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Taking Their Toll

Taking Their Toll

Will it never end? The relentless war against motorists continues. The present government promised not so long ago – coupled with the fact that it was in their election manifesto – that any tolling of roads would be confined to any newly built stretches of carriageway. How naïve we must have been to believe that.

Under the present Secretary of State for Transport, one Justine Greening MP, we are now told that the administration has plans to raise money for highway improvements (and you thought that was what your road tax was for!) by tolling an ‘enhanced’ twenty mile section of the A14 in Cambridgeshire.

So far so bad, but if you thought that would be it, you are entirely wrong. It has been suggested that the once glorious A303 – which used to be a wonderful road to drive on back in the day – that winds its way west past Stonehenge is, at least in part, to be subject to a toll.

Other roads where they are thinking of applying this additional iniquitous tax include stretches of the A1, A27 and the A30. All this despite – and this is key – that the M6 toll road around Birmingham was pronounced a failure as long ago as 2010!

When it was opened in 2003 it was hailed as the solution to congestion. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. Two years ago the Campaign for Better Transport (and they are Greens) pointed out that the toll road was not diverting anywhere near the amount of traffic that it was supposed to do. It is losing money. Research by the Campaign showed that private toll roads didn’t help motorists or investors.

Inevitably, as so often happens, when things don’t work or sell as expected the prices are put up rather than down. Hence the toll on the M6 is now a fiver and motorists are staying away. Many drivers simply can’t afford it. If it was much cheaper, maybe it would work, but nobody seems to see that.

This is short-termism at its worst from a cash-strapped government who don’t apparently have the imagination to think of real ways of helping the economy. As the Campaign said: “Toll roads are not, and will never be, a solution to congestion on Britain’s roads, no matter how attractive they may appear to cash-strapped politicians desperate to deliver otherwise unaffordable road schemes.”

Enough said.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==