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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Plan pushing for more road tolls
The M6 Toll motorway, which was opened in December 2003
Tax discs would be scrapped in favour of tolls under the plans
Drivers could face road tolls of up to 1.40 a mile in order to cut traffic congestion, under plans put forward by a government-commissioned report.

The Commission for Integrated Transport says motorists should use country lanes freely but face extra costs for using city roads or motorways in rush hour.

It also suggests scrapping tax disc charges and reducing fuel costs in order to keep the tax burden the same.

The Road Haulage Association warned it would have no effect on traffic levels.

A survey conducted by the Commission suggests that 65-70% of motorists would be happy to accept new road toll charges in return for motoring tax cuts.

The big prize is that you slash congestion in urban areas by half and cut congestion on motorways by one third.
Professor David Begg
Professor David Begg, the Commission's chairman, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "We are not trying to chase everyone off the roads. The problem is too many vehicles are trying to get on certain roads at the same time.

"The 1.40 figure would apply to 0.5% of all the roads in Britain. A great number of road users would pay less.

"The big prize is that you slash congestion in urban areas by half and cut congestion on motorways by one third."

Financial incentive

According to the Commission's survey, one quarter of motorists who use city roads during rush hour would be prepared to drive at a different time of the day if there was a financial incentive to do so.

But chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Roger King, believes the plans would create additional tax charges for drivers.

He said: "The question is will this make any difference to congestion? The answer is no, it won't.

"Supermarkets will still want their shelves filled. Transport still has to get through.

"So it's going to end up an additional tax. It's not going to have any impact on congestion, because lorries won't park up waiting for a cheaper time, and the same applies to motorists."

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