David Cameron has today been giving us the benefit of his views on how he believes it possible to extract yet more money from the motoring taxpayer to fund his - and his master's - vision of the future. As Richard North, EU Referendum, points out the motorist is already paying £42billion pa and only £9billion is returned - and Cameron expects the motorist to pay yet more?
Cameron suggests that improvements to the A14 could be part funded by the imposition of tolls. Let us digress slightly and consider why improvements to the A14 are being made. Back in 2004, 30 priority axes were adopted (Decision No 884/2004/EC) amongst which was the aim to improve transport links between Ireland, via the United Kingdom, to mainland Europe. Part of these 30 priority projects is the A14 from Felixstowe to Nuneaton, then connecting with existing motorways to terminate at Holyhead and Larne (Project 13). If tolls were to be introduced on the A14 then of course we will be paying three times with the road fund licence, toll charges and by means of our contribution to the €11,670,000 grant that has been made.
Of course tolls are nothing new as for some years an electronic road toll system for the EU has been the subject of both a directive and a decision and only last year Siim Kallas produced a guide for the application of the directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems. From the Foreward it is worth noting that besides being used to finance motorway and road construction it can also be effective for reaching broader transport policy objectives such as modification of users’ habits.
In common with most of what Cameron says, in that he never tells us the whole truth, there is no mention that the tolling system will need to comply with EU standards (nor what the cost of that might be), neither is there any mention that the improvements to the A14 are only being made as a result of the requirement to finalise an EU 'transport corridor'.
He is obviously able to let his own cat out of No10, but under strict instructions not to let the EU cat out of the bag.
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