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Tuesday 31 October

australia britain" Ozzie Scepticism
Most foreign news media have well and truly fallen for the Armageddon fables spun by the British Government, but Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun gives his sceptical view on global warming from down under - "I'm on the griller". Let's hope that Andrew is still in a job next week, though at least they no longer burn apostates at the stake. Do they?

britain" chimaera British Scepticism
From the Daily Mail science editor - This is Money - "Green tax will hurt only the poor"

usa Tolls buffaloed
The Buffalo, New York tolls have gone. Owing to public pressure and the court case, it was expected that they would eventually go, but the coming election appears to have hastened their demise - Buffalo Business First - "I-190 tolls in rear-view mirror"   Buffalo News - Niagara Thruway users cheer as tolls go by the wayside".
Do you think we could get a fee for the use of the "No Toll" sign?

usa Tolls bomber
A Chicago man has been arrested for various bombings. There was apparently no one hurt in the bombings. The man was convicted in 2005 for pouring glue into a toll machine on the North-South Tollway. He was placed on 2 years probation, ordered to do 20 days of community service, fined $104 for not paying tolls and had to pay $1,744 for repairs to the machine.

usa Empty toll roads the best - It's official
27 miles of new toll roads opened today around Austin, Texas. But there is a twist - they are toll free till next year. Couldn't be anything to do with elections - could it?
One report on the new road is in Austin American Statesman - "Judging toll road success a tricky matter". A PR man for the trolls says " For drivers, particularly those with a reasonable amount of disposable cash and thus the ability to pay tolls, the mere existence of the road as a speedy alternative will constitute a public policy success. In fact, the emptier the road, the better, from their point of view. "

Monday 30 October

britain" chimaera Big Con continues
  • The Government with the willing cooperation of the BBC and most of the news media continues to spin disaster stories about global warming and the need for drastic action against transport, and in particular the introduction of road pricing. The world may be getting warmer or it may not, and if so it may be a bad thing or not, but the possible effect of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is only one of many possible causes, and the effect of British road transport is negligible - Britain produces 2% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions and less than a quarter of that comes from land transport.
  • Meanwhile all other crises are ignored, including the biggest crisis of all - population growth. In 1950 the world population was 2.56 billion, today it is 6.55 billion, in 2050 it is estimated to be 9.4 billion. It is not surprising that governments ignore the real problem, what is very difficult to understand is why greens and "friends of the earth" are apparently not the least little bit concerned that there are more people needing space and consuming limited resources and creating waste and pollution.
  • Even if carbon dioxide was going to lead to Armageddon, the cures put forward by this unholy alliance of politicians, greens and some business interests are irrational. They propose things such as more road tolls, road pricing, higher licence fees for "gas guzzlers", and higher parking charges for these "gas guzzlers". Why don't they instead argue for a carbon tax?
    BBC 30th October - "Climate change 'brings huge cost'"     BBC 29th October - "Milliband draws up green tax plan"     BBC 29th October - "Report's stark warning on climate"     BBC 29th October - "Report's stark warning on climate"     BBC 25th October - "'Gas guzzlers' face parking hike"     BBC 25th October - "Road charging experiment update"     BBC 17th October - "Road charging: Our test drivers"     BBC 16th October - "What would road pricing cost?"     BBC 16th October - "How would road charging work?".

  • The Stern report. You won't find the "t" word in the report. But in chapter 16 you will find "behavioural changes - perhaps encouraged, for example, by congestion pricing or intelligent infrastructure - could lead to further improvements". Improvements means poorer people priced out of using cars and "Intelligent infrastructure" apparently means tolls and road pricing.

  • News media all round the world repeated the British "Stern" warning of a global warming Armageddon, including -"devastation of the world economy on a scale greater than the world wars, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, declining crop yields, drinking water shortages, higher death tolls from malnutrition and heat stress, and widespread outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever".
    The headlines we liked best were - "British alarmed by global warming" and "British Ask Gore to Save the Planet".

