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to think that the government is wrong to want to charge us for sitting in traffic queues it has caused by its under-investment in roads?

(12 Posts)
oneopinionatedmother Sun 13-Sep-09 15:17:18

from a musing on another thread, and hopefully some light relief after talking about abortion/benefits/ freaking controlled crying....

Governement raised £50 billion (figure from Top Gear) in fuel tax - and spends 6 billion on roads - leaving some areas with totally ridiculous under-capacity.

e.g the A27 which goes down to 1 lane in several places causing traffic misery every day even when there aren't accidents. This road carries as much traffic as the M6.

encouraging people to use trains has filled the existing network - we need more roads! and more railways! not more taxes.

the road charging plans to charge me for sitting in queues that the government could reduce by building proper bypasses are a scandal!

so...AIBU with this rant??

GrendelsMum Sun 13-Sep-09 15:34:04

So, there seem to be two points at issue.

The first seems to be the question of whether the spending of taxes should be ring-fenced, and in particular, whether taxes related to certain activities should be entirely spent on that activity - i.e. tax on petrol should be spent on driving, tax on cigarettes should be spent on smokers's healthcare, etc.

And the second would be the question of what is the most appropriate transport network, and how should it be funded.

We've got some interesting initial statements here, which could be discussed individually.

Do we need more roads now? Does road-building cut congestion? How many roads will we need in 20 years time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of building bypasses?

When we ask how we think it's appropriate to raise taxes (i.e. on fuel or by road pricing), we need to ask ourselves what we want to achieve, and where taxation policy can seek to influence behaviour to meet society's desires.

curiositykilled Sun 13-Sep-09 15:48:29

Under investment in roads?! More like under investment in public transport... Too many people drive and they tend to drive huge inappropriate vehicles, you can't get around that by expecting the Government to 'build more roads'

I think if the money goes directly into improving public transport and they do this well it would be much much better. BUT it won't, it'll go to the banks.

I have extreme views about transport policy.

I think we should have car pool lanes like the US, you should only be able to get a licence to drive a car at 21 (scooter, motorbike fine at 17), Public transport should be subsidised for families as well as students and pensioners, the rail network should be improved, fares on buses and trains should be regulated, Freight should travel by rail rather than road, people should pay road tax based on the seat to person ratio in their household motor vehicles as well as the emissions i.e. 5 person family with one car that has 5 seats in car pay less road tax than a couple with 5 seats in 2 cars or a pensioner with 2 cars each with 5 seats, people should be required to reapply for their licence every 5-10 years, proper bicycle lanes should be available, the government should incentivise cycling to work.

All these things could improve the roads/congestion.

oneopinionatedmother Sun 13-Sep-09 19:58:00

@curiosity don't you think people's lives are a bit too complex to manage purely with public transport?

i mean, my journey to work involves car & bike - and indeed a good bike lane goes a long way.

i am particularly partisan because the bypass in my area was originally shelved in 1976, and is next up for review in 2016 - in which time the demand has vastly increased.

i mean, do you think in this day and age it can do anything other than cripple every business west of Brighton (i kid you not, heading east-west it can be faster to head up to the M25 and go down the M3 if you're going far enough)

in some sections all that is missing is maybe 2 miles of dual carriageway for want of the money!

and it would ease congestion to build those bypasses - you only have to look at the same road further along where it is actually busier but less congested because it is 2 lanes and a proper dual carriageway.

it is all very well to talk of public transport, but if you work irregular hours, hav many stops to make on your journey (ie, mums house then work, tak your kids with you, etc etc car is the best way (or only way)

expatinscotland Sun 13-Sep-09 20:01:39

We need more public transport, more public transport, not privitised. It needs to be FAR more efficient and extensive and FAR less expensive.

We need employers offering staggered start and finish time and work at home options. It seems they want employees to be available 24/7, but they don't want to be as flexible towards their employees.

There's no public transport out here. It starts up nearly 3 miles away and then it costs £4.60 to go 18 miles.

IsItMeOr Sun 13-Sep-09 20:03:45

Grendelsmum raises an important point - if you go down the route of ring-fencing taxes so that money raised on, e.g. motoring, can only be spent on motoring related things, then you quickly hit a problem of how to fund those public services which don't raise funding, e.g. primary and secondary education. The logical conclusion of this thinking is that you would tax children to pay for their services, the sick to pay for health services and the poor to pay for benefits. So one of your starting assumptions is deeply flawed imo.

iheartdusty Sun 13-Sep-09 20:11:34

I'm with Grendelsmum on this.

Far too many people never question whether they need to drive to where they're going. And far, far more journeys could be made by public transport, if only it were more widespread, more reliable, and cheaper.

And more children could walk or cycle to school, and have more freedom, if there were fewer cars on the road and less of the selfish aggressive driving that is so widespread.

obviously there will be some people, and some situations, where driving your own car is really the only practical thing to do.

But looking at the stream of single-person cars pouring down the A27 (and along the A23) I just don't believe that none of those people could go by train instead.

oneopinionatedmother Sun 13-Sep-09 20:11:38

@grendelsmum, i think the point of raising the issue of petrol tax revenue is more that though i agree that road building is phenomenally expensive (the value of the land alone can be exhorbitant) the government could afford a bit more. quite often people object to the other costs of motoring (the cost to the NHS of accidents, the cost of policing etc etc) and forget how much motoring brings in.

iheartdusty Sun 13-Sep-09 20:12:26

sorry, should have said I agree with curiositykilled.

oneopinionatedmother Sun 13-Sep-09 20:19:56

@iheartdusty i was one those people...but i think unless you demolish the entire UK and build it with a view to public transport the fact remains that the breadth/ variety of journeys people need to take can't be catered for by public transport (i am all for looking at ways of making cars cleaner otoh)

what is more, people are just simply travelling more (2 people in work = 2 journeys to work, out-of-town industry = no-one walks to work, high house price = people can't afford to live close to town etc etc)

best accpet the reality and sort out the worst blackholes - you hear them every morning when the bottlenecks stop up. same places.

ABetaDad Sun 13-Sep-09 20:20:53

My view of road taxes is a purely academic economist one. I do not have a car.

Petrol taxes should only reflect the traded value of CO2 permits which is presently about £0.15 per litre.

Car tax should remain as at present to reflect the fixed cost of providing road policing, traffic management systems, repairing minor roads, etc.

The remainder of motoring taxes should be charged on a per mile basis for use of motorway and A roads and should be zero at night when there is no congestion and very high at peak hours. Minor roads would attract no charge as people living in the countryside have no option other than to use them.

Those that value using Motorway and A roads most highly would pay most. Those that infrequently use Motorays and A roads would save money over a year of motoring but suffer less congestion when they did. It would encourage car sharing, more use of public transport and commercial deliveries would tend to take place at night.

Bottom line though is that if congestion charges are brought in then offsetting reductions in other motoring taxes would have to happen otherwise it would be politcal suicide.

happywomble Sun 13-Sep-09 21:07:39

I don't want our country to be concreted over with more and more roads.

I would prefer better railway lines and reopening lines closed by beeching where poss.

Train fares should be priced so that it is cheaper to do journeys by train rather than car (not often the case at the mo).

There should be more cycle lanes so people can cycle safely.

Traffic speeds should be brought right down in towns/cities so it is safer to walk children to school.

The M25 has I think 5 lanes each way in places but if more lanes were added the traffic would increase to fill them and it would feel even worse.

Maybe some dual carriageways with single track sections could be made dual carriageway throughout...A30 in Cornwall has been much improved..would be nice if they did the same with the A303 in Devon/somerset.

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