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Monday 30 June 2008

usa USA Roundup - later stories
  • Florida - "The new SunPass Mini goes on sale Tuesday" - "Illinois Toll Road Overbills Wisconsin Drivers"   " 183A toll north of Austin, Texas to go cashless".

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - Déjà vu
    The Daily Telegraph has the story from last Monday (though to be fair, the other nationals have not bothered to report this blow to national road pricing plans) - "Cambridge is the latest to drop pay as you drive scheme plans".

    britain" chimaera "Credit" for new motoring tax
    The AA motoring boss says that it was he who suggested to Gordon Brown "the principle of taxing vehicles linked to their CO2 performance" - Guardian Comment - "Apply the brakes on retrospective tax". It is difficult to say which is more amazing. Is it the proposal to do this through increasing a fixed tax which does not vary with the amount of fuel used? Or is it that the AA seems to think that this will give them brownie points from drivers? Though on second thoughts would any self respecting Guardian reader travel in a car?

    usa USA Roundup
  • Tennessee - "Toll roads opposed"   Texas - "Toll agency going after rental car drivers"   Florida - "Broward County: County joins with Collier to oppose Alligator Alley lease".

    britain" ABD welcomes Driver's Alliance
    The Association of British Drivers have issued a press release welcoming the creation of a new driver's group. The group is being formed by Peter Roberts of petition fame who is also an ABD member. What is not clear is how the two groups will relate to each other.

    china usa Comparison of Chinese and American fuel prices
  • China Stakes - "China Driving: Lower Gas Prices than in the US, But Higher Costs". The writer suggests that China should raise gas prices and get rid of tolls. That was the Chinese plan till quite recently, but as various people benefit from corruptly run tolls and the Chinese have both the Europeans and the Americans urging them to have even more tolls, it is likely that the Chinese system will continue to subsidise the inefficient use of fuel and increase vehicle emissions.

    france French Truckers protesting again
    Paris is today's target for truckers who are unhappy about fuel costs and plans for more and higher tolls.

    australia Review of Troll stock
  • FN Arena - "Austock Still Buying MIG After Asset Tour".

    singapore Some complaints about Singapore tolls
    Suggestions include a) that congestion is caused by "unbiquitous road works, tree pruning and numerous traffic lights" and traffic lanes being blocked by taxis and other vehicles waiting (one reason for waiting is the ERP system) and the issue of more licences; and b) drivers and businesses might prefer congestion to increased ERP tolls; and c) that "the new ERP charge at Fullerton Road will only divert traffic .. and worsen the congestion .. Already, office workers are finding it difficult to leave the area because of the congestion." - Asia One - "Taxi evening surcharge in the city should go"   Asia One - "Policies on ERP and COEs seem contradictory"   Today Online - "Will ERP mean ‘Every road pay’?".

    Sunday 29 June 2008

    ireland Irish drivers to be tagged
  • Sunday Post - "Breaking down barriers". At one time Eire was known as the Irish Free State, perhaps it should now be renamed the Irish Tolled State.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Washington Post - "Va. Toll Road Scofflaws, Beware: State Says Pay Up". At an average charge of over $500 for each missed toll, perhaps drivers need to change their identities or commit a real crime that is punished with a smaller fine or better still - move to a toll free state.

  • Pennsylvania - "Turnpike lease matter of numbers"   Alaska - "Knik bridge questions"   Massachusetts - "Toll Insanity"   Virginia - "Two Options Left for Transportation Fix"   Oregon / Washington State - "COLUMBIA RIVER CROSSING"   Pennsylvania - "Report suggests PennDOT can manage itself better".

    Saturday 28 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Lib Dems complain that their road toll plans are ignored by the Press
    Part of a letter in today's Indepednent from the Lib Dem Shadow Transport Secretary - "It was barely two weeks ago that Nick Clegg and I launched a radical transport policy that commits the Lib Dems to the introduction of trunk road charging, a surcharge on domestic flights, the building of a high-speed rail network, and the undoing of much of what Dr Beeching did in the 1960s. By any accounts, these are far-reaching proposals, but sadly they went unreported by your paper.".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Virginia is looking for more cash to pay for "transportation". Politicians are saying that this should come from leasing out toll roads and adding tolls to other roads and increasing a variety of non roads taxes, here are a couple of contrary voices - Daily Press - "Gas tax numbers"   Daily Press - "Raise the gas tax".

  • Most reports say that due to high gas prices, traffic is down and that this has also effected toll roads. Some reports, including this one from New Jersey, contradict this and say that there are still long lines of vehicles queuing to pay the tolls - Home News Tribune - "Gas prices not slowing summer traffic".

  • Other stories - Texas - "Northeast Loop 820 expansion stalls again"   Oregon / Washington State - "Interstate 205 bridge over the Columbia River may get tolls"   North Carolina - "Bond or toll proposed as choices for new I-85 bridge"   Texas - "Trans-Texas Corridor changes direction"   Oregon / Washington State - "Columbia Crossing: a bridge too expensive?"   Texas - "Possible toll road at U.S. 59".

    Friday 27 June 2008

    australia The root cause of congestion on roads, and more trival things like lack of water
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "Sick of the congestion? Time to talk about immigration".

    slovenia croatia Slovenia upsets Croatia
  • Bloomberg - "Slovenia Makes You Pay 500% More to Drive to Croatia on July 1".

    usa USA Roundup
  • There have been some reports that the planned Super Highway cutting across Texas from Mexico had been scaled down. But it seems that the massive scheme has a momentum of its own - WOAI - "Zachry Wins TTC Concession, Anti Toll Groups Call Deal "Sham""   Dallas Morning News - "Toll road team awarded Trans-Texas Corridor project"   Atlantic Free Press - "SuperCorridor Defeat? Don't Bet On It"   Houston Chronicle - "Commission picks developer for I-69 project".

  • This story mentions that some tolls my be "reduced" and replaced with shadow tolls. A mistake?   SC Times (California)- "OCTA’s Long-Range Traffic Study".

  • Other stories - Massachusetts - "Busted Mass Pike toll collectors arraigned"   "N.J.-to-Pa. bridge tolls may be $5 by fall"   Hawaii - "Council may study congestion pricing"   Florida - "Leasing our roads is highway robbery"   "Pennsylvania lawmakers scrutinize proposed 75-year lease of turnpike"   New York - "C.B. 1 shifts gears on greenway"   New York - "Mike Bloomberg pays back GOP for congestion pricing plan support"   California - "Stronger emissions plan urged"   New Jersey / New York - "Traffic declines at Hudson River crossings"   "Florida DOT Reissues RFQ for Alligator Alley".

    britain" chimaera Manchester Toll meeting
    The ten Council leaders in the Greater Manchester area meet this morning to discuss the Government's acceptance of the TIF submission that was made by AGMA and the GMPTA last August. For more details see the Manchester news page.

    finland russia Finnish plan to toll Russian trucks may not be legal
  • Newsroom Finland - "International law scholars shatter Finnish lorry fee proposal"   YLE - "EU & Finance Minister: Truck Tolls Impossible".

    britain" Humber Toll - Views sought
  • BBC - "Views sought in bridge toll study". Some info on how to submit views - North Lincolnshire Council.

    Thursday 26 June 2008

    london usa Diplomats' bill
    MPs were today told by the Foreign Secretary that diplomats owe ten million pounds for unpaid London "congestion" charges, of which one quarter is owed by America - AP - "US Embassy in London's unpaid road tolls"   Bloomberg - "U.S. Diplomats Owe London $4.7 Million in Unpaid Traffic Fines".
    The details of the Ministerial statement-
    "The number of outstanding fines incurred by diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom for non-payment of the London congestion charge since its introduction in February 2003 until 14 May 2008 was 175,482. The table below shows the 10 diplomatic missions with the highest value of outstanding fines:"
    Mission Number of fines outstanding Value (£)
    USA 23,188 2,347,205
    Japan 13,062 1,334,560
    Russian Federation 12,765 1,308,720
    Germany 11,213 1,149,050
    Nigeria 11,096 1,120,650
    Sudan 7,984 793,300
    Kenya 5,084 502,630
    Tanzania 4,654 461,080
    India 3,949 409,360
    South Africa 4,098 406,480
    By deduction the unnamed nations between them have 78,400 fines, and based on the average fine in the table of just over £101, the total fines bill outstanding is £17.8 million (The ten million pounds is the amount owing by the named nations only.)

    australia chimaera Upside down world
    The ultimate proof that too much lager and too much sun gets to the brain cells - most Australian drivers are said to support "congestion" taxes. Though the really upside down part is that the politicians don't - Sydney Morning Herald - "Bring on a congestion charge, say readers".

    britain" Gone?
    We have just noticed that the website ( of "The Car Party" that was set up two years ago to campaign for the interests of drivers has been vapourised. We would say it has gone without a whimper though one of their spokesmen was being quoted last week on the issue of bus lanes.

    spain Spain to change to real tolls
  • Euro Weekly - "Government reiterates the introduction of motorway tolls".

    usa USA Roundup
  • A letter in one Virginia paper today - "Oh joy. Is the Daily Press celebrating putting tolls in the paper again today? Tolls, tolls, tolls.". Surely there can't be too much tolls news?

  • We have just made the happy discovery of another anti tolls site, this one is in Florida - Tolls Create Gridlock.

  • No surprise - Dallas Morning News - "New poll shows Texans want better roads, don't want to pay for them".

  • The New York Trolls are getting ready for another push - WCBSTV - "Support For Congestion Pricing Picking Up Steam".

  • Other stories - West Virginia - "Tolls could be used to fund new U.S. 522"   Virginia - "Senate approves transportation funding bill"   Pennsylvania - "Pike lease, I-80 tolls gain support"   Virginia - "Gasoline tax best road fix"   Land Line mag - "Effort to toll I-70 in Missouri fails, once again"   Florida - "Inflated tolls stifle mobilization"   Washington State - "Transportation secretary calls for tolling of 520"   Georgia / Florida / North Carolina / South Carolina / Virginia - "Feds OK Study For Five-State Toll On I-95"   South Carolina - "Toll parkway across Johns Island raises a rumble".

    canada Toronto told to Go Tolls (by a Briton)
  • Globe and Mail - "Tolls must be considered, new trade chief says". Though not all the tolls pushing in Canada comes from Britain - Surrey Leader (BC) - "TransLink eyes car levy, tolls".

    britain" Consultants' bill to DfT
  • Yorkshire Post - "Getting nowhere at cost of £348m!".

    britain" chimaera New looks at congestion
    West Midlands - Birmingham Mail - "Council leader in cash pledge".
    Cambridge - Cambridge Network - "County Council announces commission to develop Cambridge transport strategy"   BBC - "New team to cut city congestion".

    finland russia Finnish toll plan bounces back
    It was only in May that Finland announced that it was not proceeding with a toll that would mainly have affected Russian truckers. Now the plan is back in retaliation for Russian levies on timber exported to Finland - YLE - "Foreign Ministry Proposes Tolls to Offset Timber Tariffs".

    macedonia Macedonia reduces tolls
  • Balkan Insight - "Macedonia Tackles High Oil Prices".

