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14 October 2011
Proposed toll hike is Highway Robbery
The AA has called the Government's proposed hike to tolls at the Dartford Crossing an act of "highway robbery".
In the comprehensive spending review (October 2010) the Government announced its intention to increase the Dartford crossing toll from £1.50 for cars to £2 in late 2011 and then to £2.50 in 2012. This increase comes despite a previous promise that tolls would be dropped when the crossing was paid for.
This summer the Department for Transport has undertaken a formal consultation on the proposed changes. The consultation closed on 23 September.
Roads and drivers will remain vital to help stimulate economic recovery, the AA had warned prior to this week's Comprehensive Spending Review. Yet capital expenditure on transport will see an 11% reduction.
The AA had pointed out that 93% of passenger journeys and the vast bulk of freight are moved by road, but important schemes on the A47, A19, A21, A14 have been cut.
There is still some concern that local council transport spending cuts of 28% in 4 years will hit road maintenance and road improvements.
The hike in tolls is an act of highway robbery as these tolls should have been dropped – not doubled in two years
Edmund King, AA president
Edmund King, AA President said: "The hike in tolls is an act of highway robbery as these tolls should have been dropped – not doubled in two years.
"There is some relief that road improvements will go ahead although most widening schemes proceeding will use the hard shoulder. We are relieved that transport spending has not been more savagely cut but we need to see the detail.
"More than 90% of passenger journeys are by road and hence roads are essential. Whilst welcoming improvements to the A11 to Norwich, the M62, the Mersey bridge, and improvements to the M1, A46, M4,M5 and A3, other essential schemes have been cut.
"It is also worth remembering that road users more than pay for these investments in the £46.8bn in tax that was collected from drivers in duty, VAT and car tax last year.
"The prospect of drivers paying more in tolls and taxes yet still sitting in jams for years to come is not great at a time when it is important that the economy recovers."
(14 October 2011)