30 Jan 2015.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

For Whom the Road Tolls?
The issue that most concerns drivers is the introduction of widespread road tolls
A survey of members of the Alliance of British Drivers 1 has revealed that the issue that most concerns drivers is the introduction of widespread road tolls.

Road tolls were overwhelmingly rejected in referenda in Edinburgh 2 and Manchester 3, the national petition signed by 1.8m people 4 and the recent U-turn on the A14 in Cambs 5 after public and business pressure.

The Infrastructure Bill, currently being discussed in Parliament, puts road tolls back on the political agenda.

As it stands, the Bill would convert the Highways Agency from a Government agency to a "strategic highways company", Highways England, with sharp financial targets - and the power to implement tolls with the consent of the Secretary of State.

ABD Spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
“If the NHS had received similar treatment to the roads network, then patients would be facing the equivalent of decades of underinvestment, crumbling decrepit hospitals, a chronic shortage of beds, with the looming threat of privatisation and a punitive entry charge to every hospital. If this really were the NHS, it would be a national scandal and an election-deciding issue.”
Despite Government claims that it will be increasing investment in England's roads and has no intention to privatise them or introduce tolls on existing roads 6, it has declined to put any safeguards in the Bill. Key swathes of roads could be outsourced to tolling companies after the election and families would find themselves much worse off.

Nigel Humphries continued:
“The Government's much heralded £15bn road investment represents less then 4 months worth of motoring tax receipts. 'Motorway Man' was identified as the key swing voter of 2010, yet drivers still believe they are being treated as 'Cash Cows'. If the Government's intentions are genuine then it has one last opportunity to write binding safeguards against outsourcing and tolling into the Bill.” 7

For further information on the Infrastructure Bill: Fair Deal for the Motorist

1. Members were asked " What issues are of greatest concern to you" and to rank them in importance:
  1st - The threat of widespread road tolls
  2nd - The condition of the roads
  3rd - Speed limit setting and enforcement
  4th - Fuel prices and tax on fuel
  5th - Upgrading existing Strategic Road Network including building new roads
  6th - The creation of an impartial and objective Road Accident Investigation Board to investigate road accident causation; and develop and implement effective road safety policies
  7th - A national driver training course linked to reduced car insurance premiums to update & improve skills behind the wheel
  8th - Parking charges to be decided by local referendum, not politicians
2. BBC News — Edinburgh rejects congestion plan
3. BBC News — Voters reject congestion charge
4. Telegraph — Blair rebuffs 1.8m who signed road petition
5. BBC News — Plan to use tolls to fund A14 improvements abandoned
6. See Committee Debate transcripts from 16 December 2014
7. The Infrastructure Bill will receive final consideration on 9 February
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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