Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Transport Guru Calls for Road Tolls Up to [Pounds Sterling]1.35 a Mile

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Transport Guru Calls for Road Tolls Up to [Pounds Sterling]1.35 a Mile

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

PAY- AS- YOU- DRIVE road charges became inevitable today as they won the backing of Gordon Brown's transport guru.

Road charges would raise [pounds sterling]28billion a year and cut congestion by completely changing the way people use their cars, Sir Rod Eddington has concluded.

The call to go ahead with charges of up to [pounds sterling]1.35 a mile at peak times was expected to be a major recommendation of his 350-page, four-volume study of Britain's transport needs.

Signalling a major change in the approach to government policy, the former BA chief says the price of travel - by road, rail and air - must rise to reflect the environmental damage it causes.

Without urgent action, rapidly rising demand for travel will create gridlock for cities like London, putting parts of the system "under serious strain".

Unchecked, congestion will cost the nation [pounds sterling]22 billion in wasted time by 2025 - and one in eight journeys across the land will be "subject to stop-start conditions".

For individual travellers, an increasingly overcrowded network would mean more standing a strong warning that London could face a serious public transport crisis if nothing is done.

Overcrowding will "increase significantly under current fares policy" he is expected to warn, pointing out that rail unreliability already costs business at least [pounds sterling]400million a year.

But he slams the door shut on grandiose schemes like the Maglev system of highspeed magnetic trains, which has been touted as a green alternative to d o m e s t i c flights. It would cost too much, and Sir Rod points out that domestic air travel accounts for just one per cent of UK carbon emissions.

He argues that it would be far more effective to invest in smallscale local improvements at "pinch points" in busy areas.

That means investing in wider motorways and bypasses as well Many could be funded by the introduction of road pricing, which Sir Rod warmly recommends because it would not only raise money but would also cut carbon emissions and change the driving habits of the nation. …

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