Motorway tolls will be next, say drivers
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Motorway tolls will inevitably be the next method of government revenue creation, according to over half of drivers surveyed by the RAC.
55 per cent of survey respondents feel that the government will begin charging for motorway access in order to pay for improving the country’s road infrastructure.
Although the government is unlikely to place toll charges on existing roads this side of the election, there is a growing feeling this may happen if the Coalition secures a second term.
RAC’s survey, which garnered the opinions of over 1,500 motorists, found that drivers would not be averse to the introduction of such toll fees, provided that other taxes, such as fuel levy and Vehicle Excise Duty, were cut.
Overall, 29 per cent of respondents were in favour of motorway tolls, with 21 per cent opposing the idea. A third of drivers also backed the idea of introducing congestion charges when driving into major cities.
Only 22 per cent of the £40 billion Treasury transport budget is currently spent improving the standard of our road network. Motorists are unhappy that their taxes are not being spent on areas which could potentially improve their day-to-day journeys and commutes, according to David Bizley, RAC Technical Director:
“The report suggests that motorists would prefer to see a higher share of motoring taxation levied on those things over which they have greater control – such as whether or not they choose to drive into city centres or use a particular motorway.”
84 per cent of respondents felt that roads are in a worse condition than previously, up 15 per cent on the previous five years.
“Our Report on Motoring shows that Britain’s motorists – and roads – have been left battle-scarred after a further 12 months of bearing the burden of extreme financial conditions,” Mr Bizley added.
“Our research shows that the UK motorist isn’t being unreasonably demanding – all he or she wants is for more of their motoring taxation to be spent on roads.”
A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said:
“The government is providing councils in England with more than £3bn between 2011 and 2015 to maintain their highways.
“It is ultimately up to local highway authorities to determine how they prioritise their funding.”
Fuel duty was frozen in Chancellor George Osborne’s most recent budget, after sustained pressure from motoring groups and backbench Conservative MPs.
Recent rises in oil prices have made fuel prohibitively expensive, with the average price of a litre of unleaded petrol less than 39p in 1989, in comparison to around £1.34 this year. Growth in the popularity of ultra-low carbon cars saw demand for petrol fall by 20 per cent last year, with improved fuel efficiency leading to fewer required refills.
The government now encourages the purchase of electric vehicles via the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG), which offers a £5,000 discount on electric and hybrid vehicles.
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