone that this will be "significant".

    earth AGW
  • James Delingpole in the Telegraph - "Amazongate: why it matters" with various links.
    The story follows an apology in the Sunday Times following a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. Though the apology was published three weeks ago, the PCC have still not published their statement of how the complaint was resolved.

  • To open your mouth Guardian - "Climategate shows the need for openness by scientists", or not News Busters - "UN's IPCC Tells Scientists To 'Keep A Distance From The Media'".

  • Scottish Greens complain about the pulling of their £4,000 a house subsidy - Herald - "Anger as plug pulled on home energy scheme".

  • Scientists say that Arctic Ice will this year reach a record (since this series of measurements began in 1979) low - BBC - "Feeling the heat: Unlocking the Arctic's frozen secrets".
    Predicting that something will happen in a few months is a goood game, as the usual culprits will report it as fact. "Watts Up With That" have different views on what might happen and why - "Sea Ice News #13".

    Sunday 11 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - Louisiana - "Crescent City Connection tolls are up for debate"   Oregon / Washington State - "How to build a bridge over the Columbia".

    britain" From the Land of Whimsy
    Two examples that show the new Government is, like the last, liable to be blown on to some strange courses.

  • BBC - "Gove 'to help schools disappointed by building cuts'".
    It might be nice to have all new school buildings, but even if there was some slight correlation between shiny new buildings and education standards, it is a very expensive of achieving higher standards. "Building Schools for the Future" was a follow on from PFI. The schools were not necessarily privately financed, but the scheme did however continue the other faults of PFI. The schemes are bureaucratic, time consuming and expensive. They favour demolition and new building, rather than other alternatives which give better value. The public bodies which indulge in them only do so because they are given extra money to cover the costs of these schemes. If they do something else then they get nothing.

  • BBC - "'Too few ethnic officers' and 'discrimination' at GCHQ".
    Given that you don't have to be born in Britain to serve in the Army, it is not surprising that we may soon be recruiting foreign agents to listen in on us!

    earth AGW
  • Christopher Booker in the Telegraph - "Amazongate: At last we reach the source".

    Saturday 10 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on "open road" tolling - Dallas Morning News - "Editorial: Tollways need to close gates to non-payers".

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey - "Report to Christie administration recommends privatizing tolls, state parks, social services".

    canada Leading Toronto toll tout still pushing
  • Two wheeled writer still pushing against four wheels - Globe and Mail - "Don’t give up on tolls yet".

    Friday 9 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on proposed new tolls in West Virginia - Register-Herald - "The future of our highways"   Register-Herald - "Parkways agrees to pact with DOT for tolls"   Charleston Gazette - "Parkways takes first step toward U.S. 35 tolls"   Metro News - "More Than Tolls Needed For U.S. Route 35".

  • Sundry stories - New Jersey - "Christie administration recommends massive privatization of N.J. services"   Illinois - "The need for speed, study examines congestion pricing"   Washington State - "Tolling is coming our way — just like the BP oil spill"   Illinois - "What happens if you blow through a toll stop?".

    southkorea Too fast in Korea
  • Arirang - "Lower Speed Limit to be Applied for Cars Passing Through Highway Tolls".

    britain" Manchester's plan B hits the rocks
  • MEN - "Ministers slam the brakes on £560m of transport hopes". These schemes that will probably not proceed were part of the plan that the politicians denied existed when they were trying to sell the Manchester Con plan. If they had not wasted several years and many millions on the Con plan, these schemes might have already been built.
    PS It seems that the schemes killed are all the roads one, the public transport schemes are going ahead - MEN - "Transport cuts bite deep".

    britain" More pensions to be hit
  • The new Government's Budget included a change in the rules so that public sector pensions would be based on the CPI rather than RPI. As this was buried in the details, there was almost no reaction to it, though the change means that if someone had retired in the year that the Consumer Price Index is based on (it started in 1996, but was retrospectively calculated back to 1988) and the new rules had applied since then, the pension would now be 16 per cent less than the RPI based one. It has now been announced that the change in the rules will also apply to company pension schemes - BBC - "Plan to change private pension inflation link"   BBC - Robert Peston blog - "Government cuts private pensions".
    What Britain needs is a fair national unified scheme (public and private) which is funded and where a pension is based on what was paid in during a person's life. The chances of getting such a fair scheme are zero, because those who benefit from the current inefficient and corrupt mess are those who wield the power in Britain.

