We’re Not Alone: The U.K. Moves to Toll Roads

Virginia has plenty of company — not just in the United States but in the U.K. — when it comes to grappling with traffic congestion. Many of the remedies sound the same, as does the public response. According to the BBC, Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander is seeking authority to create toll roads across the UK. Drivers would be charged on a pay-as-you-go basis with black boxes in their cars tracking how far they drive on toll roads.

One wrinkle not seen in the U.S. is the idea of setting national standards to prevent confusion from a variety of local pricing schemes. But the concerns of the public sound remarkably familiar. Says Foad Nouri of London: “This is another tax on drivers without noticeable improvement in quality or affordability of public transport, especially rail travel which must help easing the congestion on roads.”

Ian Wernham, of Marlow: “This is just another way of taxing the motorist.. … Telling people not use their car is like saying don’t use electric light we’ve got to back to using candles!”

And Ian Beedell of Crawley: “There should be concern [about] the power of the government to monitor free and legal individual movement with the proposed ‘black boxes’ that will almost certainly infringe civil liberties.”


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3 responses to “We’re Not Alone: The U.K. Moves to Toll Roads”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    If the black boxes are accurate they could be used to set liability in accident investigations, although there are better ways to do that, most of which are already installed on cars.

    I once drove all of route 1 because I didn’t have enough money for the tools on 95. This is just more government and more bureaucracy.

    Put the price on fuel and let it go.

  2. Toomanytaxes Avatar
    Toomanytaxes

    Ray, which fuel?

    IMHO, I see the entire nation moving towards extensive use of smart RFID tags to record data about individual vehicles, their weight, the loads carried (for trucks) and the mileage. The tags could be read to determine when a vehicle leaves or enters a state and fees charged accordingly. Higher fees could be charged to heavier vehicles and for long distance drivers, with the entire process transparent to the type of fuel used.

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I think we should tax income and sales, period. No other taxes. Sales tax should not apply to food, clothing and medicine, otherwise everything that gets sold, gets taxed. Gasoline, home heating fuel, diesel, services: anything that causes cash to flow.

    If we can’t collect enough taxes to run the government from the money that is sloshing around, then it can’t be done. Collecting taxes on capital or money that hasn’t been earned, as in real estate tax is just mining our future, we don’t do it on say stock market investments, why should we do it on real estate or cars?

    We have already taxed the income and we have already taxed the sale: let the capital rest.

    How does an RFID tag know if my 6000 lb gross empty weight truck is empty or full? Full, it is close to 10,000 lbs. My gas guage knows the difference automatically, and I don’t have to pay extra for it, or have a whole new bureaucracy to support it. Anyway, aren’t RFID’s pretty much short range devices?

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