    Wednesday 25 June 2008

    scotland Tolls Destiny
  • Press & Journal - "Skye Bridge tolls campaigner offers to reveal location of real Stone of Destiny".

    singapore More on ERP toll increases
  • Asia One - " ERP helps business, says LTA". The authorities seem to be blind to the fact that the tolls have almost no effect.

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - More on - County Council's step back
  • CEN - "£2m on fees 'not a waste of cash'".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Here is a novel Troll argument - "The experts said the gas tax is no longer feasible because it isn’t fair as it charges people differently depending on the type of vehicle they drive" - GM Today (Wisconsin) - "Experts to state: Put in tolls".

  • Two recent stories from the
    $ "More Lawmakers Get Toll Free Driving".
    $ "Toll Roads Mean Billions in Extra Costs for Motorists".

  • Charged with unofficial theft - Boston Globe - "10 face charges of theft at tolls"   Boston Herald - "Toll takers nabbed in Pike scam".

  • Argument that roads should be financed from tax on income - Free Lance Star - "10 face charges of theft at tolls". Some of the other stories on Virginia's tranportation discussions - Daily Press - "Tolling now focus of roads debate"   NV Daily - "General Assembly eyes tax hikes"   Daily Press - "Get it done"   Washington Post - "Transportation Deal Still Stalled"   Virginian Pilot - "State panels OK increase in gas tax, tolls to fix roads"   Examiner - "Flurry of new solutions emerges, throwing tolls into the equation".

  • Other stories - New York - "MTA Strips Board Members of Toll, Rail Perks"   Pennsylvania - "Transportation secretary backs toll, lease option"   Arkansas - "No fuel tax increase likely, road program advocate says"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Free rides must end for commissioners"   Utah - "Council votes no to tolls on road"   Pennsylvania - "Adverse effects of I-80 tolling on patient care"   Oregon / Washington State - "Task force favors new I-5 bridge, light rail"   Florida - "Bridges' one-way tolls here to stay"   Oregon / Washington State - "Washington, Oregon governors back I-5 replacement bridge with tolls, transit"   Wisconsin - "Charge toll in fast lanes, some suggest"   "Kansas tries to bridge $30 billion gap"   Land Line mag - "Pennsylvania’s war of words over funding".
    Pennsylvania - "Tolling of interstates praised by U.S. transportation secretary"   Massachusetts - "Digging out from debt"   Mississippi - "Funding woes fuel dilemma"   Massachusetts - "Recognizing Pike inequity"   Virginia - "New express toll lanes get run-through"   West Virginia - "DOH: W.Va. 9 not viable as toll road"   Land Line mag - "Massachusetts Turnpike Authority considers reviving, increasing tolls".

    australia chimaera Oz roundup
  • More on Congestion Tax Contagion spreading - Flinders News - "Sydney considers congestion tax" Sydney Morning Herald - "NSW says no to congestion charge".
  • Sydney Morning Herald - "The $1b toll bribe that bought Labor votes".

    newzealand Wellington toll plan
  • Stuff - "Leaders see Gully funding hurdles"   Scoop - "Transmission Gully makes no sense, say Greens"   NZ Herald - "$1bn Transmission Gully highway gets go ahead".

    britain" chimaera Much ado
  • Guardian - "Fiat criticised for CO2 ad claims". A pity that the Advertising Standards Authority can't investigate how drivers are conned into believing that CO2 emissions are more important than fuel economy (though there is a close correlation).

    britain" Greens worried
  • Independent - "The eco-crunch: Can Britain still afford to go green?".

    britain" Candid advice from Lib Dems on Green taxes for Tories
    Yesterday the Commons debated the "cost of living". Vince Cable the Lib Dem spokesman on the economy (and ex economist for Shell) concentrated on Tory proposals. He said -
    "The second proposal, which interested me particularly, was shifting the burden of taxation away from families. It talks about “our commitment to increase the proportion of taxation raised through green taxes by rebalancing taxation away from taxing ‘good’ things, like jobs and investment, towards taxing ‘bad’ things, like pollution and carbon emissions.” When I read that ... I felt that I had read that somewhere before and, in fact, I wrote it. The Conservatives have lifted our green tax switch policy of several years ago.
    As a candid friend, I can tell the Conservatives in strict confidence that adopting Liberal Democrat policy in that respect would not be without problems. There are two ways in which that Conservative policy - I take it as a compliment that they have borrowed it from us - could be delivered. The first is to have a carbon tax, which in reality is a tax on household fuel and even I am not brave enough to argue for that. The second is to increase taxation on transport fuels. A bit can be raised from aviation taxes, but the green tax switch, which is the third element in the Conservative proposals, in fact involves increasing taxation on the motorist.
    I do not know whether the editor of the Daily Mail has been told yet that the Conservatives are campaigning to increase taxes on the motorist."

    Tuesday 24 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Tag Hazard
  • New Scientist - "Radio ID tags can play havoc with hospital devices".

    britain" chimaera Another Tale of Two Cities
  • Birmingham Post - "Voters will have their say over road pricing"   Birmingham Post - "Refusal of congestion charge will be costly, says Bore".

    britain" chimaera Lib Dems nail their flag to sinking ship
  • Birmingham Post - "Clegg supports the congestion charging route".

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - More on - County Council takes a step back
  • Hunts Post - "County council bottles congestion charge plan"   Transport Briefing - "Cambridge congestion charge sent back to drawing board".

    britain" chimaera Darling tells regional reporters of his tolls dream
  • Lancashire Evening Post - "Pay-as-you-drive idea 'won't go away'"   Western Mail - "Road pricing ‘nowhere near being introduced’ - Darling"   Birmingham Mail - "Alistair Darling - road pricing could be reality"   Birmingham Post - "UK road charges must be considered, says Darling".

    britain" Dartford Toll - Call from Freight Transport Association for them to be scrapped
  • FTA press release.

    Monday 23 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - County Council takes a step back
  • CEN - "Exclusive: Road toll doubt as council backtracks".

    australia chimaera Congestion Tax Contagion spreading
    "Experts" are telling the people of Sydney that congestion would reduce by 8%, if there was a toll of 15 cents a kilometre on the busiest roads during peak periods while residential streets would not be tolled - Sydney Morning Herald - "Congestion tax for drivers". We wonder how the "experts" plan to stop drivers using the "quiet" residential streets to avoid the tolls - machine gun posts at intersections?

    britain" Another Car tax
  • Accountancy Age - "HMRC hurting drivers using cars for business by £700 a year".

    usa USA Roundup
  • A familiar story - WTOP (DC / Virginia) - "Who gets a free ride with E-ZPass?".

  • A familiar suggestion which seems to fall on deaf ears - Daily Press (Virginia) - "Really, it's simple".

  • Other stories - Virginia - "Special Session on Transportation Kicks Off Today"   Florida - "Up for lease: Alligator Alley - The proposal means cash infusion for state but an increase in tolls"   Missouri - "American interests should stay American - U.S. citizens should be outraged at what our leaders sell to foreigners"   North Carolina - "Interstate tolls could be coming to RTP".

    ulster Save the World
    Sinn Féin are one of the few Irish political parties that are opposed to tolls, but they are now urging the introduction of "congestion charges". They want to save the world from the effects of climate change - Belfast Telegraph - "SF: DUP minister has to take action now on climate change".

    britain" Humber - MP wants tolls reduced
  • Bridlington Free Press - "Brid MP says slash bridge toll".

    Sunday 22 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Flight of fancy
    Patricia Hewitt must be trying to get back into the Cabinet as she tells Gordon that the solution to high oil prices is road tolls - Independent - "Hewitt scolds PM over oil crisis".

    canada More on Toronto Tolls
  • Toronto Sun - "For whom the road tolls? All of us, under regional transit plan".

    britain" "Taxed out of town"
    Proposed Nottingham Parking congestion levy - Auto Express.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Daily Press (Virginia) - "We must share the load to fix the roads".

  • The increasing gap between demand and supply for oil should result in more emphasis on road user charges based on fuel to further encourage economy. Despite this the push to sell tolls goes on, including this article which promotes HOT lanes and says - "Evidence of HOT lanes' success is found from crowded European cities ...". It would be interesting to know which European cities have HOT lanes, or is this a glimpse into the future?   Free Lance Star (Virginia) - "HOT time on 95".

  • Empty roads and "staycations" in Florida - Palm Beach Post - "Gas tanks and I-95 on empty".

  • Other stories - Indiana - "Toll Road detractors air gripes with state"   California - "S.B. County transportation officials begin query into toll roads"   Virginia - "Will special session get stuck in roads rut?"   Indiana - "State Dems display united front"   Utah - "Surviving peak oil will require rethinking our transportation policies"   Virginia - "We’re not alone with road woes".

    Saturday 21 June 2008

    london Message to the Mayor
    Since the election 7 weeks ago we have heard little from the new Mayor about his pledge to consult the people and remove the western extension of the Con zone. Here is a letter from Brian Mooney of the ABD that was in the Evening Standard on the 4th, perhaps it will remind the Mayor why he should not listen to the Sirens from TfL - "The Western extension of the 'Kengestion Charge' was imposed in spite of widespread local opposition. Although abolishing it might lose some inside the area 90% discounts for venturing into the original zone, it might also save them a substantial 10% on their other journeys. It would benefit residents who have trade visits or deliveries and probably the majority travelling into the zone.

    The wider Kengestion Charge has been much hyped and failed to deliver Ken's touted 'benefits' - Cllr Phil Taylor recorded net income of only around 1% or £10m to April 2007.

    The Bow Group noticed a slight long-term decline in central London traffic levels, well before the Charge was introduced; and morning rush hour car traffic levels have been broadly static. Traffic tends to be self-regulating, as convenience trumps cost as the main concern in making a journey.

    If the Charge were totally abolished, I wouldn't see levels rising by much. Keeping it, however, will lead to a 'Big Brother' journey tracking system.

    The former Mayor dodged a public enquiry in 2000. His successor should at least give us an honest public debate on the wider zone, with the benefit of hindsight.