    britain" Another mad idea
  • The Coalition intend to hand NHS spending power to GPs - BBC - "NHS shake-up 'hands funding powers to GPs'".
    GPs did their best to stop the Labour Government from setting up the National Health Service at the end of the Second World War. Beavan said that to get any cooperation he had to "stuff their mouths with gold". They are still independent contractors who have to be paid numerous supplements to do what would otherwise be part of their job. To put them in charge of NHS budgets is like letting a cowboy contractor have your bank card and PIN.

    earth AGW
  • Bit more on "hide the decline" Inquiries - MSN - "Are you satisfied with the British panel's conclusion that while 'Climategate' scientists were not always forthcoming, their science was sound?" POLL   Journal Sentinel - "They even said it wasn't about the science"   Guardian - "How has 'Climategate' affected the battle against climate change?".

    Thursday 8 July 2010

    costarica Even more woe for road toll company
  • Inside Costa Rica - "Ombudswoman Wants A Review Of the Tolls On The San José - Caldera".

    britain" The Old Lady keeps foot down on the inflation throttle, but is not yet adding more fuel to the tank
  • BBCf - "UK interest rates maintained at record low of 0.5%"   BofE - "Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and the Size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £200 billion".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Another example of the patience (or ignorance?) of American drivers who will crawl along for 12 miles at the toll booths, while the trolls see if they can fleece the sheep with less pain - Sun Journal (Maine) - "Let's hope the York plaza jam is soon history".

  • Sundry stories - California - "Higher Tolls Could End Up Reducing Bridge Traffic" video   West Virginia - "U.S. 35: Toll road or bust, DOH says" some comments   Texas - "Toll lanes ahead on MoPac?"   Washington State - "Boss to run for Pierce County Council seat".

    britain" Reaction to possible Dorset Con
  • Bournemouth Echo - "‘Road tolls will drive motorists elsewhere’ warns Poole tourism chief".

    canada Proposal to narrow roads in Montreal because of congestion
  • Montreal Gazette - "You can't blame the Plateau for trying to cut traffic".

    switzerland Ultimate answer to road congestion?
  • BBC - "Solar-powered plane lands safely after 26-hour flight".
    This might solve the problem of congestion when travelling from A to B, but with a wing span of 200 feet, there might be a parking problem when you got there!

    earth AGW
  • More on the report of the "independent" inquiry into the "hide the decline" emails and withholding of source data - Prison Planet - "Climategate Whitewash Complete: Third Inquiry Clears Everyone Involved"   Gerald Warner in Telegraph - "Climategate: reinstating Phil Jones is good news – the CRU brand remains toxic"   Guardian editorial - "Climate change: The science stands".

  • More "Proof" that AGW must exist - ABC (Oz) - "Bookies buying into climate change race".
    More money being paid out on natural disasters does not prove that it is getting warmer, or if so, then why. There will be bigger payouts because there are a lot more people in the world, many of them living in areas at risk, and the proportion of people who are insured will also be increasing.

  • "Science" says that humans started changing the climate 15 thousand years ago - New Scientist - "Prehistoric humans may have pushed climate change".
    The current "Holocene" period which began 12 thousand or so years ago, is just the latest in a series of interglacial (or glacial minima) within the current Ice Age which began nearly 3 million years ago. These not so cold periods seem to have occurred every 70 thousand years or so and last about 15 thousand years. It is not plausible that these interglacials are caused by man, though it is possible that AGW exists and may delay the start of the next glacial period.

  • The top 500 of non-believers - Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in Toronto - "Skeptical Authors on Climate Science".

    Wednesday 7 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Bit more on the bust toll in South Carolina - Smart Money - "Toll Road Less Traveled Driven to Bankruptcy"   Sun News - "Toll road bill falls to taxpayers".

  • Sundry stories - West Virginia - "Tolls to be taken on W.Va. section of Mon-Fayette"   West Virginia - "State Exploring Route 35 Toll Road; Public Meetings Set" video   Oregon - "How to Build a Better Bridge? Portland, Oregon’s Traffic Conundrum".

    britain" "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    .... Go, go, go like a soldier,
    So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!"

