Last night’s Standard and today’s Telegraph (follow link) both cover Peter Roberts’ road pricing e-petition. At the time of writing it stood at 179,411.
If you think that the London Congestion Charge is any kind of model for road pricing, even local schemes, then for me the killer question is the one asked of the London Mayor by Andrew Pelling, AM on 15th November 2006 (follow link).
How many years do you predict it will take for both the original area and the western extension to pay for the set-up and subsequent administration costs? How long before the expense invested by Londoners is repaid by income?
It is important to note that the income from Congestion Charging may only be used to offset operating costs. The costs of set up have to be borne from TfL funding. However if we were to take all costs, including set up and operating costs, for the Central Congestion Charging Scheme, income exceeded expenditure by March 2005. Using the same approach, the net revenue will exceed the set-up costs for the Western Extension by the time of go-live on 19th February 2007.The net revenues, allowing for the cost of operation, must be spent on activities that support my Transport Strategy. This includes new buses, cycling, walking, road safety and other initiatives.
In case you don’t understand Livingstone’s answer, which is not written to promote clarity, let me explain. The London CC has been running since February 17th 2003. By 19th February 2007, when the Western Extension goes live, the scheme will have been operating for four whole years and will have taken the best part of £1 billion off Londoners. This cost makes no allowance for all the inconvenience, anger and heartache that Londoners will have faced understanding the scheme and dealing with fines, etc when they make minor mistakes. Bar the odd £10 million all of this cash will have been consumed in costs as follows:
Original set-up costs for scheme £161.7 million
Western Extension set-up costs £123.1 million
First part year of operation £76.4 million
Second year of operation £140.1 million
Third year of operation £119.7 million
Fourth year of operation £143.9 million
Fifth part year of operation (estimate) £160 million
TOTAL £924.9 million
To make myself clear: the Congestion Charge is all cost and no benefit. Every time the Mayor or TfL talk about spending surpluses on buses or whatever they are lying. After 4 complete years of operation the track record is that ALL the cash gets spent on out of control costs.
Please sign Peter’s petition and work for a Conservative Mayor who will end the CC which is set to take £300 million a year off Londoners and just waste it all until somebody stops Livingstone and the wasteful idiots at TfL.