Letter: The high price of motorway tolls

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Sir: In your report about the proposed tolls for motorways (3 December), John MacGregor said that the Government was supporting the principle that the user should pay.

But users already pay through the nose for the use of roads. They pay the road fund licence, plus massive taxes on petrol. Perhaps if the road fund licence were 'ring- fenced', as he says the new motorway charges will be, it would not be necessary to charge extra to finance new motorways. Not all of the road fund licence is at present used for the upkeep and development of our roads.

Surely our motorways were developed to make transport more efficient and to take long-distance traffic off local roads? With Mr MacGregor's short-sighted view, motorway charges will mean, as your adjacent article on the increased bridge fees for the Severn Bridge has shown already, that traffic, particularly heavy trucks, will use any road to avoid increased costs, with all the massive accompanying problems this will bring.

While the proposed charges would appear to be modest at 1.5p per mile, how long would it be before the Treasury increased it to 5p or 10p per mile?

Perhaps Mr MacGregor's title should be changed to 'The Secretary responsible for the State of our Transport'.

Yours sincerely,


Southport, Merseyside