  • UKIP - "UK troops in Afghanistan to pull out of Sangin".
    The British public are fed fables about the fighting in Afghanistan. The Taliban formed the Government of Afghanistan, before the US and its allies helped opponents to overthrow it. The Taliban Government was unpopular, but there has been almost continuous civil war in Afghanistan since 1978, and the Taliban were only formed in 1994. The forces that are now described as "Taliban" are probably fighting to get the "infidel" troops out, rather than to get the Taliban back in power.
    At least the US and Britain are not like the Soviet Union, fighting opponents who have been supplied by the US with a vast deadly arsenal including Stingray missiles which helped the mujahideen to destroy 450 Soviet helicopters and planes before the Soviet forces withdrew the last of their troops in 1989.

    earth More AGW
  • Results of the "independent" inquiry into the "hide the decline" emails and withholding of source data - BBC - "CRU climate scientists 'did not withold data'"   NY Times - "British Panel Clears Climate Scientists"   Guardian - "Climategate: No whitewash, but CRU scientists are far from squeaky clean"   THE REPORT.

    britain" chimaera More on RAC Foundation plan
  • UKIP - "Toll roads take us back to the dark ages"   Fleet Directory - comment.

    london Judgement of Solomon - a vitual Berlin wall
  • Labour want to keep the Western zone, but with residents of it excluded from the original zone unless they pay the full charge - Evening Standard - "Divide congestion zone in two to keep £55m revenue, says Labour".

    britain" More tolls waste
  • Scunthorpe Telegraph - "New hi-tech tolls system aims to beat congestion across Humber Bridge" inc a poll   BBC - "Plans to replace Humber Bridge toll system".
    "Open road" tolling is expensive to set up and introduces lots of problems with cameras and tags and drivers either deliberately not paying or being wrongly accused of not paying. It is designed for roads, not for a river crossing where there is no practical alternative, this means that the present cash system will have to be kept, and two systems increases the chances of accidents as drivers approach the tolling area.
    If the political establishment wanted to help businesses in the Humberside area then they would scrap the tolls.

    nigeria Nigerian toll dispute
  • Sun (Lagos) - "Road of contention ...Lekki-Epe road pitch 50 communities against Lagos govt".

    canada Bit more on latest Toronto toll touting
  • Toronto Life - "Toronto road tolls go from abhorrent to approved: how'd that happen?".

    earth AGW
  • Another "inquiry" - BBC - "Climate e-mail inquiry prepares to report"   Guardian - "Q&A: 'Climategate'".

  • The Met Office have published their - Climate Summary for June 2010. They say that "Mean temperatures were above average in all areas". Their Anomaly map (if it is not on June 2010, then select that month and click on the display arrow), paints an even redder picuture with most of Britain being two degrees Celsius warmer than the mean maximum, and some parts three degrees warmer.
    There is the continuing puzzle as to why is what the Met Office says so different to what most people experience. Are they deliberately "cooking" their figures? Or is the whole system useless for showing how warm people feel as the Met Office temperatures take no account of the effect of winds?

  • Elsewhere in the world there are the usual reports of heat waves, including in China which is supposed to be experiencing record high temperatures. It is also having record use of electric power, which on Monday reached 13 billion kilowatt-hours. This compares with British consumption in a year of 380 terawatt-hours, which is about one terawatt-hour a day or one billion kilowatt-hours. Per head the Chinese generation of electricity has now reached about 60% of our levels. Let us hope that they rediscover the hand held fan!

    Tuesday 6 July 2010

    usa USA Roundup
  • Sundry stories - California - "Increase in Bay Area bridge tolls could help public transit"   New Jersey - "Turnpike to consider advertisements on toll plazas".

    britain" Car sales up
  • BBC - "UK new car sales rise 10.8% in June"   SMMT report (zip files).

    britain" chimaera Bit more on Here we go again
  • Telegraph - "Road pricing could become yet another tax"   Express - "Drivers Will Pay Tax Per Mile, Says RAC".

    wales FTA welcomes the last minute protest
  • MHW - "Freight Transport Association FTA celebrates as Welsh Assembly Government considers impact of Severn tolls".

    canada usa Update on the International bridge tussle
  • CNN - "A Detroit billionaire's chokehold on the Canadian border".

    canada Bit more on Nova Scotia toll increases
  • Chronicle Herald - "Get set to dig for a loonie"   Metro - "Proposal calls for hike in tolls".

    canada More on latest Toronto toll touting
  • Sun - "A call for tolls".

    singapore More on tag system being changed to spy in the sky
  • Today - "More flexible road pricing with satellites".

    australia City may take a share in "privatised" toll
  • Brisbane Times - "Council Gateway bid likely".

    earth AGW
  • From someone who believes that a very large part of a planet's heat comes from under your feet - Rightside News - "It’s Clouds Illusions That I Recall"   Climate Realists - "Unified Earth Science Theory by Joseph A. Olson".

