London, 5 July 2005.
For immediate release.

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Government to Rob Vital Transport Innovation Fund to Bribe Councils into Road Pricing
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling today announced plans to take £18 million over the next three years from the Transport Innovation Fund to persuade local authorities to impose road pricing schemes.
 
Department for Transport News Release 
 
The Transport Innovation Fund was supposed to provide a mechanism for long term transport planning and investment, but Darling has hi-jacked it in a clumsy attempt to force through his pet scheme to price us all off the roads. Councils wont be able to get the money unless their scheme involves the kind of road tolls that the people of his native Edinburgh so decisively rejected in the recent referendum. "Announced just before the G8 Summit and London's Olympic bid, this looks rather as though Mr Darling is trying to bury bad news — and it IS bad news for road users," said ABD Spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie. "Making vitally needed transport funding conditional on imposing road pricing is a cynical move designed to bribe councils into sidestepping the will of the people."
 
Rather than promoting genuinely innovative transport schemes, the DfT have said "the answer's road pricing — now what was the question?"
 
Sadly, this kind of approach is all too typical of New Labour — maintain the appearance of delegating power and giving people choice whilst manipulating the finances to ensure that we all have to do what we are told by Nanny.
 
The ABD believes that, whilst properly funded public transport is vital, the modern economy depends on personal, flexible transport where individuals are able to choose their route and journey time without Government interference.
 
McArthur-Christie said "Yet again the Government has a one track mind on transport. This is like having a toolbox with just a hammer in it — every problem looks like a nail. We need a full transport toolbox, where individuals can decide the best form of transport for their journey — be that bus, cycle, car, motorbike or train."

 

 
Notes for Editors