    Sunday 29 October

  • A memo from David Milliband (the Environment Secretary) to Gordon Brown was leaked to the Mail on Sunday. Dave apparently suggested to Gordon that he impose lots more taxes -"green" ones. What this really meant was an attack on drivers through more road taxes and road pricing. The news media were worried about possible taxes on air travellers - but what Dave was suggesting as air travel taxes for a year was less than half what is forced from drivers - every week.
    Other papers such as the Troll Times had Government non leaks championing road pricing etc in advance of the Stern report.

  • Fight over tolls spoils and more plans for Thames crossings - News Shopper - "Dartford tolls could fund new crossing".

  • Two years ago a Canadian committed suicide after being hounded by the trolls for unpaid tolls. Tragically they had been chasing the wrong man. The trolls have now found another man, and his case came up in court - Toronto Sun - "The mystery man at the wheel".

    Saturday 28 October

  • The Berkshire Eagle reported that inspired by the casino heist in the film "Ocean's Eleven," a toll collector and two other men financed a spree at a casino and strip clubs using thousands of dollars in stolen Massachusetts Turnpike tolls.

  • Two reports today on the cost of private tolls. In Florida one of the two bids for a New Tampa toll road for the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority wants a billion dollars in public subsidies, as well as tolls. In Virginia, the public are being gently told that proposed new express toll lane on the Beltway and interstate 95 will also have to be partly funded from taxes. Now that's what we call private enterprize!.

    Friday 27 October

  • "Mass Public Opposition to Tolling" from New Zealand's "Scoop" is the sort of headline that we like. Elaine West of the Residents Action Movement says - "The people of Auckland are being lied to, blackmailed and coerced by officials and politicians into accepting tolls on roads." Sound familiar? There is a big tolls "consultation" campaign going on at the moment in Auckland area.

    Thursday 26 October

    britain" Dunham Toll Increase Inquiry
    Following last week's toll increase inquiry, here is our version of what happened.

    Wednesday 25 October

  • The Lib Dem controlled Richmond-upon-Thames council is to charge residents for parking based on how much fuel a car uses - BBC - "'Gas guzzlers' face parking hike". Strange, we thought that cars didn't use up any fuel when they were parked?

  • There has been a bit of a hurricane in Florida because the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority paid $100,000 for what resulted in a two page report on those who oppose tolls. Sounds like good value to us, though they can look at our web site for free.

  • The Boston Herald had this from Scott Wolfe - "All tolls must be eliminated. For more than a half-century, motorists have been forced to pay this extortion which is literally blood money from working class people. Tolls are highway robbery."

  • The Labour Government in Victoria has won a bid to delay revealing its secret plans to charge a toll for East Link . The Court of Appeal has ruled the case will not be heard until after the election. It is widely believed that the Government planned the tolls before the 2002 election, though during the 2002 campaign it said the opposite.

    Tuesday 24 October

  • The Birmingham Post reports that the Government have rejected the West Midlands plan for congestion charging - "Road charging plan is rejected". This is all smoke and mirrors - the local authorities had no real intention of bringing in a congestion charge, and the Government knows this. The interesting thing though is that probably none of the bids for Government money have any intention of bringing in any form of road tolls - so who will be the lucky ones that the Government gives the wink (and the cash) to?

  • The Evening Standard reports that radio presenter James Whale is to be UK Independence Party candidate for London Mayor. His key policy will be scrapping the congestion charge.

  • A News Shopper report - "Motorists cross at toll increase" gives reaction to the previous Thursday's proposal for increased tolls on Dartford Crossing.

    Friday 20 October

  • The Shropshire Star reports on the worries of traders if the con charge comes to Shrewsbury - "Traffic charge could hit trade". At the same time the Cambridge Evening News reports that the County Council is speeding ahead with what they themselves describe as "draconian" plans for con charges - "Council puts foot down on plans to charge drivers for using roads".

