|London, 6 Jul 1999.
For immediate release.
Julian Rowden speaking on behalf of the Association of British Drivers accused the Deputy Prime Minister of betraying voters. "This is not the kind of treatment that the millions of voters in Middle England who turned to Labour at the last election were expecting. New Labour specifically rejected motorway tolls in its Manifesto", he said.
Recent studies by both the ABD and the Transport Research Laboratory suggest that motorway tolling would wipe out at a stroke the recently announced reduction in road fatalities for 1998 by diverting traffic onto slower, less safe roads to avoid the tolls.
The decision to go ahead with the tolling experiments when British motorists are already suffering with the most expensive fuel prices in Europe really is the last straw.
With the disaster of the M4 Bus Lane, and a virtual halt to all new road building, while 200,000 commuters a day suffer following the closure of the Central Line, and reports that the upgrading of the West Coast Main Line are unlikely to be finished on time to take Richard Branson's new tilting trains, the country's transport policy is in complete disarray.
"What we are seeing as virtually an anti-transport policy," says ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "This country depends on good, fast communications for our economic survival, and the consequences of this will be very serious indeed. It is no exaggeration to say that we are heading for chaos"
If this is what John Prescott means by an Integrated Transport Policy, then it is time for him to be replaced. Tony Blair really needs to get grip of the situation before his Deputy makes an even bigger mess.