    Mayor Johnson should regard his pledge to keep traffic moving as his priority, and should reverse the glut of anti-car measures from recent years. In particular, he should address the congestion-causing removal of road space (e.g. under-used bus lanes depriving the majority of drivers, gratuitous removal of parking spaces, the Trafalgar Square closure folly...).
    usa USA Roundup
  • With drivers economising on gas, a Federal DOT spokesman says it is a "brave new world, there are no bad ideas at this time", for ""brave" read "tolled" - Courier Journal (Kentucky) - "Falling gas sales could hurt state road projects".

  • An alternate view - Daily Press (Virginia) - "Raise the gas tax".

  • MetroWest (Massachusetts) - "Turnpike Authority board says tolls are unfair". Nice headline, a pity that the proposed solution is to put tolls on more roads. More on this - Boston Globe - "Turnpike presses state for funding"   Boston Herald - "Mass Pike considers $100 million in new tolls - Will first try to reduce administrative waste".

  • Pennsylvania Conga!   Land Line Mag - "A toll protest certain to draw attention".

  • APM - "More roads paved with private gold" (inc audio link).

  • Other stories - Georgia - "A toll for Ronald Reagan Parkway?"   New York - "Toll roads, or else"   Virginia - "How we finance new roads"   "For whom the toll bills? For thee - Illinois malfunction fines only drivers from Wisconsin"   "Pennsylvania Transportation Partners Calls on Turnpike Commission to Engage in Public Forums"   New York - "Putting a Price on Free Passes for M.T.A. Board Members"   Washington State - "How to pay"   "Florida officials delay talks on Alligator Alley leasing"   OOIDA - "Pennsylvania - Call to Action".

    britain" Traffic down
  • Daily Express - "CARS VANISH FROM THE ROADS AS HIGH PRICE OF FUEL BITES". The effect of high fuel prices will concern drivers, but the ones who will be worried the most by a fall in driving are the greens and the politicians who will have less of an excuse to beat up drivers and extort more money from them - not that either group are likely to lay off.

    britain" Democracy
  • Mike Rutherford's column in Auto Express.

    australia chimaera Pleasant surprise
  • Herald Sun - "Minister rules out road congestion tax". A nice change from greedy Governments. Some of the troll arguments beggar belief such as "the city's major M2 Motorway would have to be replicated 21 times within five years just to keep congestion at today's levels".

    Friday 20 June 2008

    usa Update on USA mileage fall
  • USA Today reported on more evidence that Americans are driving less because of high gas prices - "Drivers cut back by 30B miles". The reported reduction of 30 billion miles should be compared with the 3,000 billion miles that Americans travel by road each year ("only" 1,700 billion miles is by car, the rest is by van, truck, motorbike and bus). You might think that any reduced use of fuel would be welcomed, but the Federal authorities are increasing the pressure for a switch from gas taxes to road tolls or as they put it "sustainable funding measures" - DOT Press Release - "Americans Drove 1.4 Billion Fewer Highway Miles in April of 2008 than in April 2007 While Fuel Prices and Transit Ridership Are Both on the Rise - .. Signals Need to Find New Revenue Sources for Highway and Transit Programs, Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters Says".

    britain" chimaera The myth goes on
  • Lancashire Evening Post - "No congestion charging in Lancashire". Good that the Red Rose county have no plans for tolls, but ominous that they believe "that the London congestion charge has been shown to work very well and has been shown to be a great success".

    portugal Portugal limits bridge tolls
  • Portugal News Online - "State pays to maintain bridge tolls". Though it is not clear which way Portugal is going with other tolls. They had planned to introduce tolls on "SCUT" untolled roads, then earlier this week the Government said that it would cut tolls for truckers.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Florida trolls have failed in their attempt to get court ruling overturned - Local 6 - "Ruling Wipes Away 10,000 Toll Cases"   Fox - "Judge puts brakes on SunPass citation fees".

  • It is suggested that the plan to close New York streets is "pay back" for the rejection of the Bloomberg Tolls - NY Press - "'Summer Streets' a Way of Paying Back the City for Killing Congestion Pricing?".

  • Other stories - New York - "State leaders receive an earful - Truckers protest diesel price spike"   Virginia - "A widened I-64 could come with tollbooths"   Virginia - "Road session may run into traffic"   Land Line mag - "New York Assembly OKs bill to kill some tolls"   Land Line mag - "Pennsylvania lawmakers test turnpike lease with vote"   Illinois / Wisconsin - "Ill. tollway glitch led to Wis. drivers billed"   New York - "Paterson and Cuomo Denounce M.T.A. Perks".

    europe Euro tolls
    Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the EU, has suggested that one way of dealing with higher fuel prices would be to reduce tolls paid by trucks - AFP - "EU leaders split on how to tackle soaring oil prices". A surprising statement as the European establishment is dominated by Trolls who have been promoting tolls for the last decade. Earlier this week the German Government announced that it was not reducing tolls but increasing them by 25% with the biggest toll increases for older trucks with "higher emissions". The Germans are influenced by the Greens who for unfathomable reasons want to scrap fuel taxes and increase tolls.

    Thursday 19 June 2008

    usa USA Roundup
  • Chicago - Sun Times News - "Can you love traffic? High gas prices?".

  • Truckers in New York State are to protest against fuel prices and toll hikes - Capital News - "Can Truckers prepare to take on Albany".

  • Other stories - West Virginia - "All vehicles would be subject to tolls"   New York - "Move to Restrict Free Travel Passes Creates Rare Controversy for M.T.A. Board"   Florida - "Toll Authority Back In Court To Collect Fines"   Virginia - "A Bumpy Ride on Transportation"   Washington State - "Bridge funding options are scarce"   Pennsylvania - "House rejects turnpike lease"   Virginia - "Read their lips: No new transportation bills with taxes"   South Carolina - "For Whom the Road Tolls".

    britain" chimaera "Jammed up"
  • A short letter in Worthing Herald.

    canada From another planet?
  • The Suburban (Montreal) - "Pay as you go". Could it be that the people who write this stuff are from another planet and have not heard of fuel taxes?

    united Or another dimension?
  • The National (UAE) - "It's easy to ignore the world on 37 cents a litre". The problem in the UAE - cheap fuel leading to high vehicle use and in particular to "fuel-guzzling, smog-belching" cars. The solution - fuel taxes? Of course not - instead it's road tolls and higher fixed costs for purchasing cars.

    britain" Cycling to Congestion
  • DfT press release - "Bristol appointed UK's first cycling city £100m package for cycling in 12 towns and cities ". Will all of this taxpayer's money being given to cyclists reduce congestion? The answer is probably not, as space may be taken away from the roads users who pay the taxes, and today the Executive director of the "Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety" called for 20 mph speed limits to make roads safer for cyclists. As Bristol has been pursuing the idea of road "congestion" tolls longer than anyone else and as the cycling establishment are keen supporters of tolls, presumably Ruth Kelly thinks that her latest wheeze will further slow Bristol traffic and help her to sell tolls.

    britain" Dodgy Green taxes
    More on the increases in vehicle excise duty and the effect on second hand car values - This is Money / Daily Mail - "New road tax wipes thousands off cars". "It's a tax on ownership, not on use... If the Government was serious about curbing emissions and altering people's behaviour, they would be putting VED on fuel, not on cars.".

    china europe Dodgy Yellow taxes
    China has a combination of subsidised fuel and road tolls. In the interests of fuel conservation it planned to remove road tolls and instead tax fuel. Those plans appear to have evaporated, not surprising when toll collection may be corrupt and you get advice from the "European Union Chamber of Commerce in China - Energy Working Group" saying that China should increase road tolls and inflict them on more roads - Business Spectator.

    britain" chimaera Truck tolls
  • - "Will the LRUC really be revived?".

    canada More on Toronto Tolls plan
  • Star - "Carving out transit future will take steely nerves".

    britain" chimaera Heir to the Throne's adviser advocates Tolls
  • Press Association - "Charles advisor in transport plea". This demonstrates the influence of the trolls in the establishment. It also shows the usual mastery of logic - "serious changes needed to be made to reduce Britain's dependence on petrol-powered transport and .... suggested taxing motorists on how many miles they drove rather than on petrol.".

    london Business thinks that London congestion is getting worse
    The CBI have published their latest (2008) "London Business Survey". Most news reports are based on the press release which hardly mentions congestion, though the point was picked up by - The Publican.
    The CBI and the KPMG are very firmly in the camp that preaches the religion of tolls, "congestion charging" and "road pricing". They did not give respondents the chance to comment on the effect of the original London charge, but there are still some interesting bits buried in the body of the report -
  • "Almost two thirds (64%) of businesses said congestion on London’s roads has been worsening over the last year." (Just taking the Transport sector "80% said congestion is worsening".)
  • "Westward extension of the congestion charge - no improvement in congestion." "While supportive of the original congestion charge scheme, the CBI argued against the westward extension..Now, just over a year since its introduction, only 1% said it was adding to efficiencies or improvements. Around 35% picked a factor that showed the charge had been detrimental, while 61% said it had no impact on them (this is partly due to the profile of respondents in the survey where professional services firms are dominant, and the majority of these are not located in the western extension area)."
  • Views of Distribution/retail/hotels/catering sector on the western extension - "56% said it is adding to costs. A third say it has increased congestion. 22% said it is leading to a loss of customers/suppliers." (The CBI do not say how many businesses, if any, believe that congestion has reduced.)

    Wednesday 18 June 2008

    usa Bloomberg goes for Gridlock
    Presumably egged on by the trolls, Mayor Bloomberg is to ban cars from a seven mile stretch of roads on three Saturdays in August. Though traffic will be allowed to cross at a few points, it will effectively mean traffic will not be able to get far on those streets that are open - NY Times - "On 3 Days in August, City Will Try No-Car Zone"   NY Daily News - "Car-free zone for biking and walking runs through city 3 days in August"   NY Times- "City to Experiment With Car-Free Streets".

    canada More Canadian tolls pushing
    It is almost as if there is an orchestrated tolls campaign in Canada, including this piece recycled today - Vancouver Sun - "From freeway to feeway: Road congestion and tolls".

    britain" chimaera Yorkshire con views
  • Huddersfield Daily Examiner - "CONGESTION CHARGES".

    britain" chimaera "Is it introducing a congestion charge soon because of the new road markings?"
    That the authorities do their best to create congestion is not news, but it is good to see that someone has spotted one reason for it - Grimsby Telegraph - "ANGRY OVER ROAD MARKINGS CHANGE".

    london poland Another Polish toll protest
    Last Thursday we reported on the tolls protest by Polish truckers. It seems that the Poles don't like our tolls either. Julita Kaczmarek from Polot, a Polish web site in Britain, has through Freedom of Information Act requests found that TfL is losing millions of pounds as it fails to identify and collect debt from Polish drivers who stray into the London "Congestion Charge" zone - "Poles owe £2 million". These Polish figures will just be the tip of the iceberg, as tolls are universally unpopular. We were recently contacted by a driver who had used a car hired in Sweden but was being hounded at his home in France. Pursuing foreign visitors after they get home with tolls and fines that are almost impossible to enforce must make Britain seem a very welcoming country. No wonder we come bottom in the Eurovision Song contest!

    usa USA Roundup
  • An example of trolls logic, there should be more tolls because of high gas prices - Daily & Sunday Review (Pa.) - Editorial "Rising fuel prices affects roads, as well".

