City Road Pricing Sums Fail To Add Up Unless Surrounding Towns Are Hit Too
Manchester — The Government Road Pricing Guinea Pig Bites Back
A £2 billion congestion tax bombshell is about to hit North Western towns like Bolton and Stockport — to help pay for the "carrot" Manchester received from central Government in exchange for being the "Guinea Pig" for unpopular road pricing schemes planned for the whole country.
Research from MART (Manchester Against Road Tolls), shows that the burden of paying for a massive £1.8 billion transport investment loan will fall hard on motorists driving into towns like Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, and Altrincham.
Cllr David White, Liberal Democrat transport spokesman for Stockport said:
"We never felt that charging just to drive into Manchester city centre added up, despite receiving weasel word assurances from City Council leaders. It was obvious there was a need to recoup a shortfall in revenue and that meant taxing towns like Stockport. Their overall plan is to get an elected mayor for Greater Manchester, then without further reference to our communities, they will drive this tax through. So much of this is old politics, a grand plan without telling people what your true intentions are."
MART Co-ordinator Sean Corker said:
"Manchester City Council has been in the vanguard of increasing the tax burden on local people, yet they have misled people about traffic levels and congestion and are misleading everyone about the pressing need to extend the charging zones. During the consultation process, no mention was made of the outer town charging in any of the scripts or questions put to the public or businesses. Just like Ken Livingstone, Richard Leese will say what ever it takes to get the scheme through then do what ever he likes when it is in place."
Manchester Council leaders have refused to reveal their business plan to the public and fellow councillors alike. The reason it seems is that they have always needed the revenue from the other 9 councils to balance the books and finance their grand designs. Each council needs to look very carefully at what they are getting in return for over £2 billion of congestion charge revenue being sucked out of the local economies of the region.
Transport investment in Manchester is badly needed, but the money must not have "strings" attached which tie the population of a whole conurbation to a ruinous and doomed road pricing experiment.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Transport chiefs will need to raise £130 million (1) plus collection costs each year to cover the loan and plan to introduce charging in Greater Manchester's outer towns as rapidly as possible to meet the burden. MART's analysis of the proposals shows that charging the 52,000 vehicles (2) that daily use the outer town centres will rake in £65.8 million a year (3), compared with £113 million (4) for the two currently proposed Manchester rings (before any collection costs or behavioural change has been factored in to the calculations).
The Executive minutes, Manchester City Council, 25 July 2007 — Proposed Greater Manchester TIF Bid (5): The bid now being proposed is in two parts. The first part focuses on a well defined phase 1 investment and charging package. The final decisions on this phase would be followed by further detailed work at least 12 months later. The second part would identify further investment and links to potential expansions of the charging regime beyond phase 1. This would require more work on investment and charging business cases and would potentially be on track some 12 months behind the first phase.
Over the course of the 30 year loan, using current figures, the conurbation's outer towns will contribute up to £2 billion (6) at today's prices. Manchester City Council leaders, who have led the campaign for the road tax, are lobbying to ensure that Stockport and Trafford (who voted against the proposals) are finally included or risk losing £712 million (7) of transport investment.
The projected revenue from the two Manchester cordons will be £3.4 bn in return for just £730 million of actual government transport investment (8)
(1) £1.8 billion loan at 6% over 30 years = £129.5 million per year
(2) Greater Manchester Traffic Unit (GMTU) report; Cars entering Key centres during Peak AM priced at £5 per day (£3 in £2 out)
(3) Total 52649 x 5 days x £5 x 50 weeks = £65.8 million
(4) GMTU reports 34731 chargeable vehicles entered Manchester Key centre
Charges based on £8 charging figure rather then £5
Thus £1.50 to cross M60 boundary a.m. and p.m, £3 to enter inner cordon and £2 to leave:
34731 x £5 x £5 days x 50 weeks = £43.4 million
GMTU reports — approx 99000 vehicles cross M60 each day in Morning Peak.
99000 x £3 x 5 days x 50 weeks = £74.25 million + £43.4 million = £117.25 million total revenue before costs for both current cordons
(6) £65.8 million x 30 years = £1.97 billion
(7) Trafford + Stockport's vehicles counts at £5 per day over 30 years = £711.8 million
(8) £117 million revenue from M60 + inner Manchester cordon over 30 years = £3.5 billion.
We have not sought to minimise revenues from the congestion charge scheme to make a political point. We have ignored the downward trend in cars during rush hour from the councils own traffic unit, we have not included the 10% drop in vehicle numbers the council predicts their scheme will cause and we have not deducted collection costs estimated to be £35 - £40 million per year. There are simply not enough chargeable vehicles crossing the 2 cordons at current levels to create the revenue required to pay off the £1.8 billion loan as the scheme stands without the inclusion of the regional town centres.
Contact Sean Corker 07-736-836-163
Notes for Editors about the ABD