  • The Troll Times reports on Government plans to toll motorways, possibly starting with a trial on the M25 - "Congestion charging spreads to motorways". The proposal is backed by the usual crowd including the AA Motoring Trust.
    One opponent is Safespeed, who said -
    "The Times today reports on congestion charging trials on motorways. Congestion charging won't work but it will price the poor off the roads.
    Safe Speed research exposed fundamental flaws in the government's road pricing dreams. They simply are not allowing for the demand regulation effects of journey time. When congestion takes place travel takes longer and some people simply don't have the time to travel. This causes congestion to ease in a self regulating cycle.
    With road pricing the increased cost tends to deter poorer road users from travelling - so far so good - but the reduced congestion is attractive to better off road users who take advantage so restoring congestion to similar levels.
    They say that congestion costs business 20 billion pounds per annum - but that's already a congestion cost. Thousands of businesses have already relocated out of town centres for better roads connections. That's why there's an economic boom along the 'M4 corridor'. For those businesses congestion is already a road pricing scheme and business works to minimise costs.
    Traffic levels haven't grown in London for about 30 years. That's because London traffic is already at capacity. The London congestion charge has made little or no difference to congestion, overall traffic levels or journey times - but you have to read TfL self-congratulatory reports carefully to find the truth.
    National congestion charging would be the largest white elephant ever created. There ought to be a law about governments using hugely expensive technology to regulate the population. We don't want it. We don't need it and it won't even work.
    It's curious that a Labour government is so determined to price the poor off the roads to make way for the rich.
    The practicalities of national road user charging are mind boggling. Just imagine trying to collect on 25 million monthly bills. Just imagine the billing disputes. Just imagine the scale of the technology and the opportunities for breakdown at every level.
    Then there's privacy. What if you don't want your wife to know you have visited your mistress three times in the last month?
    Then there's evasion. People will look for ways to evade or undermine the system. It's amazing what you can do with a laptop and a few tools in a closed garage in 30 minutes.
    Who will save us from road pricing madness?"
    britain" Dunham Toll Increase
    Report in Retford Times on the Toll Increase Inquiry - "INQUIRY OPENS INTO BRIDGE TOLL RISES". See Wednesday 18th for more.

    Thursday 19 October

    britain" Dartford Toll Increase
    The Trolls at the Department for Transport are going to increase the tolls on the M25 as it crosses the Thames at Dartford - BBC - "Crossing charges 'could increase'". The current charge of 1 for cars will rise to 1.50. The charge for vans and small lorries of 1.80 rises to 2, and the charge for HGVs of 2.90 will rise to 4.
    The Dartford Crossings were supposed to be free when the cost was recovered. The cost was all paid off by 2002, but the Government decided to break its promise and continue the tolls. They currently get an annual profit of about 50 million. The proposal to increase the charge by 50 percent is scandalous. If tolls were scrapped, it would remove delays and accidents on approaches to the tolls. The excuses that the Government give for increasing tolls are pitiful.
    PS The Freight Transport Association, though they are not in principle opposed to tolls issued a scathing attack on having any tolls at all on the crossing. They said - "Stopping fast moving traffic on a vital motorway to collect a toll is daft."

  • Amazingly the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board have decided to eliminate all tolls on the road west of Route 128. 200 toll collectors will no longer be needed. It is assumed that this is an election move, let's hope that the decision is not reversed after the election.

    Wednesday 18 October

    britain" Dunham Toll Increase Inquiry
    Yesterday there was a public inquiry into a toll increase on the Dunham bridge. We were there helping the objector - Gerry Watt from Lincoln. Here is the story in the Lincolnshire Echo - "GOVERNMENT INQUIRY HELD -ALL FOR THE SAKE OF 5P...".
    Though it wasn't just a question of 5 pence. The present bridge cost only about half a million pounds to build and costs little to maintain. Yet the company that owns it gets over one million pounds every year in tolls and now wants more. John Neville from Lincoln is of a similar view. His online comment to the echo was - "Ridiculous headline! This isn't just for the sake of 5p - it's 5p on every car that goes through, and a 25% increase in the present toll. How can the bridge company (a company which exists for the purpose of creating profits for its shareholders) possibly justify a 100% increase in just a few years? How many other companies have managed to achieve that - particularly in a monopoly situation such as this where vehicles have no other practical alternative? Well done, Mr Watt - without people like you the bridge company would be able to put up prices as much and as often as it liked.".
    Gerry at the Inquiry also attacked the "punitive" tolls on the Humber bridge. He said that it is "indeed sad that governments see the main purpose of the bridge as to raise money through tolls rather than helping towards the prosperity of the whole region".
    It will probably be a month before the Inspector makes his report and the Minister decides whether to allow the increase or not. Whatever the Minister decides, we will be publishing on the site a fuller account of what happened at the Inquiry.

