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Old October 12th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #3101
Mwmbwls
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http://www.birminghampost.net/news/w...33-32013052/2/

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The M6 Toll road should be nationalised as it is a huge waste of resources and money, a Conservative Party Conference fringe event heard.
The event organised by West Midlands transport authority Centro also heard that the High Speed Rail route will turn Birmingham Airport into a London airport with 40-minute travel times from Heathrow.
But Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip called for an end to the ‘madness’ which sees the old M6 choked up with HGVs and traffic day after day while the £5.30 per car M6 Toll lies largely empty.
He said: “There is massive capacity on the M6 Toll which is totally under used. We have got to deal with this and the solution is simple, bring it back into public ownership. There are a number of ways to do this.”
He said the finances were a disaster. “It cost £500 million to build, so why is there £1 billion of debt attached to it? This is because it was refinanced by the banks and the shareholders took a £500 million dividend.
“Their only answer is to increase the tolls, which means less cars use the road and there’s less maintenance.”
He added that inevitably the lorries are using the old M6, increasing the damage to the bridges and viaducts and heaping further repair costs on the taxpayer.
He suggested that waiting until the road’s owner Midlands Expressway Ltd needs to refinance its huge debts and then doing a deal to nationalise the motorway.
And that alternative road pricing schemes, perhaps even charging for peak time use on the old M6, could be used to regulate traffic and pay for the purchase.
The Centro fringe event also talked about prizing further funding from the Department for Transport to enable the region to set its own priorities and fund major projects such as Metro routes and open new rail lines.
Andrew Cleaver of National Express and the Birmingham and Solihull Local
M6 Toll said:

“If you have to go the Department for Transport every time you need funding, there is a time lag and it ends up costing more.”
He cited the example of the Manchester Metro, where complicated PFI deals and hold ups led to costs soaring, and contrasted this with London where under the mayor’s direction projects like Crossrail and Dockland Light Rail extension have eased through.
There was consistent support for High Speed Rail from the panel.
Mr Cleaver added: “Opposition to it has been driving all the decisions. But we need this for regeneration of the economies of the North and Midlands, to rebalance the economic power away from the South-East.
Mr Inskip said that there are conservative projections of 22,000 jobs and £1.5 billion wealth created for the region by HS2 but in his opinion it would probably be nearer 60,000 jobs and £3 billion.
“But we must have a direct route to mainland Europe. It is not going to be as much use if there is an interchange in London.”
He also welcomed the prospect of 40 minute travel times between Heathrow and Birmingham Airport. “If that is not another London airport, then I don’t know what is.”
Tom Fanning CEO of M6 Toll said: “The concession for the M6 Toll runs for up to a further 42 years.
“It was a large capital project costing almost £1 billion to build, at no cost to the taxpayer, and we take a very long term view of this investment.
“While traffic on this and all UK roads has been affected by the current economic downturn and high petrol prices, we are confident it will return to more normal levels in due course.”
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Geoff Inskip's remarks prompt me to recycle this threads title. Is it not time that the political third rail that is roading pricing is not grasped but with adequate forethought properly negotiated?
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Old October 13th, 2012, 01:30 AM   #3102
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Geoff Inskip's remarks prompt me to recycle this threads title. Is it not time that the political third rail that is roading pricing is not grasped but with adequate forethought properly negotiated?
I'm assuming by that you mean, why hasn't it been properly considered?

If any government attempts to implement a policy of road pricing in this country, especially at the present time, the results would be akin to Margaret Thatcher's Poll Tax. The British motorist is seen as a revenue stream for the government, and nothing else. Labour milked it for all it was worth, and now the Tories can't help themselves but carry it on. If they added a road pricing system on top of the obscenely over-inflated fuel prices, as well as the ever-increasing road tax, then they'd be finished. They've got themselves into a position where they can't cut the road or fuel taxes because they rely so heavily on them for the budget, and yet can't explore other schemes because as far as motorists are concerned, enough's enough already. The response Labour got to the idea a few years ago said it all about the idea of road pricing. It simply isn't even worth considering.