  • Making AGW so simple that even a numbskull doubter can believe - Real Climate - "A simple recipe for GHE".

  • Inquiries - BBC - "Dutch review backs UN climate panel report"   Gerald Warner in Telegraph - "As third Climategate report is published, even computer models turn against AGW alarmists"   Guardian - "Who's who in the UEA hacked emails controversy over climate change?".

  • Telegraph - "Electric cars must be taxed to pay for more power stations 'or National Grid could fail'".
    Perhaps the solution is that electric cars should be fitted with pedals, just like Clive Sinclair's C5. As a large part of the vehicle weight is in the battery etc, it would help further if you de-electrified the car!

  • NY Times - "China Fears Consumer Impact on Global Warming". If China was really serious about this then why does it not have fuel taxes?

    Monday 5 July 2010

    britain" Election fraud
  • A not so equal vote on voting - BBC - "Nick Clegg facing anger over voting referendum date".

    In part the Coalition are conning the public, in part they probably have little idea what they are doing -
  • The proposal for fixed term Parliaments and the arrangements about how many votes are needed to end the Parliament prematurely can be avoided by a Government one way or another. It would be better to reduce the maximum period to say 4 years, but let an election be called earlier based on either a simple majority of MPs or the decision of the head of state.

  • It is an anomaly to have an unelected head of state. The Parliamentary role of the monarch should be filled by either an elected President or an electoral college.

  • The House of Lords should go, but replacing it with an elected second chamber, means in effect a lot more MPs. It would be better to either not have a second chamber or replace the Lords with people who were there as represenatives of all the significant national bodies - trade unions, employer's organisations, churches, charities, academic insitutions etc. The second chamber would still have the power to delay legislation, but it would be for a shorter period than now.

  • The transferrable vote and alternative vote systems give the impression of fairness, but in reality ensure that we still have a two / three party state. It would be better to either keep first past the post or replace it with proper proportional representation.

  • Most important of all is that we need an English Parliament and an English Government. It is grossly unfair that Scots, Welsh and Irish who have their own Parliaments and Governments can vote on English law and administer what goes on in England.
  • canada Nova Scotia toll increases
  • CBC - "Bridge authority applies for toll increase"   Chronicle Herald - "Bridge tolls likely going up".

    britain" More on last ditch effort to get rid of Dartford tolls
  • Thurrock Gazette - "Tolls to go - but you still have to pay!".

    vietnam Public opinion problem
  • Saigon GP Daily - "Infrastructure projects need residents’ concurrence to attract investment".

    britain" chimaera Here we go again - NO!
    On today's lunchtime Politics Show, Stephen Hammond - the Transport Secretary - was the main guest, he was there mainly to talk about the 25% to 40% spending cut targets. Later on the show had the boss of RAC Foundation in the studio, to sell road tolls. Stephen Hammond was asked for his opinion. He said that Britain already had "pay as you go" road pricing, it was called fuel duty and he rejected the RAC Foundation idea. He said that the question might have to be looked again in 20 to 30 years time if there were significant numbers of cars that were not powered by petrol or diesel. When pressed again to say "yes", "no" or "possibly" to road pricing, he gave a clear no.

    PS A more detailed account (the programme is not available on BBC's iplayer) - When asked what do you think of the RAC Foundation proposal, Stephen Hammond said - "The truth is we do pay as you go, because we burn fuel as we go, and we pay very substantial hydro-carbon duty to the Treasury. So we do have a pay as you go system.
    We've ruled out a national road pricing scheme, and we've also said that we won't do any preparations for a scheme in this Parliament.
    It's because at the moment, the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the road, (now) and for the foreseeable future, will burn petrol and diesel on which we have a very good pay as you go system - hydro-carbon duty.
    Now there will come in 20 / 30 years, a time when the majority of vehicles on our roads may not burn hydro-carbon and there may then be another discussion.

