Friday, December 01, 2006

'No Brainer' may be a big headache

For British drivers who have to pay through the nose, above that stiff upper lip, to drive at rush hour:

Motorists should pay at least £1.28 a mile to drive on the country's busiest roads at the height of the rush hour, the Government's transport adviser said in a report published today.

Sir Rod Eddington said that without such a scheme in place by 2015 the taxpayer would face a vast bill for a new highway building programme to cope with the mounting congestion.

"For me in the end, road pricing is an economic no-brainer," the former British Airways chief executive said today.

A national road pricing scheme would be worth £28 billion to the economy by 2025 and congestion would be cut by half, which alone would be worth £22 billion.

Which would appear to be saying that the fees would be higher than the benefits!

Let the recriminations begin:

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Alistair Carmichael: "Sir Rod Eddington was asked for a 30-year strategy: he has given us a businessman's analysis which might have been acceptable to more people a few months ago but since the Stern Report it looks a bit thin and outdated in its thinking.

Environmental group Transport 2000: "We will support Eddington on road pricing, but only if revenues go back into public transport and other measures to give people real choice, and if pricing helps cut overall pollution levels as well as congestion. We will oppose funding going towards big new roads programmes.


• The Rail Maritime and Transport Union said the report had recognised the urgency of reducing road congestion but failed to seize the opportunity to recommend the "massive" increase needed in public transport capacity.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "Urgent decisions are needed on major infrastructure projects, such as Crossrail and a new north-south high-speed rail link, as well as a commitment that all road-pricing revenue is ring-fenced for investment in less polluting transport modes."

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