LETTER: Paying for public transport

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The Independent Online
NICK COHEN blames Manchester's problem of raising funds to expand the Metrolink on the Government's policy of insisting beneficiaries pay ("Pointless lies that reveal so much", 2 April). Surely the problem is that the Government is unwilling to follow this policy through to its logical conclusion.

There is abundant evidence that any economically viable investment in transport infrastructure leads to a dramatic increase in land values in the areas served. Compare house prices in Islington, served by three tube lines, with similar properties in adjoining Stoke Newington and Hackney, off the tube map. Urban rapid-transit systems enhance not only the value of land used for commercial purposes, but also residential land values. The beneficiaries are whoever owns the land.

All that is required is a mechanism which will claw back site values, such as a universal property tax based on land values.

Henry Law