  • Other stories - Florida - "Crist vetoes linking tolls to inflation"   Land Line mag - "Nevada panel endorses toll road plan"   Michigan - "Detroit-Windsor Tunnel toll free on Sunday".

    canada "Reality requires road tolls; prepare for the inevitable"
  • Globe and Mail. According to the "biog" link the writer lives "downtown", so presumably he will not have the pleasure of paying tolls.

    singapore london Mirror image
  • Advocates of "congestion charging" in London claim that the "Electronic Road Pricing" system, which was implemented 10 years ago in Singapore, long before tolls came to London in 2003, showed how wonderful a road tolls system is. The reality is that despite punitive taxes and restrictions on the number of licensed vehicles, Singapore drivers seem to be constantly on the road. Singapore is now to turn the screw even tighter (more gantries, higher charges and tolls extended to 8 PM) and in a bizarre twist they are now quoting some of the myths about the success of the London system - Today - "A costlier drive through".

    malaysia Malaysia trying to reduce tolls
  • The Edge - "Another 2 months tore-negotiate toll agreements".

    Tuesday 17 June 2008

    britain" The shape of things to come
  • Telegraph - "Eco-town residents may be fined for using cars".

    australia News from the land of the tolled
  • Courier Mail - "Premier Bligh looks at tolls to beat traffic jams" (it seems that Premiers don't have to belt up)   Courier Mail - "Gateway and Logan motorway charges increase"   Herald Sun - "Victorian toll drivers to face crackdown".

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on congestion tolls in California - The - "Plan Would Impose Congestion Zone in Los Angeles".

  • Selling out, and buyer gets loaned the money - The - "Foreign Corporation Gets US Money for Toll Road".

  • The Reason Foundation are still pumping out tolls hype - Phillyburbs - "Turnpike lease a better deal for taxpayers and drivers".

  • Where the Federal gas tax goes - Heritage Foundation - "Ending Pervasive Inequities in Gas Tax Burdens".

  • Other stories - Indiana - "Toll Road users pay more, lose time" letter   Florida - "State wants toll citations issued"   Florida - "Final Pitch For East-West Toll Road"   Washington State - "State panel meeting on 520 Bridge tolls".

    canada More toll views
  • Toronto Star - "Road tolls, a bitter pill that works"   Monteal Gazette - "Bridge tolls touch some nerves".

    britain" Truck fuel options
  • road - "Which fuel duty option should the Treasury go for?". The Treasury is not likely to "go" for any option. It is a pity that the "fuel tank fill" option is dismissed immediately on the grounds that the EU would not allow it. It could be argued that it was a safety issue with lorries travelling on ferries or through the Chunnel. The FTA ignore another obvious option - to reduce haulier's fixed costs by slashing the punitive rates of vehicle excise duty that hauliers have to pay.

    britain" chimaera The toll trains
    Though their views are not supported by many of their party members, the Lib Dem leaders are again rooting for road tolls - Argus Lite - "MP calls for road tolls to pay for railway".

    britain" chimaera Insurer abandons "Pay As You Drive" trial
    Norwich Union's trial of a system that charged insurance premiums according to where and when a vehicle was used has been abandoned after a trial which has been running since 2005. The insurers say - "The big-brother element of Pay As You Drive, particularly the ability to see how fast someone drives, put a lot of potential policyholders off." - Independent - "Surveillance fears force Norwich to scrap 'pay as you drive' car policies".

    britain" chimaera York not necessarily backing the Con
  • The Press - "Traffic matters" letter.
    PS Also in the York Press today were reports about plans for a new £40 million Council HQ in the centre of the city. One opponent of the planned new building pointed out that " The city would be less likely to need congestion charging if the council headquarters were out of town."
    britain" More on Dartford Tolls announcement
    Part of the cost of resident discounts is to come from the small share of the profits that was given to local councils - Kent Online - "Dartford Crossing plan to cost KCC £1m a year". Keith Ferrin, Kent County Council’s cabinet member for highways, says “The Dartford Crossing tolls don’t reduce congestion, they add to it." The puzzle is how do the Government get away with saying the opposite?

    Monday 16 June 2008

    usa USA Roundup
  • Avoiding tolls and traffic by buying a cup of coffee - Washington Post - "When 'Airport Business' Is a Ticket to Less Traffic".

  • The EZ way to skip tolls - Gloucester County Times - "E-ZPass tempting to cheats".

  • Other stories - Florida - "Toll increases could become common"   California - "PB Developing Congestion Pricing Plan For Los Angeles"   North Carolina - "Toll-free I-540 the goal" letter   Virginia - "Forget tolls, leases" letter   California - "San Gabriel Valley politicians oppose MTA plan for toll lanes".
    Pennsylvania - "Locals could go toll-free on I-80 - Toll collection points to be 30 miles apart"   Florida - "East-West Connector Is Dead In Its Tracks"   Pennsylvania - "Congressmen get earful about I-80 toll plan"   Virginia - "Toll lanes, congestion pricing coming to Capitol Beltway"   "North Carolina House supports funding for state’s first toll road"   Florida - "Collier road board suggests referendum on new Marco bridge".

    japan usa "U.S. military defends use of highway toll tickets in Japan"
    Japan pays for 900 miilion yens ($8 million) worth of toll journeys by US Forces - Stars & Stripes.

    germany Truckers face threat of higher German tolls
  • Guardian / Reuters - "Germany plans rise in motorway truck tolls".

    france French Truckers protest over fuel costs
  • Guardian / Reuters - "French truckers block roads in fuel protest". The truckers also face high tolls, and a week ago the Government asked the toll road operators to introduce "special advantages for trucks".

    colombia Colombian Truckers protest over fuel costs and tolls
  • Reuters - "Colombian truckers call strike over gas prices".

    canada More Tolling along
  • One writer in the Globe and Mail says "Tolls are .. excellent ... Even better: Just assess a mileage charge at licence renewal time. This would amount to a toll on use of all roads. The charge could vary by vehicle type, encouraging the use of fuel-efficient ones." Presumably the writer has never heard of fuel taxes.

  • Toronto Sun - "Road tolls tax patience in city council"   Globe & Mail - "Taken for a ride by tolls?".

    Sunday 15 June 2008

    britain" Liverpool Toll - demo
  • BBC - "Demonstration over toll charges".

    britain" chimaera High School students get demonstration of Nick Clegg's consistency
  • Hereford Times - "Question time for leader". Quote 1 - "We should be paying progressively more for fuels". Quote 2 - ".. in favour of reducing fuel tax by 10 per cent in exchange for the introduction of a road pricing scheme.".

    britain" More Stats
  • Published on Thursday 5th - DfT press release - "Road Conditions in England: 2007"   The stats (pdf file).

  • Also published on Thursday 5th - DfT press release - "Congestion on inter-urban roads - provisional figures to April 2008" (includes links to various dat a files). The curious thing about official congestion stats is that on the "Strategic Road Network" it almost seems as if it does not exist - The average vehicle delay on the slowest 10% of journeys is under 4 minutes per 10 miles. At 60 miles per hour, 10 miles would take 10 minutes. If it takes 4 minutes longer then the vehicle is still averaging 43 mph on these slowest journeys. This is not satisfactory, but neither is it "gridlock". (See 2nd June for our comments on the May figures.)

    Saturday 14 June 2008

    australia "Bike owners taken for ride"
  • Sydney Morning Herald. Though they are complaining that they pay too much, the bikers rep says that "motorcyclists are happy to pay a toll". Not exactly Hells' Angels talk.

    canada Tolling along
  • Mississigua News - "Transportation authority eyes more toll roads"   Globe & Mail - "Agency floats idea of tolls on all major expressways".

    britain" Humber Toll - more on plan for increase

    britain" Liverpool Toll protest
  • BBC - "Toll protesters step up campaign".

    britain" More on "Mileage down?"
    On Thursday we mentioned "rumours" that the increase in fuel prices, had led to a dramatic fall in fuel sales in Britain. In fact these are more then rumours, as it is based on what the International Energy Agency told a Daily Telegraph reporter and was in Wednesday's paper - "Petrol sales fall 20pc as drivers feel the pinch".
    The IEA only reveal their detailed figures to subscribers, and the Government and the UK Petroleum Industries Association don't appear to have released anything. But there are graphs (all pdf files) on the free part of the IEA site that show - various statistics (up to April 08). Including UK Motor Gasoline Demand - Time Series - April 06 to April 08. The later graph seems to show a significant decline, but this is largely due to the trend of a switch from Petrol to Diesel. Taking the two fuels together, demand seems to have been fairly level - April 2005 - 835,000 barrels a day (Petrol 445, Diesel 390), April 2006 - 855 kbd (P 435, D420), April 2007 - 855 kbd (P425, D430), April 2008 845 kbd (P405, D440). The Telegraph story will be based on the May figures, but even so a fall of 20 per cent in fuel sales (indicating a large fall in miles travelled) seems unlikely - yet.

    Friday 13 June 2008

    usa USA Roundup
  • Minnesota Governor takes Mary's "shilling" - Fox - "$133M Approved to Ease 35W Congestion".

  • Finance & Commerce - "States could face huge reduction in federal Highway Trust Fund dollars".

