Public get to speak on toll rises
The Government has lanched a public consultation over its plans to increase the tolls on the Dartford Crossings from £1.50 for a car to £2.50 by early 2012. The money is to be used for general transport investment.
Resonding to the news, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“The minister hasn’t minced his words – this is about pricing drivers off the Dartford Crossing to keep traffic flowing, and then using the revenue raised for general transport investment rather than ring-fencing it to enhance the crossing.
“In effect the 150,000 or so drivers using the bridge and tunnel each day will be paying yet more tax, quite possibly to fund things such as high speed rail.
“The RAC Foundation has always said tolling roads might need to be considered but only if such a scheme replaced the current charges drivers pay – such as fuel duty and VED – and was spent for the benefit of motorists. This proposal does neither of those things.”
In a written ministerial statement, transport minister Mike Penning explained:
“The proposal to increase the charges at the Crossing is both a measure to manage demand and to help to fund transport investment. For this reason I am today launching a consultation on proposals to change the charges.
“The consultation makes reference to, but does not include detailed proposals for, other short, medium and long term measures to be taken forward in this spending review period in relation to the Crossing. In the short term we are announcing an initial six month trial of a protocol for suspension of the charges during periods when the severity of congestion is such as to constitute an emergency, and charge suspension would help to ease that congestion.
“In the medium term our objectives are, the introduction of a free flow charging scheme and a review of options for additional crossing capacity.”
The consultation closes on 23rd September 2011.
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications
020 7747 3445 / 07711 776448 / firstname.lastname@example.org