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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
500m bid may see congestion fees
Busy A14
A 500m transport overhaul includes congestion charging
Plans for congestion charging in Cambridge have been proposed in a 500m transport overhaul.

Cambridgeshire County Council has said city traffic levels, due to increase with the creation of thousands of new homes, need to be reduced by 10%.

The council has launched a bid for 500m to the government for transport improvements in the city.

National Alliance Against Tolls said charges would not provide much revenue, but it welcomed a transport revamp.

The county council had previously released figures stating, with the creation of 47,000 new homes, journey times are estimated to grow by 46% by 2021.

The council's proposals in a bid to the government's Transport Innovation Fund include:

A new railway station at Chesterton
An extensive network of cycle paths
Extra train services from Ely to Cambridge
A peak period congestion charge
Subsidised bus fares

If implemented, the congestion charge scheme would see motorists charged up to 5.

Shona Johnstone, council leader, told BBC News: "Cambridge is a medieval city, it simply wasn't designed for motor cars.

She said the scheme would operate for two hours in the morning.

"So we're talking about 10 hours a week because it would be Monday to Friday only and it would be designed to discourage people from driving at that particular time - when we know that that's when the worst congestion occurs," she said.

"Equally, I am certain that before any sort of congestion charge is brought into Cambridge we must provide people with decent alternatives so they can make the choice whether to pay or not."

'Wasted revenue'

Jim Chisholm, from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, welcomed the plan.

Mr Chisholm said: "Actually providing better cycling facilities within Cambridge would encourage a number of people to move from using their car to using their bikes, if they felt that it was safe to do so.

"It is the fear of the volume and speed of traffic which tends to discourage a lot of people from cycling."

However, John MacGoldrick, from the National Alliance Against Tolls, told BBC News: "Our view is they should not go ahead. If they [the council] are planning on using car sharing that's positive.

"Tolls are a negative - no drivers want them and the vast proportion of revenue is wasted in the cost of the collection of the charges."

Councillors want to cut traffic in Cambridge city centre by 10%

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