Maritime Transport is against road tolling

Maritime Transport is against road tolling

It seems that tolling part of the congested A14 is fast becoming a wider, national issue for road transport and the business community.

Although the government's commitment to improve the road though Cambridgeshire at face value is welcome, it's the proposal that a toll road be implemented that has got everyone from a local councillor's to the associations' collective backs up, with many a 'thin edge of the wedge' type comment flying around.

Container haulier Maritime Transport is refreshingly to the point on the subject.

A spokesman for the company said: "We believe it is essential that the proposed improvements to the A14 are addressed for the success of the economy and for East Anglian-based operators to compete on a fair basis with those from other parts of the country.

"We are however concerned that (a) funding by toll (potentially £2 - £3 one-way, £4 - £6 round-trip at the outset) would actually increase the cost of operating in and via East Anglia; (b) this represents tolling of an existing, essential major arterial road and not a new road; (c) this could be the template for future UK road improvements and; (d) we could end up with a mishmash network of tolled roads across the country provided by different toll operators."

Point (b) seems to fly in the face of government promises that existing roads would not be tolled. Although arguably the government will say a tolled bypass is a new bit of road and therefore fair game.

Regardless, in a sentiment that most operators will agree with, he continued:

"We do not see tolling as a solution to road funding. Our experience is that it is extremely inefficient and costly in terms of collection and if it involves some form of barrier system will potentially increase congestion (vehicle operating costs) and carbon-emissions. The Dartford Crossing is a good example of how tolling doesn’t work.”

Well said.