Toll Roads Edge Closer

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has thrown at least some of its weight behind the growing clamour for roads to be funded directly by drivers.

The CBI has called for a user charge on some of the nation’s roads. Those charges would be capped by an independent regulator but will surely be seen by most drivers as a way to increase the already staggering £48.2 billion they pay into the Government coffers (while only £10 billion) is spent on the upkeep of roads annually.

The move towards pay-as-you-drive is thought to be a response to the reduction in tax receipts caused by drivers opting for fuel efficient cars with lower fuel costs and CO2 emissions. Under the CBI’s proposal, private organisations would run major roads.

John Cridland, the CBI’s director general.

“Every day, people up and down the UK lose time and money because of our clogged-up roads. Whether you’re a business waiting for an urgent delivery, or a commuter stuck in the morning rush-hour, gridlock is an all too familiar tale of life in the UK. With public spending checked, the case for new funding solutions is even more compelling, and the Government recognises this. Infrastructure matters to business, and delivering upgrades to our networks is one of the highest priorities for the CBI to get the economy moving again.”

A spokesperson by the AA was not so keen on the idea:

“The idea of road tolling will anger drivers and this has already been rejected by 70 per cent of motorists both in our own Populus poll and the referendum on a road pricing scheme in Manchester a few years ago. Drivers think they are paying more than enough to pay for the roads already, this cash should be spent on easing pinch points motorists already face, rather than demanding more in taxes.”

An idea proposed by Gordon Brown’s last Government was the creation of pay-only lanes. Another idea is to charge toll on new motorways only.

What do you think should be done about congestion on UK roads? What about changing to a car-sharing culture? Or investing in a proper public transport infrastructure?

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