A motoring campaigner has stated that moving ahead with plans to expand road tolls would end up being ‘electoral suicide’ for the Government. The results of a new Whitehall feasibility study that took a look at financing models and ownership of models in the network commissioned by David Cameron is expected to be released in January.
Preliminary reports are suggesting that the Government’s mid-term review will include many reforms that will allow private firms to charge motorists to access major roadways. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has already stated that there will be a handful of new steps included in the 2013 document.
However, despite these rumours, the Department for Transport has continued to insist that it will not breach their commitment to only place tolls on new major roads.
Alliance of British Drivers member, Peter Roberts, stated that there will be a large backlash from the voters if more intensive road pricing strategies are unveiled. He referenced a 2007 petition against road pricing that was able to get 1.3m signatures making it clear that people are against road pricing and road tolling.
Roberts went on to explain that placing more tolls on roads would be the equivalent of electoral suicide. According to him, most drivers already think that they have to pay too much while they are driving on the roads.
In contrast, RAC Foundation member Stephen Glaister stated that drivers would be ok with a package that saw some new tolls imposed in exchange for some overall reductions in road tax and fuel duty. The funds that are made from the new tools could then be used directly on the road improvements.
Cameron first ordered the Treasury study last March stating that there needs to be a new model for encouraging more private investment into the national roads.