As far as I'm concerned, the only way I'd be happy to see road pricing introduced in Britain would be if fuel and road tax was cut by at least 50%, along with similar cuts to train fares, with any increases capped at the rate of inflation for future years. Following these cuts, I'd then want to see all funds raised by the road pricing scheme reinvested entirely into the road network, though maintenance, upgrades and new construction.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 07:00 PM   #3103
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Tolling has been considered many times, many economists advising the DfT will tell them that tolling is how to maximize the current network. To a degree it's a matter of timing. Income from fuel duties is already declining despite (or perhaps partially due to) being so high. Fuel use is reducing as people get more efficient cars or are priced out of certain journeys, also we have incentives to get electric cars. This doesn't mean that governments in many countries aren't already looking at other revenue streams. Satellite linked systems seem to be a possibility as the Galileo system is in process at the moment. One reason for its' construction is road tolling so don't be surprised.

George Osborne wants new road construction to be paid from sources other than govt. due to the excess debts we are building so tolling is the obvious source there. There is a suggestion that future PFI schemes will guarantee a profit for the operator, personally I can't see the point, the state can still borrow much more cheaply than any investment fund so the driver will pay more for no reason other than to make government borrowing look better.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #3104
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Satellite linked systems seem to be a possibility as the Galileo system is in process at the moment. One reason for its' construction is road tolling so don't be surprised.
Satellite-based road tolling is only pushed to try and justify Galileo - it forms a circle: road tolling is pushed for to give Galileo something to do, Galileo is pushed for as it's needed for this road tolling.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #3105
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Satellite-based road tolling is only pushed to try and justify Galileo - it forms a circle: road tolling is pushed for to give Galileo something to do, Galileo is pushed for as it's needed for this road tolling.
Well that's enough of a justification for our politicians. They'll handily put their eurosceptic views to one side for some extra cash.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #3106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackem View Post
Tolling has been considered many times, many economists advising the DfT will tell them that tolling is how to maximize the current network. To a degree it's a matter of timing. Income from fuel duties is already declining despite (or perhaps partially due to) being so high. Fuel use is reducing as people get more efficient cars or are priced out of certain journeys, also we have incentives to get electric cars. This doesn't mean that governments in many countries aren't already looking at other revenue streams. Satellite linked systems seem to be a possibility as the Galileo system is in process at the moment. One reason for its' construction is road tolling so don't be surprised.

George Osborne wants new road construction to be paid from sources other than govt. due to the excess debts we are building so tolling is the obvious source there. There is a suggestion that future PFI schemes will guarantee a profit for the operator, personally I can't see the point, the state can still borrow much more cheaply than any investment fund so the driver will pay more for no reason other than to make government borrowing look better.
Ah but tolling and road pricing are two completely different things. Road pricing, as I understand it, is charging motorists when they drive, depending on where and when they travel, and what routes they use, using GPS, black boxes and the like. That to me is tantamount to an obstruction of basic human rights, for those living on the breadline, trapped by the spiralling costs of private transport, and the equally over-priced public alternative.

As for road tolls, I'm not against them per se, but they need to be carefully implemented, and administered fairly. The M6 Toll is the classic example of how not to carry out a road tolling exercise, and the government were stitched up with that one. Future tolls, if they're implemented, should be reasonable, and be removed once the road has been paid for. You only need to look at Ireland to see how road tolls can be used to create a superbly efficient network without charging the heaven and earth to use the roads themselves once they're built. And of course, the ironic thing is, Ireland will start another round of road building, funded through the PPP mechanism, later on this year. Why we can't manage the same is baffling.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 05:05 PM   #3107
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The Irish tolling system isn't all the wonder its made out to be! We have our own M6 Toll in a way, namely the M3. Massively underused. Same with the Limerick Tunnel, and the Waterford bypass. All tolled and underused as people are dodging the tolls.

The Limerick Tunnel and M3 had traffic guarantee schemes in them which are now costing the government millions.

Even the M50 toll as it stands had to be bought out from NTR to become barrier free. That cost a fortune.