  • Other stories - Texas - "J.P. Morgan to lend up to $2.5B for toll roads"   New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Does DRPA really need to hike tolls?".

    canada New toll bridge planned
  • BC Local - "Green light for Port Mann twinning".

    australia "Motorists pay an absolute fortune for the privilege of getting on our roads ... to add new ones to it will just in this current climate send them to the wall"
  • ABC - "Congestion tax 'could send drivers to the wall'".

    britain" chimaera York spinning the Con
  • The Press - "Act now to get York out of a jam" (see comments).

    britain" chimaera Peter Roberts to launch a new organisation for drivers
    - Birmingham Post - "Anti-congestion charge campaigner Peter Roberts takes Drivers' Alliance fight to the national stage". As the story says, the AA and RAC are not members organisations. But the story does not say there is already a real members organisation - the Association of British Drivers. We hope that the "Drivers' Alliance" and the ABD can somehow get together.
    The story also has the Shadow Transport Secretary being asked about Tory policy. What she says offers little hope for motorists, and there is a threat of lorry tolls. Many hauliers support this as they believe that despite the vast cost of running such a scheme, it would in effect only be foreign hauliers that paid, as British hauliers would get a fuel tax rebate. They might as well believe in Santa Claus, and instead of supporting a new tax would be better off campaigning for controls on the amount of cheap fuel allowed in the tanks of foreign lorries that come to Britain, campaigning for reductions in the massive VED on lorries, and campaigning for harmonisation of fuel taxes in the EU.
    PS Shropshire Star - "Group to air views of drivers"   Drivers' Alliance.

    britain" More on confirmation of Dartford Toll discount for "residents"
  • Kent Online - "Dartford toll discounts confirmed". This is part of our press release yesterday - "All drivers are paying a massive amount to the Government - one billion pounds week. There is no justification for tolls on top of that. The Dartford Crossing is owned by the Government and in effect if there are reductions in tolls at Dartford then that is coming from the money that is being contributed by drivers all over Britain. It is unjust if the Government does not give similar discounts to users of all other crossings in Britain. Better still it should scrap the tolls altogether. They are a barrier to the free movement of vehicles, they cause delays, diversions and congestion and they increase vehicle emissions and the risk of accidents.Tolls are an anachronism and should be consigned to the waste bin."

    bulgaria romania More calls for removal of tolls on Friendship bridge
  • Sofia Echo - "Crossing the Danube".

    scotland chimaera Scotland the first to wake up to Lib Dem plans
    The Scots have realised the effect on them of the Lib Dem road toll plans (see "Lib Dem suicide note" on 6th and "Lib Dem solution to high fuel prices" on 3rd) - Press & Journal - "Commuters to be hit in the pocket by Lib Dem tax plans". When will drivers in England and Wales wake up to this?

    australia "NSW Greens back congestion tax"
  • The Age. No doubt they would not be averse to the hanging, drawing and quartering of drivers!

    australia Toll investment firm stock down
  • The Star - "Babcock shares hit all-time low".

    britain" chimaera "Government 'should rethink road pricing'"
    The House of Commons Transport Committee say that -"local road pricing schemes cannot be effective pilots for a national scheme" - Telegraph. The MPs' report - "DfT Annual report 2007" (pdf), on the BBC - "Road pricing 'should be assessed'". It is good to see that the BBC has given a link to one organisation that is not a tolls advocate - American Airlines.
    The MPs' comments on "Road pricing and the Transport Innovation Fund" are on pages 15 and 16. Despite the impression that the headline might give, most of the MPs want road tolls and don't disagree with bribing local authorities - they just don't think that enough councils will take the bait and that it will not get the MPs where most of them want to be - a nationally tolled road system.
    "Lorry road user charging" is on pages 16 and 17. The MPs attack the Government for not tolling lorries. They say that this is to help the haulage industry! Strange that they want to help them by introducing a new tax rather than reducing the massive amounts that are paid in fuel tax and vehicle excise duty.
    When she was examined by MPs, Ruth Kelly repeated the assertion that the Government have not decided whether to introduce national road tolls or not, and that it would in any case only do so after there had been investment in public transport.

    britain" chimaera More on "ID cards 'could threaten privacy"
  • The Commons Home Affairs committee report is now on their website (pdf). The main report does not mention data being collected for "congestion charging" and road pricing. The issue was raised in some of the evidence, and the National Policing Improvement Agency speculated on how police might cope as the ANPR systems would "throw up an awful lot of matches ..... and we have to streamline the paperwork for summary cases, the back office support, the case and custody system, so that we are not dragging police officers off the street as we get more hits".

    Thursday 12 June 2008

    britain" Mileage down?
  • There are rumours that the increase in fuel prices, has led to a dramatic fall in fuel sales in Britain, but so far we have seen no official figures to confirm this. If motorists are driving less then it will worry the Government as it will result in another hole in their budget.

    usa USA Roundup
  • To ressurect "congestion pricing" in New York, it is suggested that there should be a massive amount of tolls, and that mass transit should be free - Plenty - "Free public transit for all". The idea is that the users of mass transit would outvote the drivers. But if this was successful in getting road tolls introduced, and ignoring the fact that mass transit is already overcrowded and would be difficult to expand, there is one other problem - if the drivers stop using their cars (or stop coming to the city) then who will pay for all this?

  • Golden toll increase - Fox - "Anger, Outrage Over Proposed $7 Golden Gate Toll"   Marin Journal - "Public criticizes Golden Gate toll increases"   ABC - "Commuters speak out against toll hike".

  • Other stories - New Jersey / Pennsylvania - "Local bridge tolls hike likely by fall"   West Virginia - "Mattox asked to discuss toll road"   Landline mag - "Pennsylvania lawmakers want I-80 toll law repealed".

    canada More oppositon to Montreal tolls proposal
  • The Gazette - "Tolls to access island a bad idea: mayors".

    portugal Portugese truckers strike over
    In Portugal the strike over fuel prices has ended. The Government are doing nothing about the fuel prices but they are cutting road tolls and giving some tax concessions - Portugal Resident - "Fuel protest ends after unions and government agree deal".

    britain" Humber Toll - plan for increase
  • Grimsby Telegraph - "BRIDGE TOLL SET TO RISE".

    poland More on Polish toll protest
  • Automotive World - "Truck drivers in claimed 100,000-vehicle national blockade".

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - Ruth Kelly says that she will make an announcement soon
  • CEN - "Kelly promises A14 upgrade announcement". As the County Council that plans to toll the city is Tory controlled, this will be a real coup for Labour as it will mean that the road tolls rope is firmly round the neck of all three parties.

    britain" Dartford Toll discount for "residents" confirmed
  • BBC - "Dartford toll discounts announced"   DfT press release. What about other users of the Dartford Crossing and all the users of ALL the other river crossings?

    britain" Humber Toll study
  • BBC - "Councils fund bridge tolls study". Link to the campaign against the tolls.

    norway indonesia Trolls try to sell tolls to Indonesia
  • Jakarta Post - "Norway-based company offers city electronic road pricing system".

    south More on business opposition to SA toll
  • Cape Business News - "Winelands Toll Project a Bad Idea". Businesses say that - "There is no doubt that major road improvements are required .. but the most equitable way to fund them would be through the fuel levy which would spread the burden evenly throughout the Cape Town economic region. It would also ensure that payment was in proportion to road usage to meet the ‘user pays’ principle in the broader sense... tolls would have an adverse impact on vital industry and would affect rural communities and jobs in areas where they were desperately needed .. Tolls are the most expensive way to finance roads."

    canada More on Montreal tolls proposal
  • The Suburban editorial - "Tolls are a bad idea"   The Suburban - "Tolls would not curb car usage: CAA-Quebec".

    Wednesday 11 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Conferences
  • Today there was a "Traffic Management and Parking" conference. The background page says that "With congestion now also considered as a threat to the economy the support for road pricing has reached a crescendo". By coincidence this gathering took place in Manchester with "Manchester City Council .. taking a more strategic role in developing some of the themes". As the conference was probably organised many months ago, it was a remarkable piece of timing that the Secretary of State made her announcement on Monday. If nothing else these gatherings are useful for seeing who is sponsoring them and who is taking part in the main conference and in the seminars. It seems that there are a lot of organisations that expect to make money from road tolls.

  • Tomorrow there is a - "Road Network Management" conference. The overview says "Making changes to the way we use our roads is a necessary but controversial process". Among those supporting the event are the RAC Foundation, so we assume that "road pricing" is one of the "necessary" processes.

    usa london "America can learn from UK policy"
    Particularly the London Congestion Charge!!!   Press Association. The report also mentions Leeds and Bristol, which "avoid the gridlock seen in US cities" - can this be the same Bristol where for years the Council have been wanting to introduce a congestion charge?
    PS Report in the next day's Guardian - "Curb cars and sprawl under next US leader, experts urge".

    britain" chimaera More on Liverpool river crossing "congestion" Toll
    - Runcorn & Widnes World - "'I promise bridge tolls discount'"   Liverpool Echo - "Bridge plans go on show".

    britain" chimaera View on Con from around Britain
  • Birmingham Post - "Birmingham business 'won't suffer from loss of transport funds'"   The Herald (Plymouth) - "West 'losing out' on congestion funding"   York Press - "What are the solutions to traffic congestion?".

    poland Polish toll protest
  • Polskie Radio - "Polish truck drivers protest against proposed highway toll hike"   PR Inside - "Polish truckers wage brief strike to protest planned rise in highway tolls".

    usa USA Roundup
  • More electronic toll woes - Chicago Tribune - "Problem Solver: 1 wrong number takes a toll".

  • New York State is to consider "congestion pricing" as a way of raising cash - NY Daily News - "Gov: Take a hike & congest fees, too, for MTA"   WNBC - "Fixing the MTA: Paterson Picks His Commission"   WNBC - "Fixing the MTA: Paterson Picks His Commission".

  • Meanwhile some don't have to pay existing tolls - NY Daily News - "E-ZPass freebies cost MTA $14M a year" - "Toll-Free Driving by Lawmakers Draws Fire".

  • Doubts over the Texas Mega Toll Highway - Austin American Statesman - "Texas to consider existing roads for I-69 project".

  • More on the on/off Mockingbird tolls - Dallas Morning News - "Editorial: No tolls on Mockingbird Lane"   NBC - "Town Won't Dismiss Idea Of Tolling Nonresidents"   Dallas Morning News - "Highland Park backs off plan to toll Mockingbird Lane"   Dallas Morning News - "Highland Park nixes proposal to toll Mockingbird Lane".

  • HOT lanes still empty - News Tribune (Washington State) - "State hopes more drivers participate in HOT lanes program".

  • Other stories - Arkansas - "Traveling Roads Could Cost You"   Virginia - "House speaker: State should lease toll rights"   Florida - "Survey: One-way toll system favored; One-year trial began in November"   Florida - "Analysis: Did too little information coming too late doom the toll road?"   California - "San Gabriel Valley members of Congress move to slow congestion pricing freeway plan"   New York - "DOT exploring fixes to Staten Island highways".
    Pennsylvania - "Officials want I-80 toll law rescinded"   Virginia - "Major toll plan for roads to be proposed"   "New York Assembly Approves Toll Elimination Bill"   California - "Public hearing on Golden Gate toll hike"   Florida - "Toll Roads"   Virginia - "Freeway extension popular, but toll is less so, VDOT finds".

