Letter: Roads take their toll

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The Independent Online
Sir: John MacGregor believes that the potential benefits of road pricing 'might be considerable' ('MacGregor cites benefits of road tolls', 3 March), but as your correspondent points out, such a decision is likely to be politically controversial.

For local authorities wishing to instigate city centre road-pricing schemes, the major barrier will be capital financing. Until road toll revenues come on stream, the finance will be relatively restricted in its availability and may not be available to provide the improved public transport infrastructure essential to make road pricing workable and politically acceptable.

One way to overcome the problem would be for the Government to enable local authorities to issue bonds to finance public transport and road improvements prior to the introduction of a road-pricing scheme, then utilise the revenues from the tolls to service repayment and interest.

This means of financing has been undertaken with great success by municipalities in the US for many years and it is a model at which, I believe, the Government should be looking very closely.

Yours faithfully,


General Manager, Europe

Financial Guaranty Insurance Company

London, SW1

8 March