    london usa Another attack on American embassy by Ken
    The Mayor has had another go at the US embassy who stopped paying the con charge last July - BBC - "US diplomats owe 1m in charges". Ken Livingstone says that the toll is not a tax but "a charge for a service - reduced congestion". Almost any tax can be said to be a charge for a service, but in this case it would be one that the Mayor is failing to deliver, his own figures show that congestion in London is no different now than before the charge.
    As one of his opponents (Angie Bray) in the Greater London Assembly said in June - "His congestion charge is a charge on congestion that we once got for free".

    czech Czech tolls delay
    The tolls planned next year for the Czech Republic will be delayed. There is a battle of the Trolls as to whether contracts were awarded fairly. Now the Regional Court in Brno has ordered a halt to all construction related to the system.

  • Officials in New Zealand have admitted that half of the toll income on their proposed toll scheme for Auckland would be lost in the cost of collecting the toll. Tolls would be charged as vehicles passed under tolling gantries that will cost $140 million to build. On some other proposed toll roads it is even worse according to the New Zealand Herald - "Anti-toll lobby group Highway Robbery obtained Cabinet papers last year under the Official Information Act showing that Transit admitted in 2004 that $1.35 of every $1.80 it intended collecting on the tolled extension of the Northern Motorway to Puhoi would be eaten up by transaction costs."

    Tuesday 17 October

  • The Yorkshire Post reports that the Institution of Civil Engineers want road pricing introduced as soon as possible. You would have thought that they would be calling for more and better roads. But perhaps they think that with the Government attacks on drivers, they stand more chance of building tram and railway lines.

  • The board that controls the bridge to Long Beach Island, New Jersey wants to double tolls, though the cost of building the bridge was paid off in 1975. Democrat legislator Jeffrey Toback has instead proposed legislation to abolish the board and the tolls, and turn the bridge over to the county - "This is a good time to examine whether there should be tolls. They are a burden to the people who use the bridge every day."

  • Mary Peters, the new US Transportation Secretary, has been trying to sell her fellow Arizonians on the idea of toll roads - Arizona Daily Star. Comments from readers included:-
    - Nothing like paying for it twice!
    - So what do our federal taxes pay for? To bankroll Haliburton? To pay to invade other countries? To provide full-salary retirement pensions to ex-congressmen? How about we eliminate all taxes to the federal government and keep that tax money in our home states to pay for our roads, our schools, and perhaps even a National Guard that will be available to help out citizens in times of emergency? That is no more radical than an elitist road system that rewards those with lots of money so they can "avoid congestion".
    - Lets see... we pay a tax on gas - for the roads.
    we pay registration on our cars - for the roads.
    we pay a license for the car - for the roads.
    we pay an impact fee - for the roads.
    we allow a state lottery - for the roads.
    Now we are going to have to pay a toll - for the roads??
    - This is unfair! Perhaps if we investigated who builds our roads and how they get the contracts we might "uncover" the reason for some of our problems.

    Sunday 15 October

  • The Republic of New Zealand Party has attacked plans to charge tolls on new roads - "This is nothing more than theft from the taxpayers" - Scoop - "Toll Roads Rip-off".

  • The Austin American Statesman has a big feature selling the idea of toll roads. One of the advocates is Paul from Houston who loves toll roads. He also apparently loves driving as the paper says he drives "about 100,000 miles a year, about 80 percent of that on the toll roads." For that he pays "about $150 a month". That's just over 2 cents per mile of toll road. Two cents wouldn't even cover the cost of collecting the tolls. Perhaps the people of Texas will take this and the rest of the story with a pinch of salt.

