Sunday, August 20, 2006

Good Economics=Bad Politics

In Scotland (as well as among the so-called economists at Angry Bear) they deny the Law of Demand:

Bob Kiley, who stepped down as London's transport commissioner in January, condemns opponents of road tolls for Edinburgh and on the Forth Road Bridge in a hard-hitting Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast on Monday.

Labour's plans to charge motorists £2-a-day to drive into Edinburgh were rejected in a referendum last year by nearly three to one, while in March the Scottish Executive vetoed plans to raise bridge tolls from £1 to up to £4 at peak hours to stem congestion.

Mr Kiley tells the Dispatches documentary about Britain's transport problems: "Edinburgh has a congestion problem, but, even worse, the citizens of Edinburgh have some politicians who did not have the guts to push ahead and solve that problem. What's unbelievable here is that politicians derailed plans for the entire city."

....A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said it remained committed to "appropriate" congestion charging schemes.

However, the Executive's draft national transport strategy, launched in April, suggested it could do more to help back such projects. It stated: "We could assess whether there is any way the Executive could provide more policy support on individual schemes, rather than the current practice of remaining neutral because of our role in confirming charging orders."

Research conducted for the Executive, published in June, showed Edinburgh residents rejected congestion charging because they did not trust the council and thought traffic problems were caused by outsiders.

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