    Tuesday 10 June 2008

    italy Italy cuts tolls for truckers
  • Thomson Financial - "Italy pledges 107 mln euros for truckers mainly via cut in motorway tolls".

    scotland england chimaera Scotland will not repeat toll attempt
  • Edinburgh Evening News - "No new vote on congestion charge in city"   The Herald - "Traffic planners rule out congestion charges".

    britain" chimaera Liverpool "congestion" Toll
    Despite their reputation it seems that the people in the Liverpool area are as docile as lambs. For the first time in Britain a free bridge is to have a toll put on it, and no one complains - Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway bridge tolls revealed"   Liverpool Daily Post - "Tariff plans for Mersey bridges marks 'momentous day'"   Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Bridge tolls to be used for congestion busting".

    europe New tracking system
  • infrasite - "Siemens and NXP develop GPS/GSM-based toll system for private vehicles".

    japan A bit more toll savings
  • Forbes - "Japan eyes extra measures against rising oil prices".

    britain" chimaera No tolls - No bribe
  • Journal (Newcastle) - "No congestion fee, no transport cash".

    london Channel Four programme on Mayor did not break code
  • Broadcast - "C4 Livingstone doc cleared".

    london Toll offset
    Retailers are still saying that the London Con charge is hurting business, so Westminster City Council is substantially reducing charges on some of its car parks with the target of geting 30% more cars.

    britain" chimaera Cambridge Toll - alternatives
  • News from Cambridge - "PACCA announces workshop to find alternatives to congestion charge".

    malaysia Another call for an end to tolls in Malaysia
  • Bernama - "Selangor MCA Calls For Abolition Of Road Tax And Tolls".

    canada Two views on Montreal tolls proposal
  • The Gazette - "On the right road with tolls"   The Gazette - "Try raising gas tax instead of tolls".
    PS The Gazette - "Suburbanites do pay".

    britain" chimaera More on Manchester Toll D Day
  • To see more on yesterday's announcement, click at top of this page on the link to Manchester News.

    Monday 9 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Manchester Toll D Day
  • Association of British Drivers - "Triple Tax Whammy Could Trigger Summer of Discontent".
    For more coverage click at top of this page on the link to Manchester News.

    britain" chimaera Bristol Council says me too

    britain" Bikers complain about Dunham toll
  • BBC - "Motorcyclists demand toll changes". The tolls are an anachronism that almost everywhere else in Britain were removed over 100 years ago. The Government and the authorities should take over the bridge and remove the tolls. All traffic, not only bikers, will then be able to travel without this hindrance.

    britain" chimaera Cambridge car share
    Cambridgeshire County Council proposes to toll drivers moving around Cambridge, but in the meantime has come up with a non-tax scheme - CEN - "Give colleague and environment a lift".

    Sunday 8 June 2008

    britain" Road taxes
    We have revised our estimate of taxes paid by drivers. The more direct taxes are now around £50 billion a year, with another £7 billion or so of less direct taxes. We have also updated the figure for "roads" spending, which is now around £9 billion a year. If you exclude measures that are designed to make things better for cyclists, buses, pedestrians and horses and which may slow down, stop or ban motor vehicles, then the spending is probably only around half that.

    britain" "ID cards 'could threaten privacy"
  • BBC. The committee report should appear here today or tomorrow.

    usa USA Roundup
  • Texas - "Highland Park's on wrong path with proposed Mockingbird tolls"   Virginia - "Tolls will further divide region" letter   Virginia - "Who profits on lease?" letter.

    Saturday 7 June 2008

    britain" chimaera More on Manchester Toll D Day
  • BBC - "Congestion charging decision due"   Times - "Manchester split over plan for commuter-only congestion charge"   Telegraph - "Road pricing: first scheme outside of London to be announced for Manchester".
    For a bit more detail click at top of this page on the link to Manchester News.

    usa britain" Air duty
  • Evening Standard - "US threatens legal action over British Government's high airline taxes".

    earth usa Free Rides
    The European operator of an American toll road offers a free ride to the politicians - Journal Gazette - "Lawmakers get free use of Toll Road; most refuse"   Indianapolis Star - "Legislators offered free ride".
    Around the world, how many other privately operated toll roads offer free rides to politicians and other people that they wish to influence?

    usa USA Roundup
  • Florida - "One-way tolls best route"   Connecticut - "Reactions to toll editorial shows public cynicism toward elected leaders"   California - "Congresswoman to Congestion-pricing : Slow down!"   Virginia - "Court revives toll road transfer lawsuit".

    canada More on Montreal tolls proposal
  • The Gazette - "A frosty response to toll plan"   The Gazette - "Tolls require a lot more study before we go down that road - A simple increase in the gas tax might be a better way to go".

    Friday 6 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Manchester Toll D Day
    It is not official yet, but it seems that the Government are to announce on Monday that a trial of national road tolls is to go ahead in Manchester - Crain's - "TIF award announcement expected on Monday". It seems that the Government has a death wish, but are the Tories up to giving them the coup de grâce?

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on new Dallas tolls proposal - Dallas Morning News - "Highland Park considers plan to make Dallas drivers pay to use stretch of Mockingbird"   CBS - "Some Want Toll On Highland Park Residential Street"   Corpus Christi Caller Times - "City plans toll lanes"   Austin American Statesman - "Highland Park floats idea of tolling regular city street".

  • Other stories - Florida - "Protesting proposal to privatize Alligator Alley"   Maine - "Toll plan premeditated?"   Pennsylvania - "Turnpike lease bill gets rare bipartisan backing"   New York - "MTA hike fare-y may visit us again"   New York - "Latimer, Assembly again seek to nix I-95 toll"   North Carolina - "NW Wake toll road gets House nod"   Oregon / Washington State - "Council backs Columbia River bridge with light rail, tolls"   West Virginia - "Turnpike budget anticipates toll decline"   Pennsylvania - "Conga line event planned in opposition of I-80 tolling"   New York - "Assembly Votes to End I-95 Toll on Larchmont Border"   "Tolling, privatization bills in Alabama fail to advance".

    britain" chimaera "Road tolls for York?"
    York's officers want the council to bring in road tolls - The Press. Presumably the idea is that it will make it easier for the officers to drive into work! York already charges very substantial amounts for ordinary people to park in the city centre. And if the suggestion is that some drivers are crazy enough to drive through the city centre to get to the other side, then the council should make sure that they have good peripheral roads and check the signposting around the city and to the park and ride locations.
    PS Northern Echo - "York congestion charging fears".

    britain" Humber tolls - action by MPs
    Some local MPs have put forward an amendment to the Local Transport Bill with the aim of reducing the tolls on the Humber bridge - Scunthorpe Telegraph - "BID TO CUT BRIDGE TOLLS". Oddly enough if the bill goes through as it stands at the moment it might make no difference even if the tolls were reduced to nil. The reason for this is that English authorities are being given unfettered powers to introduce whatever tolls they like on any road, including the bridge.

    bulgaria romania More on Friendship bridge
  • Focus - "Danube bridge tolls should be lifted".

    canada Montreal tolls proposal
  • The Gazette - "Roads could be rocky, truckers say"   The Gazette - "New system offers smoother ride than old plan"
    The Gazette - "Wanted: A better solution than bridge tolls"   The Gazette - "City hall aiming to impose road tolls"   CBC - "Montreal proposes 'socially responsible' bridge tolls"   Official press release.

    britain" Lib Dem suicide note
    Boris Johnson has resigned his Commons seat which means that there will be a by-election in Henley. The seat is a Labour no hoper so the battle will be between Tories and Lib Dems. It will be interesting to see if the Lib Dems push their plans for road tolls and if the Tories attack them (or keep quiet as they may have similar plans).
    The Lib Dem proposal was launched on Tuesday but there have been no details on their website till today - "Fast Track Britain". The "tolls" dirty word does not appear in the document, instead we have at the start of their Executive summary that they would "build .. a national transport system fit for the 21st century", by- "- Setting up a Future Transport Fund to provide an investment stream for improvements to the public transport system. The income for this Fund would be generated from the proceeds from national lorry road user charging and the domestic flights surcharge to Aviation Duty (excluding lifeline flights).
    - Introducing motorway and trunk road pricing within ten years but in the meantime reduce carbon emissions by introducing more steeply graduated VED and national lorry road user charging and investing in public transport; in the second phase road pricing on motorways and trunk roads will be cost neutral for the motorists as we reduce fuel duty and abolish VED.
    - More steeply graduating the Government’s ‘showroom’ tax, to financially reward those purchase cars with low emission engines. Bands G and F will carry a higher tax burden at the point of purchase, whilst those who purchase cars in bands A or B will receive a substantial subsidy."
    The only appropriate tax if the aim is to reduce carbon emissions is a fuel tax - which we already have. The idea that to meet this aim you replace fuel tax with tolls, a "showroom" tax and different VED bands is mad. To suggest that toll schemes can be "cost neutral" for drivers when they are so expensive to run shows either complete ignorance or dishonesty.

    On "lorry road user charging" (2.4.10) they say that this will be "on a pay per mile basis, varying according to emissions". In other words they will create a complex and expensive system which will attempt to crudely match what fuel duty already does.
    The Government abandoned its own lorry charging scheme because the cost of setting it up and running it was so great. So how much will the Lib Dem tax bill for lorries have to rise if it is not only to cover these extra costs but also provide a surplus to go into the "Future Transport Fund"?