  • The Sunday edition of the Troll Times has another story about how badly Britain's roads are congested. It highlights the inadequate system for the movement of goods. It mentions Cecil Parkinson's 1989 white paper "Roads for Prosperity", and the subsequent failure by the Tory and then the Labour Government to build the needed roads. The solution according to the Troll Times? - Road pricing!

    Saturday 14 October

    britain" Clifton Toll Increase Inquiry
    The NAAT was represented at a toll increase inquiry at Bristol this last week. The Trust that runs the Clifton Suspension Bridge want to increase tolls by 66%, from 30 pence to 50 pence. The Trust claim that they are losing money - BBC - "Toll rise considered by inquiry"   BBC - "Toll hike to bridge financial gap"   BBC - "Toll rise inquiry comes to an end".
    This is our version of what happened at the Inquiry (as a pdf document). It is likely to be several weeks before the Inspector gives his recommendations to the Minister and may be two months before the Minister's decision is known.

  • The Guardian hypes the Norwich Union pay as you drive insurance scheme -"Pay-as-you-go cuts costs for some drivers". The Guardian suggests that we will have a road pricing system based on this in "a few years". What they ignore is that pay as you drive insurance premiums are at their highest when there are fewest cars on the road.

  • Some of the news media report on another one of those driver surveys that are mainly plugs for one or other insurance company. The latest survey apparently found that 63% of drivers would not drive less if road pricing was introduced. This is a meaningless figure, as it obviously depends on the price. But at any likely price, all experience suggests that there will actually be more miles driven, as drivers will detour on to longer routes to avoid what they perceive as roads with higher toll prices.

    Friday 13 October

  • A tolled road tunnel is planned under the Bosphorus. Unusually it will be a double decker, each deck will have two one way lanes.

    Wednesday 11 October

  • An anti toll campaigner known as "Ax the Tax" has for the last 2 years been secretly on the Trolls payroll, getting one thousand dollars a week - WESH - "Toll-Road Users Angered".

  • Welsh con trick plans - Western Mail - "Trying to squeeze us out of rush-hour car seats ".

    Tuesday 10 October

  • The Freight Transport Association seemed to favour tolls, but not now according to this press release on road pricing. Best bit is "It is like charging more for the food at a supermarket checkout because there are long queues, hoping that some people will put their goods back and go home."

    Monday 9 October

    m6toll M6 Toll traffic up
    The Australian owners of the M6 Toll released their latest figures just before the weekend to the Australian Stock Exchange. For the first time the figures are quarterly, as they stopped issuing monthly figures in June.
    The traffic for the quarter was 54,742 which is 17.5% up on equivalent quarter in 2005, and just under 1% up on 2004.
    The improvement in the traffic figures may be partly explained by the road works on the old M6, which started in June and are due to finish in December. Bizarrely the Highways Agency say that they are needed because of the "heavy traffic here". The old M6 is still carrying far more traffic, particularly lorries, than the toll road, and there is severe congestion. What would they say if this was the Health Service, and the poor went to overcrowded hospitals with long waiting lists, while the rich and those on expense accounts got 5 star treatment?

    Sunday 8 October

    britain" Public Transport Statistics
    The Public Transport statistics for 2005/2006 were published two weeks ago. Rail usage was up by 3.5% compared with the previous year (2004/05), trams up 1.7%, bus usage was virtually unchanged, and London Underground was down 0.6%.
    About 40% of the income of the bus operators comes from public subsidies, either generally or to pay for age and other concessions. The reported figures for rail subsidy is only 2.5 pence per kilometre, but this appears to be misleading as it does not include any of the money that is spent on the railway network. The subsidy for light rail schemes must be so embarrassingly high, that no figures are shown.

    usa Troll takeover planned in Massachusetts
    The Boston Globe has revealed leaked plans to hand existing toll free roads, including interstates, over to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority who will then toll them. The tolls authority was due to be wound up in 2017.

    usa "Load of manure"
    Yvonne Mintz of "The Facts" in Texas sees through the tolls deception - "Toll roads a dishonest way to raise our taxes".

