Re: [carfree_cities] Very interesting potential Brittish Transport Plan
- How about a progressive road use tax (i.e. one that rewards travel in high
MPG vehicles (are there any available in the US?) and one that is based on
income and/or the value of the vehicle being driven (i.e. low toll for an
old Toyota Tercel, high toll for brand new Mercedes SUV))?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carfree City, USA" <carfreecity@...>
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 9:12 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Very interesting potential Brittish Transport Plan
This article was posted on another list. The possibilities are quite
interesting. If something like this were considered by the government, half
of the U.S. population would have a heart attack on the spot!
(article and URL below)
CarFree City, USA
Crisis plan for tolls on all roads
Juliette Jowit, transport editor
Sunday July 11, 2004
The biggest shake-up in the history of British motoring is to be outlined in
a government-funded study that proposes a national toll scheme to charge
drivers up to 90p a kilometre (£1.45 a mile) for using the nation's roads.
The Observer has obtained a draft copy of the year-long investigation into
the feasibility of road-user charging, which reveals that the revolutionary
new scheme could slash congestion in half, saving Britain from a devastating
Compiled by motoring organisations, environmentalists, government officials,
economists and transport experts, the study was ordered by Transport
Secretary Alistair Darling last year in a clear signal that satellite
charging could be the only way to tackle rising levels of traffic and
The scheme, which would involve fitting Britain's 30 million cars with
electronic chips linked to satellite and charging for every kilometre
travelled, could raise more than £10 billion a year for the Treasury and
boost the economy by another £12bn through better transport links.
The draft road-pricing report, due to be published this month, stresses it
is up to the government to decide whether to press ahead with a national
charging system, but says such pricing would 'unblock roads, to the benefit
of the economy and the environment'. The report adds: 'The real issue is
that, without road pricing, we all lose - by higher and higher amounts as
the years go by and congestion grows.'
The findings are likely to ignite a fierce battle between motoring groups,
who want car taxes cut, and environmental lobbies and many transport
experts, who argue charging must be implemented as soon as possible.
'The central issue is the recognition that road capacity is not going to be
expanded to keep pace with traffic growth, and that means there's no
alternative but to tackle growth. Road pricing is a powerful instrument to
do that,' said Phil Goodwin, professor of transport studies at University
College London. 'There isn't a more popular alternative on offer to
[politicians] if they want to control or improve travelling conditions.'
The documents, which also outline 10 other suggestions for cutting
congestion, reveal most charges would be in urban areas and on trunk roads,
especially in peak hours, while more than half of drivers could pay less
than they do now to use the roads.
They put forward 11 different models, most involving eight to 10 levels of
charge, depending on traffic numbers on a particular road. At the highest
price considered, with a cap of 87p per kilometre in today's terms,
congestion could be cut by half in urban areas and one third on trunk roads.
But the report says only 0.5 per cent of drivers would pay the top fee.
Ministers have also indicated that some, if not all, of the money raised
will be offset by cuts in fuel duty and possibly scrapping vehicle tax
discs. Nor would it be necessary to set the prices so high: one model
examined would charge no more than 20p a kilometre; another showed just
having charges in London and other main conurbations would reduce urban
delays by 44%, but trunk road hold-ups by only 10%.
In a poll of motorists carried out for the study group, the 'vast majority'
of drivers did not want to pay more, but six in 10 would accept a change if
overall taxes did not rise, and two thirds would if there were good
alternatives. Privacy worries about satellite-tracking was not a 'major
issue' for 62%, but a sizeable minority held 'strong views'.
Before then, more local authorities could be encouraged to introduce local
charges - like those in London and Durham - by getting money for transport
or cutting local taxes. New roads could also have tolls before then, it
Last week the DoT appeared to have already acted on the last suggestion,
announcing plans for a new 50-mile toll motorway between Birmingham and
Currently, it would cost £3bn to fit the fleet of 30m vehicles with £100 of
equipment - plus the expense of collection and enforcement.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
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