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Ministers urged to win over motorists on road pricing

Road pricing has no chance of success in the future unless the Government starts building support and understanding of the scheme now, the RAC Foundation said today.
There is a danger that motorists will see road pricing as just another way to raise revenue than a genuine attempt to tackle congestion, added the foundation's chairman David Holmes.

Motorists' views of road pricing will depend on how they will be affected, added Mr Holmes speaking at an Institute for Public Policy Research seminar in London.

The Government has said that it is keen to introduce road pricing but that it could be around 10 years before such a scheme is brought in nationwide.

Mr Holmes said: 'At this stage the potential benefits of road pricing must be spelled out so that people can see that the objectives are worth pursuing.

Mr Holmes suggested a five-point plan to win motorists over.

  • Objective charges and an independent regulator
  • Proceeds re-invested in transport and additional to current spending commitments
  • Clear timetable for implementation
  • Protection of privacy
  • Protection for the least well-off.
  • Mr Holmes said that road pricing represented a fundamental change in motoring taxation. Charges should not be imposed on top of existing motoring taxes but be evidence-based and independently audited.

    To maintain public confidence the scheme must be overseen by an independent regulator. Drivers must also see real benefits resulting from pricing - either by improving the road or investing in alternative public transport services.

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