    Saturday 7 October

    britain" chimaera Tories to target the poor
    We wondered if the Tories were coming off the fence on the issue of tolls. But according to the Times today - "'Lexus lanes' will make drivers pay more to go faster", they aim to target tolls against the poor - Owen Paterson, the Shadow Roads Minister, said that he wanted lanes added to existing roads and any new roads to be tolled. It was suggested to him that tolled lanes would be mainly used by wealthy drivers. His response was that "poorer drivers were more likely to use the (toll) lanes because they had less control over the time that they made their journeys .... the poor are less able to get off work early and may have more time constraints on childcare." .
    The RAC Foundation also want toll lanes - no surprise there then. The only puzzling thing is why anyone at all believes that they speak for drivers.

    britain" chimaera Gridlock plan
    View from the Express and Star - "Gridlock plan that will cost us".

    usa Gone With The Wind
    Filmmaker William Molina has produced a documentary on the Texas tolls tussle - My San Antonio - "Filmmaker captures toll road opposition"     "Truth be tolled" website.

    taiwan Autumn Toll holiday
    The Taipei Times reports that tolls are suspended for part of the next 6 days to "accommodate people returning home after the Mid-Autumn Festival". What a pity there aren't more holidays.

    Friday 6 October

    usa More tolls for fairness
    Associated Press report that two Indiana Democrats want to change the law and allow tolls on the planned extension of Interstate 69 from Martinsville all the way to Indianapolis. Their reason is that the State has already decided to toll the road from Evansville to Martinsville, and they say that it isn't fair. While they are about it, why not let the trolls have a big feast and toll all roads?

    usa More calls for end to Buffalo tolls
    According to reports the Republicans in New York state are joining the Democrats in demanding the removal of the Buffalo tolls - Buffalo News - "Solution is closer on toll removal". Could it be because of the lawsuit, or is there an election coming up?

    Thursday 5 October

    un mexico The real crisis
    Another Climate Change conference has ended. Appropriately it was held in Mexico. Their population in 1950 was 28 million, it is now 106 million and in 2050 it is estimated that despite mass migration to USA it will be 148 million.
    The Total world population according to the US Census Bureau is forecast to increase from its present level of 6.5 billion to 9.4 billion. The increase alone in that 44 years is the same as what the total world population was in 1957. This is the real crisis.
    PS This is a press release from ABD earlier this week - "How Green Are Politicians?".

    britain" chimaera Topsy Turvy road pricing
    The Norwich Union insurance company has been testing a pay as you drive insurance scheme. The hype from the trolls is that this could be the forerunner for a road pricing scheme on all roads. Apart from 1,001 practical and economic issues, there is one starting oddity. Road pricing is supposedly aimed at getting drivers off the road at peak periods. But for younger drivers the new scheme will have the opposite effect. They will be charged 1 ($1.90) per mile for travelling between 11 pm and 6 am (the peak time for accidents, according to the insurance company), and only 5 pence (9 cents) at all other times.

    britain" chimaera More on Tories coming off the fence
    Further to yesterday's report there is a report today from the Press Association who have been speaking to John Redwood MP (Leader of the Conservative Policy Group on "Economic Competitiveness") and Simon Wolfson (chief executive of clothing chain Next, with total annual remuneration of 777,000). The pair will be telling the party to support private toll roads and road pricing.

    britain" chimaera More on tolling M62
    The Oldham Advertiser reports that residents in Saddleworth and other areas are complaining about the tolling of the M62 which has been proposed by the "Northern Way". They are worried that they will be affected by vehicles using alternative and more dangerous routes. The paper also reports that the Department for Transport have said that "If the Northern Way group have done any analysis of the potential benefits of road pricing in the north, the department is interested to see it." Strange as the Northern Way is just a government quango.