Now tolls that DO work are rare.... M6 Ballinasloe seems reasonable. Its only €1.80, and you save that in petrol as the route is more direct and fast than the old route. You'd be crazy to dodge that one.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #3108
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Originally Posted by Chris_533976 View Post
The Irish tolling system isn't all the wonder its made out to be! We have our own M6 Toll in a way, namely the M3. Massively underused. Same with the Limerick Tunnel, and the Waterford bypass. All tolled and underused as people are dodging the tolls.
I wouldn't call it dodging. Motorists avoid paying the toll by not using the toll road after all.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 08:44 PM   #3109
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I just came back from a short trip to Brighton and on the way back to Gatwick I noticed advanced roadworks on A23. So, I checked what it is.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:05 PM   #3110
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You only need to look at Ireland to see how road tolls can be used to create a superbly efficient network without charging the heaven and earth to use the roads themselves once they're built. And of course, the ironic thing is, Ireland will start another round of road building, funded through the PPP mechanism, later on this year. Why we can't manage the same is baffling.
The Republic of Ireland has 65.3 people/km², while England has 407 people/km² -- the latter therefore has naturally got far more problems with NIMBYism.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 10:41 PM   #3111
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The Republic of Ireland has 65.3 people/km², while England has 407 people/km² -- the latter therefore has naturally got far more problems with NIMBYism.
Local government structure has to factor into the equation too. I'm sure Derbyshire's county gov't is structured much differently then County Mayo's.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 10:18 PM   #3112
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A new service station on the M25 opened a few weeks ago - it's at Cobham, just east of junction 10 (with the A3). There's one station, on the south side (normally there are two separate stations for each side). The filling station and service building are both open; the landscaping is still going on, and there is mud everywhere including on the loop off the eastbound carriageway of the M25.

Mobile reception is terrible - very poor in the car park and service building although it was good in the truck park for some reason. There are several free wi-fi services in the main building, although they're all run by food vendors or other service providers. I managed to connect to the O2 wifi which is run by McDonalds (I never go to McD's, but Costa also runs the same service), but even that was really slow when I was there. You'd think they would make sure there is adequate mobile coverage at a service station - it is the only place many drivers can use their phones on a journey.

Picasa album - Cobham services
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Old October 25th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #3113
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In a word, tolling is a violation of human rights, as stated above.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #3114
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In a word, tolling is a violation of human rights, as stated above.
Surely, it is only if all the roads are tolled, and especially if a car monitoring system that tells the state where you are is used. (And roads have to be paid for, especially if motor vehicles are to use them.) In most countries where there are tolls, there are alternative routes.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 07:48 PM   #3115
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The trouble with tolling is that it leads to a non-optimal distribution of traffic as drivers choose non-tolled routes that are often of poorer quality. One ends up with extra congestion on non-tolled routes and under-utilisation of tolled ones, the M6/M6T being a notorious example.

A bigger problem in my opinion is when governments decide transport is a problem and start taxing it as if it was a non-essential and even harmful thing that ought to be discouraged, like say tobacco.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 11:31 PM   #3116
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A bigger problem in my opinion is when governments decide transport is a problem and start taxing it as if it was a non-essential and even harmful thing that ought to be discouraged, like say tobacco.
Which is, in a nutshell, exactly what the British government has resulted to doing over the past couple of decades.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #3117
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Which is, in a nutshell, exactly what the British government has resulted to doing over the past couple of decades.
I was just about to write precisely the same thing
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Old October 26th, 2012, 04:54 PM   #3118
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And has that policy reduced traffic congestion? (that's a rhetorical question)
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Old October 27th, 2012, 01:43 AM   #3119
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And has that policy reduced traffic congestion? (that's a rhetorical question)
Exactly. And now with the present economic situation, they're now so reliant on the income generated from motorists, that even if they wanted to cut fuel duty to aid growth they couldn't.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 02:18 AM   #3120
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And has that policy reduced traffic congestion? (that's a rhetorical question)
London is relatively non congested given it's giant size.

Seriously, it's just one type of tax which allows the government to pay for things most of us expect it to provide. That includes good roads, but not only...

Would we really be happier if instead of fuel and road taxes we'd have to pay extra in income tax or value added tax? I doubt it...
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