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Ex-Mayor Livingstone Public sector waste Road pricing

Killer question

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).

Andrew Pelling:

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?

Ken Livingstone:

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.

3 replies on “Killer question”

I think of more concern to Londoners are the effects of global warming on our economy, lifestyle and wellbeing. EU scientists have published a report signalling impending economic and social devastation throughout Europe due to the remorseless rise in temperatures (Independent 10/01/07). Do you think Londoners should be more concerned about congestion charges than about destroyed eco-systems which will leave Europeans devoid of life’s essential elements such as food, water, wood and fuel? Do you think we would be immune to the effects of drought in the mediterranean and floods along the Danube? Maybe you think we should be unconcerned about the billions of euros it will cost us all in mitigating the negative effects of rising sea levels. Londoners do not live in a bubble and cannot therefore isolate themselves from the negative effects of global warming. Neither can we extricate ourselves from the moral imperative to adopt environmentally friendly behaviours whenever we can. Mayor Livingston is right to implement policies that encourage more efficient forms of transportation in terms of reduced carbon emissions and congestion. Short-term fixation about implementation costs of such policies rather than considering the longterm larger picture would indeed be populist and irresponsible governance. Thankfully, the mayor understands this!

Con,

Good to hear from you.

It is only recently that the Mayor has started linking the CC to climate change – probably to try to cover up what an incredible cock up it has been. The original scheme and the Western Extension have never been seriously promoted in terms of carbon mitigation. If the Mayor was serious about carbon mitigation then there are some amazing things you could spend £1 billion on that would get a real result (like home insulation say). I am not necessarily against tax or public goods but to take £1 billion off us and waste it all giving it to Capita is really stupid. Do you think that all the CC infrastructure is carbon neutral? Aren’t you just a little bit disappointed that the Mayor has so consistently dissimulated about the finances of the CC?

If you look at some of the Mayor’s other policies it is not very carbon friendly to have lots of half empty buses running around and then to artificially stimulate demand by giving free travel to the young and old. You can’t advocate carbon mitigation and give travel away for free.

The Mayor is a populist and will jump on whatever bandwagon that suits the promotion of Ken Livingstone (which he spends about £100 million a year on by the way).

Phil

Con McGlynn – wake up ! What you suggest will make matters worse for nearly everyone. What the mayor (or anyone else) does to impact road use through congestion charging will not affect the global picture. Dont you realise global warming cannot be stopped by human activity, human activity is just one small part of the equation. It is going to happen – and britain on the whole will benefit (economically and socially) compared to countries nearer the equator – like france or spain – for which we britains should be grateful. We’ll benefit from having a climate which brings warmer temperatures – so we wont have to jet off to the south of france to catch the sun anymore.

The issue with congestion charging is that it is wholly a means for politicians and their civil servants to dream up ways of fleesing the wider public, while lining their own pockets with the money raised (though exorbitant pay). It is not going to improve public transport. Bus and tube fares are simply exorbitantly high. If i take a bus on a 100 yard journey it costs (I believe) £1.50 paying cash. This equates to £26.40 for a mile if i had to keep doing it. Fares must be cut to be reasonable – a figure of 25 pence a journey per zone covered would be more realistic a charge to make – and make everyone pay this – if fares are pitched at affordable level then everyone can contribute. There is no shortage of money already to cover the cost – just take it away from the hands of TfL who line their own pockets at our expense. We dont just want more busses – we want cheap fares on busses to allow some of the extra social costs that come from using public transport, (like wasted journey time / getting ill through standing out in the cold at bus stops / greater fumes inhaled etc) to be offset , so we would be inclined to use them

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