    The ex CBI boss, Digby Jones, then asked about foreign lorries using British roads but not buying their fuel here. Stephen Hammond said that the proposed Lorry Road User Charging scheme would deal with this, but it would not apply to cars.
    And then at the end of the discussion, he again gave a clear no, though this is unlikely to stop those who are pushing road tolls and roads privatisation.

    PPS Some readers comments in the Guardian - "For whom, the road tolls?".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Vancouver's anti-toll Mayor replaced by body snatchers - Oregon Live - "Straight talk? Vancouver mayor's stance on CRC tolls spins out of control" video.

  • Sundry stories - Texas - "Why the 'Y' project stalled, and what now"   Florida - "Proposal To Make Causeway Safer For Cyclists".
    Texas - "The NTTA Inconvenience"   Virginia - "Plan to replace U.S. 460 carries high price tag"   Massachusetts - "Toll taker pleads guilty to pocketing cash"   Texas - "A toll-free ride for thousands of North Texas drivers"   Texas - "On toll tags and freeloaders: Thoughts for a holiday weekend".

    australia New toll bridge opens
  • Australian - "Toll a bridge too far for most motorists"   Courier-Mail - "Go Between Bridge opens in test of motorists' willingness to pay toll".

    japan Weekend effect of trial removal of some tolls
  • Japan Today - "Toll-free expressway trial boosts traffic volumes 67% on 1st weekend" some comments.

    costarica More woe for road toll company
  • Inside Costa Rica - "Autopistas Out Of Pocket For Loss Of Tolls And Repair Work On San José - Caldera".

    canada Toronto toll touts drooling
  • Star - "To avoid transit disaster, GTA needs road tolls and taxes now: report".
    PS Some opposition - Star - "Solving our congestion problem" letter.

    britain" chimaera Here we go again
  • The road tolls vampire rises from his coffin - BBC - "Future road pricing 'inevitable' - RAC Foundation"   FT - "Warning on growing road congestion"   Telegraph - "Road pricing 'inevitable', says RAC" some comments   Telegraph - "Road pricing Q&A"   Guardian - "Privatise major roads, says RAC thinktank"   Mirror - "Half want pay as you drive tolls"   RAC Foundation - "Time for change to avoid gridlock" inc link to report.
    This "charity" is making another attempt to deceive drivers, presumably in league with the other trolls including the DfT. Those behind this must realise that the facts about the cost of setting up and enforcing a system of road tolls, and the facts about the failure of the M6 Toll will come out. So why do they keep pushing this poison?

    Saturday 3 July 2010

    britain" Dartford Question
  • This is Local London - "Dartford Crossing: Does removal of barriers plan give red light to sale?".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Turning a blind eye - Dallas Morning News - "Camera system's flaws cost tollway authority millions in lost revenue"   Dallas Morning News - "Thousands of NTTA customers are never billed".

  • Few more reports on the major Bay area toll changes which started on Thursday - Times Herald - "Many turn to buses, ferries as tolls jump"   Mercury News - "As congestion pricing kicks in, drivers hit the brakes to save a buck"   SF Weekly - "No Tickets Given to Drivers Who Stopped, Dawdled to Beat Bay Bridge 'Congestion Pricing'".

    vietnam More private capital in Communist Vietnam
  • Thanh Nien News - "PPP touted as funding panacea".

    earth AGW
  • George Monbiot mocks "climate change deniers" for querying the IPCC claim that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests" would be affected by AGW. He implies that far more than 50% will be affected - Guardian - "The IPCC messed up over 'Amazongate' – the threat to the Amazon is far worse".
    This is the usual case of the Greens wailing over something hypothetical (that AGW may exist and if it does then it may lead to less rain over the forests) and ignoring bigger and more real problems. Tha Amazon rain forest is being lost due to deliberate deforestation, not due to reduced rainfall caused by AGW. In fact it is the other way round as forests act as carbon sinks and also increase rain, so less forests means more CO2 and less rain - Rain-tree - "The Disappearing Rainforests".