    The main part of the document (2.4.11. to 2.4.17) gives more details of the "Motorway and Trunk Road Pricing" proposal- "2.4.11 Liberal Democrats propose a motorway and trunk road pricing scheme covering all motorways and major trunk roads in Britain.
    2.4.12 During our first parliament we would undertake preparatory work:
    - Detailed consultation on the design of the scheme, including levels of charging and data privacy issues.
    - Invest significantly in public transport through our Future Transport Fund.
    2.4.13 The key aspects of our proposal are:
    - Road pricing should be seen as part of a package of measures – it is not a solution on its own.
    - To tax differently, not more. Our scheme will be revenue neutral for the average motorist, with the revenue from road pricing used to remove VED entirely and reduce fuel duty.
    - Significant investment would be injected into public transport prior to introducing any charging, providing a viable alternative to the private motor vehicle, where possible.
    - Pricing would be linked to car emissions, benefiting lower emission vehicles.
    - A ‘Privacy Guarantee’ would be provided to motorists, by separating any personal details held from journey details.4 This would include the option of using an anonymous pre-pay system and would establish robust legal guidelines around the use of data collected (i.e. data would not be passed on to other organisations).
    - Exemptions and discounts would be introduced for emergency vehicles, NHS vehicles, public transport vehicles, and vehicles used by disabled drivers who rely on their car for transport (following the disability exemptions for VED).
    - We would make a firm commitment to provide political leadership in tackling emissions from the transport sector.
    2.4.15 A number of locations have already implemented forms of road pricing including London, Stockholm and Singapore, and the Netherlands are currently considering a national scheme.
    2.4.16 The benefits we would expect to see include:
    - Fairer charges for using roads according to the polluting effect of each vehicle.
    - Financial benefits for drivers who have no public transport alternatives and are dependent on the car (particularly in rural areas).
    - An increase in the certainty of journey times (vital for the freight and services sectors) due to an incidental reduction in congestion levels.
    - A commensurate improvement in viable public transport alternatives to the car.
    2.4.17 We envisage that our motorway and trunk road user charging scheme would operate using the ‘tag and beacon’ scheme, covering motorways and trunk roads. To avoid a plague of ‘rat running’, the technology chosen must allow for penalties to be enforced on drivers who ‘rat run’ in order to avoid payment."
    Most of this is the familiar illogical nonesense, but they have made the mistake of meeting one obvious objection to tolls on main roads - drivers will use other roads - by coming up with an even more hare brained idea - "penalties" for "rat running". How can there be penalties for using other roads unless the system also applies to those roads? And how will the toll system know if the vehicles on those other roads are only there because they were attempting to avoid the tolls?
    They say that the toll system will be "tag and beacon". How are they going to ensure drivers instal a tag and keep it in working order? However they try and do this, they will need to have some sort of a backup system, which the Lib Dems (or whoever wrote this for them) have ignored as this further increases the cost of setting up and running the system.

    bolivia chile france More Protests
    Bolivia and Chile are amongst the many countries where truck drivers are calling for lower fuel prices and removal of tolls - Top News - "Truck drivers protest over fuel prices in Chile, Bolivia". In France the Government has also called for toll road operators to introduce "special advantages for trucks" - The Star - "Measures to aid truckers". The introduction of subsidies on fuel could be counter productive, but any opportunity should be taken to switch the emphasis away from tolls, charges and taxes that do not relate to fuel use.

    malaysia More on Marginal costing
    With Malaysia "reducing" the subsidy on fuel prices, some people are suggesting that the tolls should be scrapped - Malaysiakini- "Time to 'reduce our carbon footprint'"   "'BN gov't has lost the plot'". (Note as Malaysia controls the retail price of petrol, it is not clear that the amount of subsidy has gone down even though people are paying a lot more.)

    Thursday 5 June 2008

    usa USA Roundup
  • If Obama becomes President what will that mean for tolls and roads privatization?
    He is seen as being on the left, and also follows the current green fashion and professes to believe in global warming which could take him anywhere as far as policies go. He was said to support the recent Bloomberg "congestion pricing" plan, but did not appear that enthusiastic. His presidential campaign is supported by the financial interests who want roads privatized, though that does not mean he will deliver on any expectations that they may have.
    The word "tolls" does not appear even once on his website, though he seems to favour mass transit. He says that he will - "address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation’s most challenging transportation infrastructure needs. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation. " This amount of money is small and could all go into mass transit schemes.
    All in all, it is difficult to see which way Obama will go, but if we were to guess then it would be that he would push a lot of money into mass transit and that the money will come from tolls and road sales. With McCain our guess is that we would also see more tolls and road sales, but his priorities for spending the money would be different.

  • Congestion pricing for Texas - Dallas Morning Views - "Tolls on Mockingbird"   Pegasus - "Highland Park considering charging drivers on Mockingbird"   Dallas Morning News - "Highland Park considers plan to make Dallas drivers pay to use stretch of Mockingbird ".

  • Other stories - Land Line mag - "Louisiana Legislature approves bill to rein in bridge deals"   North Carolina - "House votes for RTP toll road"   New Jersey - "DOT will take back ex-employees' E-ZPasses" nbsp; Virginia - "Will special session on roads end up at dead end?"   Pennsylvania - "Two introduce Rendell's turnpike-lease plan in House"   Maine - "The Man with the Plan - The Time Is Right For a Cross-state Super Toll Road"   Texas - "Txdot credibility in political pothole".

    newzealand More toll plans
  • Scoop - "Toll proposed on Tamaki Estuary crossing".

    malaysia Marginal costing
    In Malaysia they make it very expensive to buy a car and then subsidise fuel prices. Now that fuel prices are rocketing, they are cutting the subsidy - Malaysiakini- "Let me pay market price for cars too"   "The 'tsunami' fuel hike".

    india london Indian view of the Big Con
  • Economic Times - "C-Charge won't work here".

    bangladesh Unused toll road in Bangladesh
  • Daily Star - "Tk 110cr Chittagong road serves little to ease traffic in city".

    Wednesday 4 June 2008

    usa Later USA news
  • Florida - "Eight contractors bid to manage Alligator Alley"   "The only thing more painful than gas prices may be the toll-road hell Texas is about to enter"   Pennsylvania - "Reform Group Suggests Abolishing Turnpike Commission"   New Jersey - "Garden State Parkway tokens expire at end of year".

    britain" Road taxes
    David Cameron attacks the Prime Minister over the planned vehicle excise duty increases - BBC - "Brown attacked over road tax plan". The Government merits the attack but a pity that no one pointed out the illogic of charging cars higher because of the CO2 they might produce rather than charging on the basis of the fuel that they actually use.

    britain" Playing politics with Holes in the road
    An AA survey is reported as showing that two out of three of their "members" think that roads are in a worse state than 10 years ago - Daily Express - "POTHOLED ROADS ARE A NATIONAL DISGRACE"   BBC - "Roads 'worse than 10 years ago'". Though someone seems to have put a bit of political spin on the original statement by the AA which mainly said that drivers thought that spending more money on roads was the best way of improving safety - AA - "AA members say fix the roads not the drivers".

    australia New road may increase congestion
    A new toll road in the Melbourne area is expected to lead to more traffic on other roads including drivers using them as "rat-runs to avoid toll" - Manningham Leader - "How will EastLink affect you?".

    usa USA Roundup
  • Connecticut is one of the few North East states without tolls, but now the high fuel price is seen by some as an excuse to bring tolls back - The Day - "Time To Talk Tolls". Given that the state is small and is surrounded by trolls, it has done well to resist so far. The argument that out of staters may get a free ride is a compelling one, but the answer is that Interstate roads should be paid for by the Federal gas tax. The state gas tax which is due to go up to 45 cents a gallon, is the equivalent of less than two cents a mile for an average car. If the whole of the state gas tax was replaced by tolls, drivers would be paying a lot more than that just to cover the cost of collecting the toll.

  • New Hampshire - "Legislators listen on toll issue"   "Gov. Kaine pushes transportation plan at Virginia Beach town hall meeting"   Florida - "Drivers Avoid Toll Roads To Save Money".

    Tuesday 3 June 2008

    britain" chimaera More on Lib Dem solution to high fuel prices
    The party's latest idea is now on their website - "Liberal Democrats launch radical new transport policies" and in the Guardian "Lib Dems unveil 'radical alternative vision' for transport". Their proposals include - "Cutting fuel duty and abolishing VED over the next 10 years and introducing a cost-neutral road user pricing scheme on motorways and trunk roads", and they say - "Motorway and trunk road pricing will cost the average motorist no more but the costs will be honest and upfront and rural motorists who have to rely on their cars will save money." This statement shows either abysmal ignorance or blatant dishonesty, as the cost of implementing and administering a toll scheme would mean that the average driver would have to pay more as it is most unlikely that the Government would receive less. A move to toll the main roads would also encourage drivers to use less suitable roads causing more congestion and accidents. It is also odd that they want to move away from a tax on fuel to a toll system that could only very crudely reflect the fuel used - such a move makes no sense and makes you wonder who comes up with these ideas.
    PS Later reports - BBC - "Clegg unveils road charging plan"   Birmingham Post - "Lib Dems propose pay-per-mile system for motorists".

    britain" chimaera More on - It's on the way
    One of the Government backed bodies that is providing some of the funding for development of road pricing systems is the "Technology Stategy Board". This is one of their recent announcements - "Speeding towards solutions to traffic congestion".

    london Go back
    Hammersmith & Fulham Council want the westward extension of the charge zone removed - Evening Standard - "Boris Johnson told: give people a say now on western zone of C-charge".
    PS A conference in Jerusalem is told about effect of London congestion charging on air pollution, that "the data shows that it didn't really work". This is of course not news but it is surprising that someone has said it at an environment and health conference - Jerusalem Post - "Environmental practices need 'wholesale change,' UK prof. says".

    britain" Dartford Toll
    Kent News - "Drivers urged to sign anti Dartford toll petition". The latest petition. The DfT say that "Our modelling shows that at peak times the bridge and tunnels can be overwhelmed so the fee is intended more as a congestion charge". This is absolute nonsense. Apart from anything else the approach to the crossing is three lanes each way, while the crossing is 4 lanes each way. Everyone knows that the congestion is caused by the tolls and it is sad that the Government will not admit the truth.

    britain" chimaera Lib Dem solution to high fuel prices
    The answer is road tolls - The Argus - "Jobs fear over increased petrol prices".

    earth Food crisis? - Blame it on the drivers
  • BBC - "UN sets out food crisis measures". Though the fuel price problem is hurting drivers around the world, many people are facing the more serious problem of an inadequate food supply. A UN conference is looking at the problem and the main issues on the agenda are climate change and bio fuels - FAO - "High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy". There seems to be no mention of population growth. It seems that the establishment did not always turn a blind eye to the effects of population growth. In 1991 the Food and Agriculture Organisation published this paper - "Population growth and the food crisis". The world population was then 5.3 billion, it is now 6.8 billion.

    usa USA Roundup
  • More on the effect of high gas prices - Mercury News (California) - "'Large shifts in behavior' during commutes create new problems".

  • Latest on Rendell tolls - Bucks County Courier Times - "Bidders not trying to get rich quick"   Morning Call - "If managers goof up with Turnpike, state can break lease"   Philadelphia Inquirer - "Bid to lease Pa. Turnpike might shrink"   Altoona Mirror - "Partnership touts lease of turnpike"   Pittsburgh Post Gazette - "Rendell says vote unlikely on lease of turnpike"   Pittsburgh Tribune Review - "Stop stalling, Rendell tells turnpike leaders".

