ABD Calls for a Referendum on Road User Charging
"No Choice for Drivers" - it`s New Labour or Blue Labour
"Roads for the rich" as Cameron`s Blue Labour Party embrace Road User Charging
No-one seems to have told David Cameron that democracy requires an opposition party to oppose flawed government policies and provide alternatives — and the Road Pricing plans are about as flawed as policy can get.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said today:
"The implications of Road Pricing are massive in terms of civil liberties, the cost to our economy and the motoring public in general. The huge costs involved in setting up and administering the system means that it cannot be ‘cost neutral’. Climate change policy, another flawed political bandwagon, will ensure that road pricing simply adds to the existing £50bn tax burden rather than replacing some of it. The electorate are being fed propaganda to soften them up for this stupendous folly, but they have not been given the chance to vote or to hear a proper debate on road user charging. None of the major parties included this in their manifestos at the last general election. We need a referendum on road user charging as soon as possible."
ABD Spokesman Nigel Humphries adds,
"We have had years of deliberate congestion-causing measures in our cities — hundreds of new traffic lights, obstructive bus lanes and road closures. These have worsened congestion without any increase in traffic. Meanwhile, investment in both road and rail infrastructure has been totally inadequate. People have been forced to use congested roads to go about their business — now this is to be used as an excuse to track and charge drivers, and to price normal families off the roads. It`s iniquitous."
Road pricing cannot work because:
People already have a £28 billion incentive to avoid jams — this is what government advisors claim that congestion costs. If £28 billion does not work at reducing jams, and is such a bad thing for the economy, then only a fool would suggest increasing this burden by charging people even more to sit in the same jams. It's a nonsense.
Varying prices according to time doesn`t work on the railways — trains are still packed at peak times and transporting fresh air at other times.
Pricing people off the roads will lead to massive and unpredictable shifts in behaviour where alternative routes exist. This will lead to the roads being used less efficiently as people make inappropriate diversions to reduce the cost of their journey. The M6 Toll and the London Congestion Charge already demonstrate this effect admirably to those willing to look.
Worst of all, road pricing is an excuse for the government to do nothing positive about transport for the next ten years. What`s needed is:
- Proper investment in infrastructure — mostly improving roads rather than building new ones — rail improvements, light rail, cheap, accessible park and ride schemes.
- Reversal of the trend towards blocking and obstructing roads in cities — get the traffic moving again.
- Better marketing of bus and train services, especially for journeys into city centres, to address the issue that drivers don`t know what is available.
- Better facilities for carriage of cycles on public transport — it couldn`t be much worse.
- Co-ordination of development to ensure that people can live close to their place of work and have proper transport links in place of piecemeal approach that takes the road network for granted.
- Incentives for homeworking and for moving closer to places of work (abolition of stamp duty on houses for this would be a good start).
- Large scale studies into people`s transport needs and habits, done with the intention of facilitating people`s lives rather than justifying anti-car anti-transport policies.
Notes for Editors