    Friday 2 July 2010

    australia Business boycott
  • Courier-Mail - "Businesses slap bans on Brisbane toll roads".

    london More fog from the Guardian
  • "Not clearing the air".

    usa USA Roundup
  • More reports on the major Bay area toll changes which started yesterday - San Francisco Chronicle - "New tolls don't gum up Bay Bridge commute"   Mercury News - "As congestion pricing kicks in, drivers hit the brakes to save a buck"   San Francisco Chronicle - "Early morning at the Bay Bridge: you got exact change?"   ABC - "Congestion pricing is here to stay" video   NBC - "Toll Increase Day One Traffic Report"   CBS - "Few Problems As Bay Area Bridge Tolls Go Up" video   Berkeleyside - "Should casual carpoolers pay for new Bay Bridge toll?" video   SF Weekly - "Commuters Slowing, Stopping on Freeway to Foil Bay Bridge 'Congestion Pricing'".

  • More on planned tolls on Ohio river crossing from Indiana to Kentucky - News & Tribune - "Ohio River Bridges plan gets boos and cheers"   Courier-Journal - "Ohio River bridges plan likely to include tolls, authority says"   WLKY - "Bridge Toll Debate Continues" video   Wave - "Topic of bridge project still taking a toll".

  • Sundry stories - Texas - "Celina enters fray as area counties fight for toll road"   Virginia - "Are tolls on the way for I-95?".
    North Carolina - "Charlotte Interstates Could Become Toll Roads" video   California - "Metrolink fares and 91 Express Lanes tolls increase".

    india India to tag cars
  • Trak - "Woohoo…Automated Toll system coming soon!"   Hindustan Times - "New electronic toll collection system by May 2012: Nath"   Indian Press Office - "Government Accepts Experts Committee Report on ETC Technology; Nationwide: Operations to Begin by May 2012".

    london On Red
  • BBC - "Transport for London plans to scrap 145 traffic lights'".
    Traffic lights numbers, their timing and advance stop lines are all intended to slow and impede traffic. In many cases alternatives would reduce congestion without increasing risks for pedestrians, but changes will be opposed by the anti car brigade, we will have to see how much power the Mayor has against them.

    australia Not so empty
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "Clem 7 improves traffic with toll cut"   Courier-Mail - comments.

    australia Backing tolls and congestion charging
  • The Australian - "Congestion charges inevitable"   Supply Chain Review - "IA wants freight prioritised; backs congestion charging".
    Infrastructure Australia is a Government Quango chaired by Sir Rod Eddington who produced a pro tolls report ("Eddington Transport Study" published in December 2006) for the British Government before he jetted back home.

    singapore Bit more on tag system being changed to spy in the sky
  • Transcript of what the Minister said - Gov Monitor - "Singapore Outlines Plans To Encourage Use Of Green Technologies".

    britain" MPs vote for status quo
  • Guardian - "Referendum on Westminster voting reform 'next May'".
    It had been expected that MPs would back the "Single transferable vote", but they have instead gone for the "Alternative vote" which is more usually called the "Instant Runoff vote". According to Wikipedia, IRV is only used for Australia's lower chamber, Papua New Guinea's single chamber and the Irish President.
    Compared with the current system of "First past the post" both STV and AV favour the Lib Dems, though the STV may have been slightly better for them. None of the systems are in any way proportional representation. The MPs have voted for a system which they intend will deceive people into thinking it is democratic, while they maintain the big party grip on UK Parliament.

    britain" Cleaning up
  • BBC - "Bid to speed up Trawsfynydd's nuclear decommissioning".
    Nuclear power seems likely to be our main source of power, as fossil fuels are depleted and become more expensive, but the costs seem to be very high. For a small nuclear plant located in the middle of nowhere and which ceased operation in 1991, it seems that 550* people have been employed in cleaning it up, and they now want to increase the number of workers! (*According to the official site there are currently 630 people employed there.)

    earth AGW
  • Not surprisingly, his University peers find that Michael Mann is whiter than white - NY Times - "Climate Scientist Cleared of Altering Data"   University of Pennsylvania - "Investigation of climate scientist at Penn State complete".

    Thursday 1 July 2010

    phillipines Attempt to stop Phillipines toll increases
  • Business Mirror - "With 8 petitions vs toll hike, TRB sets hearing".

    usa More reports on the Bay area toll changes which started today
  • Mercury News - "Bay Bridge: No big problems as higher tolls begin this morning"   SF Chronicle - "Toll hike kicks in - morning commute is light".

    australia New privately owned toll road may need $2 to 3 billion of public money
  • The Australian - "Doubt over which way to turn on Sydney motorway".