    Wednesday 4 October

    britain" chimaera Tories come off the fence
    On Monday Chris Grayling, the Shadow Transport Secretary, told the Tory annual conference that the Tories were "not about to become anti-driver or anti-car". This doesn't match the party pronouncements over the last few months, nor what David Cameron said at the conference. It appears that the Tories are preparing to pull off a "con" trick by planning to inflict tolls on roads to pay for trains, trams and whatever, and pretend that they are not taxes.

    The Leeds Evening Post reports that - "Mr Cameron said Britain would have to go down the route of road tolls and other charges to pay for "additional road capacity" and to cut down on congestion. He threw his weight behind road tolls ... Mr Cameron said: "I think charging, whether its tolls or other forms of road charging are absolutely necessary. We want to improve our road structure but we have to pay for it and we have to keep taxes down, so I am very interested in looking at some element of road charging." "Cameron: 'We need road charges in cities'".

    The Yorkshire Post reports that "Mr Cameron said at the conference: "There is a need for additional road capacity in places, there's no doubt about that. And I think that looking at charging, whether it's tolls or other forms of charging, is absolutely necessary. Money doesn't grow on trees. If we want an improved transport infrastructure, we have to pay for it. We've got to keep taxes down, that's important. So some elements of road charging I'm very interested in looking at and our policy group is." "Parties near consensus on road charging".
    The Yorkshire Post also says that David Cameron "loves driving over the Humber Bridge". As Britain's most expensive toll, we are not surprised.

    europe italy Italy tolls fight - two more rounds
    Following the eurotollcrats overruling Italy's objection to the Spaniards taking over its main roads, last Friday, the Italian Government said that it would be reviewing the toll concessions. Today it is reported that in its turn the EC will investigate Italy for a breach of the competition laws.

    britain" Bus takeover bid
    The Guardian joins in the propaganda war by the anti roads anti drivers brigade to take over the buses. It starts by complaining that there are too many buses and they cause congestion, and ends by saying that bus usage is in terminal decline. The reality is that they want to take over the buses to stop competition and prop up their vastly expensive trams schemes - "Going nowhere fast".

    britain" chimaera Toll gate charge
    The Shropshire Star reports that Shrewsbury could "soon be stung with congestion charge zones at three key gateways into the town". The tolls are planned by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council.

    usa Truckers win - or do they?
    The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from state of New Jersey who have in effect been trying to force trucks to use the toll and other main roads rather than local roads. A lower federal Appeal Court had already ruled that what the state was doing was unconstitutional as it was against interstate commerce. The state has already partly sidestepped the ruling, and is trying to think up more rules that would not fall foul of the courts.

    Monday 2 October

    ireland New Irish Toll
    The tolled M8 Rathcormac/Fermoy bypass opened in Cork today. The Transport Minister said "The significant reduction of through traffic in both towns will also have a beneficial impact on the quality of life for many people, who will be able to go about their daily business in a more efficient way." If freeing the towns of traffic is the purpose of the road, we wonder what the effect will be of the toll of 4.9 euros ($6.20 or 3.30) for trucks?

    britain" chimaera M62 Toll and AA/ RAC backing
    More reaction to the suggestion that the M62 should be tolled. The AA Motoring Trust and RAC Foundation still seems to be supporting the principle of tolls - "M62 toll plans 'would cause chaos'".

    usa Toll Doll
    The Texas department of Transportation are spending nearly two million dollars to persuade drivers to buy tags for electronic tolls. The campaign is based on a computer generated doll - "Now pitching for toll roads: A mouthy doll".

    Sunday 1 October

    britain" chimaera M62 Toll and Tories coming off the fence
    Today's Observer has the "news" about possible tolling of the M62. The Shadow Transport Secretary is objecting to it, but we are bit worried about his reasons. He says that they should wait till there are national standards for road pricing. Does this mean that the Tories are going to come down off the fence and support Labour plans?   "Battle over Pennine motorway toll plans".

    usa Law "unworkable"
    Arkansas state law says that a toll road can't be introduced without a vote of the people. Not surprisingly that does not suit the trolls. Today's Arkansas Democrat Gazette quotes one - "It's not workable.". It seems that the trolls are likely to persuade the legislators to change the law - After the elections?

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