Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bower's Contract: 2. No Congestion Charge

My second main pledge to Coleridge if I am elected as city councillor on Thursday is to continue to oppose congestion charging for Cambridge.

Congestion charging is not the right answer for Cambridge. I have campaigned hard against the charge ever since it was proposed in 2007.

Cambridge badly needs funding for transport infrastructure to match the huge developments being forced on it but the Labour government's answer was to blackmail the county council saying funding would only be available if a congestion charge were implemented, via the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).

Congestion charging would be a complete disaster for Cambridge, fail to raise enough revenue to pay for its network of spy cameras and adversely impact most those on low incomes who rely on motor vehicles for trade.

Many Conservatives on the county council voted against the TIF bid but Coleridge's Labour county councillor voted for congestion charging with a spirited defence of the Labour government. The Lib Dems and the Greens are also right behind this lunatic plan and are desperate to resurrect the now dormant plan for congestion charging.

Fortunately the TIF scheme has been proven to be unworkable and the government has found it necessary to replace it.

I will stay vigilant to the risk to Cambridge of any renewed attempts to introduce congestion charging.


Equinox said...

What is the detailed, costed alternative solution to Cambridge's transport problems?

Opponents of the congestion charge have had long enough to come up with one.

It would be good to hear of an alternative that we could scrutinise, comment on and develop - something tangible rather than vague comments on "improvements"

Martin said...

I seem to recall several statements on this blog and other anti-CC commentaries that we could get the money for Cambridge without a Charge.

So where is it?

Steve Tierney said...

The money was never coming whether we agreed to authoritarian movement controls and increased taxation or not. The Labour party didn't have it. They crippled the economy - remember?

Now that the madness of Congestion Charging is off the cards - we can look at the problems and begin to solve them with fair and honest ideas.

Chris Howell said...

Martin - there were two points - firstly, the promised TIF money was not guaranteed, and there were risks to establishing the principle of accepting congestion charging, and as it turns out we got nothing - as Richard Normington described it, it was 'fairy gold' that turned out not to exist.

But the main point was that TIF bid isn't the only possible funding source for transport - that isn't suggesting that having rejected TIF they would come up with all the money the next week without any of the conditions, just that other money will be available for transport projects, e.g. the County Council has won £4.5m of funding for the bus interchange and Cambridge Gateway project at the station.
Furthermore, if there aren't more significant sums to support future housing growth, available either from government or developers, then we should just refuse to allow the housing - and hopefully under the new government that is an option that will be available.