  • There is also consideration of tolling existing free roads (including one that has just had the toll removed as promised) to help pay for building of more toll roads - Sydney Morning Herald - "Tolls examined to fund motorway expansions".

    wales Last minute protest
  • BBC - "Severn bridge tolls have a negative impact" video of Assembly debate.
    It is wonderful that the Welsh Lib Dem Leader wants the tolls removed. But not only is he prepared to wait at least six years for this, but he only makes a big issue of it on the day that he leaves the Welsh Assembly and heads for the House of Lords.

    britain" Going Green
  • Car makers are worried that subsidies for electric cars may be reduced as part of the Government spending cuts - Guardian - "UK government blocking green car take-up, say electric vehicle makers" pdf.

  • Meanwhile there is cash for green car clubs - DfT - "Car clubs are set to benefit from an extra £40,000 of Government funding, Transport Minister Norman Baker announced today". The good part of this story is that the Government are only going to waste £40,000 on this - or the price of one of the cheaper Lexus hybrids.

    usa USA Roundup
  • A few of the many reports on the Bay area toll changes which start today - Times Herald - "Carpoolers, other commuters will feel pinch of rising tolls"   KTVU - "Tolls To Increase For All Bay Area Bridges Thursday"   Marin Independent Journal - "Last free carpooler over Golden Gate Bridge bemoans 'tax' to bail out bridge district"   Streetsblog - "Reporters, Upset Over Bridge Toll Increase, Get Weird And Whiny".

  • Sundry stories - Texas - "Where should the DNT go? Collin, Denton fight over the billion-dollar question"   Georgia - "Violators of Ga. 400 toll will face stiffer penalties"   New York - "E-ZPass not E-Z in credit change"   Indiana - "Cost to use Toll Road increases today"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "E-Z Pass express lane could open in Nov. on Route 80 Delaware River bridge"   Michigan - "Longmeadow toll bridge report finished"   North Carolina - "Budget restores bridge funding".

    singapore More on tag system possibly being changed to spy in the sky
  • Asia One - "Next: ERP in the sky"   Today - "LTA studying alternative to ERP system"  PC World - "Singapore Plans to Fight Road Congestion With Satellites".

    canada Update on New Brunswick bridge toll squabble
  • Metro - "Feds, N.B. bicker over bridge toll proposal".

    taiwan Taiwanese Givernment trying to force more use of e-tolls
  • China Post - "OBU-free cars to be allowed in ETC lanes on freeways".

    nigeria More Nigerian tolls to kick in during August
  • Compass - "Collection of tolls begins on Lekki-Epe Expressway August".

    australia More toll increases
  • South East Advertiser - "Gateway toll up".

    britain" What you are supposed to think
  • RAC - "RAC Report on Motoring 2010: The driver’s perspective" pdf.
    The "RAC" is part of the Aviva insurance group. There is no direct reference to what drivers think of tolls, but the RAC appears to be still trying to flog the road pricing horse. They claim that "Two thirds (of drivers) want motoring taxes to be directly linked to how much a car is used. In addition, half of motorists believe it should be linked to when and where they drive." This is intended to imply that drivers would support road pricing and "congestion charging", but the truth is that the overwhelming majority of drivers believe that they are already paying too much in taxes, that tolls are the most unpopular form of tax (unless it is someone else that is paying them!) and that fuel taxes are the preferred way of taxing for roads use.

    earth AGW
  • Carbon trading scam starts to push up pump prices - Telegraph - "Prices rise as New Zealand passes emissions trading scheme"   NZ Herald - "Fuel price rises eat into tax cuts"   Official Government site that promotes the carbon trading scam.

  • Watts Up With That? as reproduced on Prison Planet - "Antarctic ice is at a record high and growing at the 'steepest slope ever'".

  • "Guardian debate: Was 'climategate' the greatest scandal to hit climate science or a mere storm in a teacup?".
    There is not much doubt who's side the chairman or Prof Watson will be on. The title of Fred Pearce's book implies he is a sceptic, but he seems to be a believer. That leaves Douug Keenan who was one of the people that exposed Climategate, perhaps deep down he is also a believer?

  • How to bring the masses back to church - Nature News - "Climate science: An erosion of trust?" (inc link at bottom to editorial).

  • Government bans promotion of low energy light bulbs and subsidies for DIY insulation - Telegraph - "Crackdown on promotion of energy saving light bulbs".

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