Manchester's £3 Billion Con
ABD-MART billboard poster campaign against being 'Tagged, Tracked and Taxed' to be launched this week.
The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is in a spin about a supposed £3 billion for transport from the government in exchange for imposing a congestion charge on Manchester.
Below is a breakdown of the limited financial details that have been released so far:
Of the £1.2 billion from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), £470 million will be wasted setting up the congestion charge scheme. £2 billion will be loaned by the Government, which must be paid back over many, many years. All the 'profits', optimistically estimated at £118 per year have to go to the Government, plus there will be substantial running and enforcement costs each year. By the time of implementation, and after a period of 'doing nothing', the AGMA are expecting that there will be even more congestion, aside from the chaos likely to result from halving the road capacity by installing bus lanes on 25 routes into Manchester, and the daily cost of the charge can be raised accordingly. Furthermore, the plan is to switch from the initial tag/beacon/ANPR system to a GPS satellite tracking system as soon as possible — making the tag and beacon system redundant — without any indication of where the additional money will come from.
ABD Manchester Co-ordinator and MART member Sean Corker said,
"I believe that the Association of GM councils and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority are deliberately hiding the true cost of the Manchester Congestion Charge scheme. So far, the Council have admitted that the scheme will cost £470 million and claim that it will make an annual profit of £118 million. The council are denying the people of Manchester the chance to see for themselves if the proposed scheme passes one of the Council's key tests of offering value for money. If the scheme does not make the predicted yearly profit, where will Manchester find the extra money needed to make up the shortfall? Nobody in their right mind would sign up to a £2 billion loan if the small print was hidden, so why do Manchester Council think we should do so on this occasion?"
Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART), backed by the ABD, will be launching a hard-hitting poster campaign using 35 billboards around Manchester this week in order to publicise the petition against being 'Tagged, Tracked and Taxed.'