Azara Blog: Government wants to tempt some motorists to take up road pricing

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Date published: 2007/04/17

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Cambridge motorists could be offered financial incentives to take part in road-pricing experiments under Government plans to reduce traffic congestion.

But Coun John Reynolds, Cambridgeshire County Council's cabinet member for the environment, said it would not back the scheme - and it is still in the middle of its own evaluation of congestion-busting options.

The Department for Transport is developing an approach where drivers are offered a choice of continuing to pay motoring taxes or switch to a road-pricing meter in the car.

Drivers could be offered a discount on fuel duty in return for agreeing to pay a distance based charge, which would vary according to the level of congestion.

An on-board "black box" would use satellite positioning and a digital map to record the vehicle's movements.

Drivers would be able to see the true cost of their journey mounting up as they sat behind the wheel and might decide to travel at a cheaper time, by a cheaper route or on public transport.

The county council was awarded almost £1.5 million by the Government last year to look at whether congestion charging would reduce the number of cars coming into Cambridge and boost public transport.

Coun Reynolds said:

"Our submission to the Government put forward a cost-neutral system for the average motorist who might get something off their fuel, income tax or Council Tax for participating.

The only extra charges would be for those who drove excessively.

"We're going through a long process to look at a range of options, and we're halfway through this, so it would be foolish to comment.

"We're not, therefore, supporting this scheme.

"All we know is it is getting worse. There needs to be a consensus between drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and others to find a longer-term solution."

He said the city's park and ride has been very successful at taking motorists off the road and is used by 1.8 million people a year. But he said despite an increase in bus services and passenger numbers, there is a 3 to 4 per cent growth in road traffic.

No road pricing system can be "cost neutral" because someone has to pay for all this technology. The fact that the politicians cannot even be honest about this shows perfectly well that (surprise) they are up to no good.

The Department of Transport idea of offering drivers a choice is obviously only going to tempt drivers who think that they will be better off. If that happens then, all other things being equal, the government will end up being worse off, especially once the cost of the technology is taken into account. Since the government will not stand losing this revenue, their policy must be to either increase fuel duty to compensate, or to soon force all drivers to accept road pricing. Whatever, because of the great cost of the technology, on average drivers will be worse off. (With the great alleged benefit being a reduction in congestion.)

And although the park and ride in Cambridge has allegedly been successful, it is no surprise that Cambridge congestion is getting worse because the Cambridge ruling elite has purposefully made it worse by reducing road capacity (e.g. Newmarket Road being one of the worst examples). And road traffic growth is highly correlated with economic growth, in spite of what the chattering classes like to pretend. The only way to get around that is to in effect make it illegal or prohibitively expensive to drive, which is the real aim of the ruling elite.

And why Reynolds thinks cyclists have anything to do with the situation, one way or the other, is unfathomable. It is also obnoxious beyond belief for him to casually state that "the only extra charges would be for those who drove excessively". Who is he to decide what is and is not "excessive" driving. Some people have to drive a long way to get to work just to earn enough money to pay taxes to keep these useless politicians (and bureaucrats) in business.

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