Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 10:36 UK

Road charge consultation ends

Traffic in Manchester
A referendum on the charge will be held in December

The consultation process for Greater Manchester's planned congestion charge is due to end.

Over the past three months details of the planned transport improvements have been sent to thousands of homes and businesses and made available online.

Government funding towards almost 3bn of public transport investment depends on the charge being introduced in 2013, which would cost 318m to set up.

The consultation closes on Friday. A referendum will be held in December.

'Public opinion'

Greater Manchester transport bosses say the consultation was a chance for the public to have their say on the proposals.

Their opinions will help to shape the finer details of the bid for government cash from the Transport Innovation Fund (Tif), they said.

But opponents claim the process was another part of the campaign to sell the scheme to the public, and said the only meaningful poll would be the postal referendum.

A spokesman for National Alliance Against Tolls said: "It is this poll which will give people a chance to tell the authorities what they really think about having to pay road tolls."

Businesses supporting the scheme believe that public opinion was shifting towards a yes vote in December.

Vehicles such as scooters would be exempt from the charge

A spokesman for the Yes Campaign said: "There has been a definite shift in public attitude over the summer as people have begun to understand the scale of the proposed investment in trams, trains and buses while appreciating how few people will pay the charge."

Motorists would be charged for crossing the M60 and a second ring around the city centre at peak times.

A capped day pass of 10 is proposed for drivers, such as some delivery vehicles which cross charging rings repeatedly at peak times.

Transport bosses say the 2.8bn investment will be split across 30 different public transport schemes across Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs.

And they have pledged to have at least 80% of improvements in place before the charge is introduced in 2013.

These will include the Metrolink extension to Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester Airport, Rochdale town centre and Oldham town centre.

Extra trains and buses and improved stations are also promised.


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