  • Other stories - West Virginia - "Residents weigh in on U.S. 35 toll possibility"   Florida - "Wekiva Parkway project could be coupled with I-4"   Florida - "Residents react to possible bridge tolls"   Florida - "Commissioners agree to make Cape Coral bridge tolls permanent"   Florida - "Marco backs next phase of bridge-toll study".

    britain" chimaera It's on the way
  • The Engineer - "Wireless Technology Consultants"   Thomas net- "All-In-One Traffic Camera optimizes vehicle imaging".

    m6toll Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis
  • Express & Star (Saturday) - "Talks on free M6 Toll travel". The line from the Aeneid says "I fear the Greeks, even bringing gifts". The politicians do not care about congestion, if they did then we would have the roads we need without tolls, and the existing M6 Toll road would be bought out. This latest suggestion may just be another way of trying to promote this empty road

    malaysia singapore Strange customs
  • The Star - "Right move, wrong target". The way in which Singapore forces vehicles to top up with its more expensive fuel is interesting, but what is bizarre is the practice in some countries of combining fuel subsidies with road tolls. Is this a sign that those in power drive big cars?

    ireland Irish trolls
    Ireland is considering replacing vehicle excise duty with road tolls - RTE - "New system of motor taxation is urged". The declared aim of the policy is to "encourage consumers to purchase more fuel-efficient, clean vehicles and to drive less". Drivers know that is what high fuel prices and high fuel taxes does, those who advocate tolls have other aims.

    Monday 2 June 2008

    britain" chimaera Shhh.. 1
    On the 8th May the DfT issued various surveys and statistics without any press releases, including - "Public attitudes to congestion and road pricing", the page has links to the report and questionaire (pdf files) and tables (Excel). One credit point for the DfT is that they have been open enough to include the script that was used for this survey. The script makes it easier to tell how misleading the published results are.

    The DfT and the other toll advocates work from a manual that tells them how best to get a positive response. For a start those surveyed were told - "A number of transport experts have indicated that building new roads and improving public transport cannot on their own deal with the congestion problem. It has been suggested that we need to also look at alternative methods of charging for road use that might encourage people to use their cars differently or change their travel behaviour. " Other tricks are the number and order of the questions, the choices given (or not) and most important of all - not telling people that road pricing will cost about £10 billion a year to administer.

  • People were asked whether - "The current system of paying for road use (e.g fuel and road tax) should be changed so that the amount people pay relates more closely to how often, when and where they use the roads? " 53% of people agreed with this, despite the fact that in independent surveys the vast majority of drivers say that fuel tax is the best and fairest sytem (they were not given the choice in this survey).

  • The next question was whether - "People who drive on busy roads should pay more to use the roads than people who drive on quiet roads?". The answer to the previous question would make one expect that people would support this, but only 25% agreed.

  • Similarly, when asked whether - "People who drive at the busiest times should pay more to use the roads than people who drive at quiet times?", only 23% agreed.

  • They were then asked whether - "People who drive cars that do less damage to the environment, for example, hydrogen, battery or fuel-cell cars, or electric cars should pay less in tax than other drivers?" In PC speak "damage to the environment" is producing the plant food CO2, though this may not be what interviewees understood by the question as 69% of them said yes. Even if they had understood the question, other surveys indicate that most people realise that the best way of reducing fuel use is through fuel taxes and not road pricing.

    The next series of questions were prefaced by - "A new system of road-pricing might mean that rather than everyone paying road tax and then fuel tax, these taxes could be reduced, and people would pay tax calculated on the times of the day/week they used the roads and the specific routes they used (like a pay as you go scheme)...". Given the cost of running a road pricing system, this is so misleading that it is difficult to see this as anything other than a deliberate deception.

  • The first of this series of questions was "Do you think this kind of road pricing system would work in reducing congestion?" The answer was that only 30% were sure that it would work.

  • It seems that the Government expected the previous answer as the next question was "Why do you think that this kind of road pricing system would not work in reducing congestion?" . The answers (a few people cited more than one reason) were - 53% - People won't be able to change behaviour
    31% - People don't want to change behaviour
    17% - People will use other non-charged routes causing congestion
    17% - Alternatives are inadequate/unsatisfactory
    8% - The system would be unenforcable
    11% - People will be unable to pay
    8% - People will refuse to pay
    8% - Other reasons
  • The next question was "How do you think this type of road pricing system would affect you?". The answers incuded 9% who said that in some way or other they would either drive less or at different times or on different roads.

  • Next up was "Do you think this type of system would be fair?" 29% agreed, 52% said no, and the rest were unsure.

  • That was followed up with - "What do you think might be unfair about this system?". The answers (a few people cited more than one reason) were - 51% - People won't be able to change travel behaviour
    29% - The cost would be too much for people
    28% - Poor people would be affected worse than rich people
    25% - There are no adequate alternatives for people to use instead
    15% - People won't want to change
    13% - Other
  • Next was whether you "would believe that a road pricing system was administered accurately if drivers got an itemised bill for their journeys like people do with some mobile phones?" - 39% agreed, 37% disagreed, and the rest were unsure.

  • People were then told "information on where people travelled might need to be kept to work out how much they would need to pay" and asked - "How far do you agree or disagree with the following statement. It would be OK for some information to be held on where drivers had travelled, as long as there were laws preventing this from being used for any other purpose, or disclosed to anyone else (apart from the driver)?" - 44% agreed, 38% disagreed, and the rest were unsure.

  • The next question was similar "It would be OK for some information to be held on where drivers have travelled, as long as this was held by an organisation independent of the Government? ", but got a more negative answer - 33% agreed, 47% disagreed, and the rest were unsure. There is an implication that people trust "independent" organisations even less than they do the Government.

  • The next question was another variation on the same theme - "It would never be OK for information to be held on where drivers have travelled?", and got a positive answer, rather than the negative one which was presumably desired - 41% agreed, 35% disagreed, and the rest were unsure.

  • The next question was again deceiving as it ignored the cost of road pricing - "I would be prepared to accept/It would be acceptable to introduce road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount of taxation paid by motorists as a group, even if this meant some people paying more than they do at present? ". Even with this deception, there was only 41% acceptance, with 35% not accepting it and the rest unsure.

  • The last question was a variation on this deception - "The revenue from road pricing could be spent on a range of public services, as is the case with current revenue raised from fuel duty and road tax; or it could be spent only on roads and transport. Which of the following do you think should apply? ". The choices and responses were restricted and did not for instance include all the money raised being spent on roads- (1) Money raised from road pricing should be spent on a range of public services - 20%.
    (2) Money raised from road pricing should be spent only on roads and transport - 48%.
    (3) I don't agree with road pricing under any circumstance - 14%
    (4) I would need to know more about this type of system before I could say - 18%.
    Though in many cases the answers are not what the Government wanted, this survey is alarming as it seems that the Government is planning to go ahead with road pricing and that it believes that it can deceive the people.

    britain" Shhh.. 2
    Also on the 8th May the DfT issued these other two surveys and statistics without any press releases -

  • "Vehicle licensing statistics: 2007", the page has links to the report (pdf file) and tables (Excel).
    The number of licensed cars in 2007 increased from 2006 by 400,000 (or 1.4 per cent) to 28.2 million. The number of other licenced vehicles increased by 200,000 (or 3.4 per cent) to 5.7 million. (Other reports give an estimate of 1.5 million unlicensed vehicles in use.)

  • "Congestion on inter-urban roads", the page has links to various reports (pdf files) and tables (Excel).
    The table covers just under 7,400 miles of main roads (outside urban areas) for the period August 2004 to July 2005. The figures show the extent to which actual measured speeds between points on the network are below "reference speeds" i.e. "the speed that could theoretically be achieved when traffic is free flowing. This is usually less than the speed limit in order to allow for slowing down at junctions, etc. and to reflect the fact that even in the best conditions, the speed limit will not on average be attained. ". From the figures we have calculated that the average delay is just under 7 seconds per mile over all time periods, and even during the AM peak is only 9 seconds. Remarkably low figures!!!

    britain" Climate change - official
    Last week the DfT issued the result of the latest survey on - "Public Attitudes towards climate change and the impact of transport", it has links to the report and questionnaire (pdf files) and tables (Excel).
    Those interviewed were asked 41 questions. Some of the results are shown below. It seems that the Government has managed to make almost all the population believe in man made global warming, and believe that cars are one of the main causes, though a surprisingly high number believe that flying is more significant. Despite these beliefs, only 16% support "charging motorists to enter towns and cities" and many of those 16% will not be drivers.

  • The survey indicates that 9% thought that climate change was "the most important issue facing Britain". This made it equal fourth with Education (top was Crime with 39%, then Immigration at 19% and Health at 18%).

  • When asked for possible causes of climate change (they could give more than one and on average gave three) - 69% believed that it was due to "Emissions from road transport", 39% chose "Emissions from planes", only 33% chose "Emissions from power stations".

  • Surveyees were then told that "Climate change is thought to be the main cause of changing weather patterns in Britain and around the world.", perhaps not suprisingly 91% then answered that British climate was being affected.

  • They were given a list of various forms of transport and asked which were "major contributors to climate change" (they could give more than one and on average gave between three and four) - 77% gave "aeroplanes", the same number gave "vans and lorries", 75% gave "cars", 54% gave "buses and coaches". No other form got more than 30%. A similar question asked "Which form of transport contributes most to climate change". The top answer at 36% was "Aeroplanes", "Cars" came next at 34% and then "Vans and lorries" at 17%, the other forms were at 4% or less.

  • They were than told that under "the Kyoto Protocol" "emissions from cars and domestic plane journeys" will have to be cut and were asked which of 11 policies they would supprt (they could give more than one and on average gave between three and four). The choices were- 59% - Spending more on improving bus services
    55% - Spending more on improving rail services
    55% - More safe routes for children to walk to school
    41% - Measures to encourage car sharing
    39% - Higher taxes on less environmentally friendly cars
    38% - Better information on local public transport services
    36% - More cycle tracks
    19% - Increasing the cost of flying
    16% - Charging motorists to enter more towns and cities
    9% - Increasing tax on petrol
    5% - Increasing car parking charges

    usa USA Roundup
  • No tolls have arrived - but only for New York officials - NY Daily News- "No tolls paid on 24,000 E-ZPasses".

  • "We have congestion pricing right now, it's called OPEC." - Press Telegram - "As gas prices climb, L.A. changes".

  • The New York Sun wants roads to be sold - "Rendell's Road".

  • Other stories - Virginia - "Compromise in Doubt For Va. Roads Funding"   Florida - "Never notified of toll violation".

    Sunday 1 June 2008

    usa USA Roundup
  • Toll opponents are "the grown-up equivalent of a toddler sticking his fingers in his ears and blabbering loudly as a means of pretending not to hear a parent's scolding" - Online Athens (Georgia) - "Resistance to road tolls may be futile".

  • Report on the "Reason" Foundation - Courant - "Idealism Takes A Wrong Turn".

  • Other stories - Texas - "Editorial: Officials should tread lightly in considering new toll authority"   Florida - "Public cool to plan to privatize toll road"   California - "Toll lane proposal violates intent of highway act"   Pennsylvania - "Business as usual"   Texas - "Kolkhorst: ‘Wait, see’ on TxDOT".

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