London, 10 Feb 2007.
For immediate release.

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Petition Against Road Pricing Passes 1 Million
Tony Blair Admits Road Pricing is "Just a Tax"

The Downing Street petition against road pricing, started by ABD member Peter Roberts, today raced past one million signatures. Meanwhile, Tony Blair appeared to admit to MPs that road pricing is a tax, not a transport policy.
 
"The petition gained 300,000 names in five days," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "The closing date is the 20th February and there is time for it to reach several million by then — people almost universally loathe the idea of road pricing so the sky's the limit."
 
These people know that road pricing is a bad idea, and they are sick of government spin on transport, which appears to ignore everyday reality and to justify incompetent policies that make their lives more and more unpleasant.
 
But Transport Minister Douglas Alexander is still determined to ignore millions of voters and press ahead. His boss, Tony Blair, admitted to a committee of MPs last week that road pricing is all about raising money. According to the Daily Mirror, Blair said "Road pricing is a key way of getting more money to cut congestion and improve public transport."
 
"Tony Blair's comment cuts through the spin like a knife," continues Nigel Humphries. "Road pricing is just another tax — and a tax that is unfair, expensive to administer and difficult and inconvenient to collect. And it won't improve congestion without large scale investment."
 
Contrast this with what the Government spin machine has told us — that road pricing will solve congestion problems by itself, and even that some people will be better off because fuel taxes and VED will be reduced. Did anyone seriously believe this?
 
But now it seems that Blair himself knows that congestion can't be improved without investment in both roads and public transport. That costs money, and Britain need that investment now.
 
Instead of getting on with the job, like other European countries who are using EU money to build new roads, we have to wait ANOTHER ten whole years until road pricing provides the cash to develop the adequate rail network, station car parks, better cycling facilities, by-passes for traffic blighted communities and the completion of the trunk road network that was planned after World War 2. Ten years in which Britains motorists will have paid more than £400 billion in tax!
 
"We have had fifteen years of negative transport policy," said ABD Policy Director Mark Mc-Arthur Christie. "It's all been about bashing the motorist without offering any real alternative. We need to get away from this and implement a 'transport toolbox' approach which encourages the best type of transport for the job and helps them all fit together efficiently. Alongside the investment, we need to encourage homeworking. Above all we need a key planning objective to help people live closer to their place of work. Road pricing is a concept that's already failed on the M6 Toll and in London, and it needs to be scrapped before it does any more damage to our economy and quality of life."

 

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
The petition can be found at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/traveltax/

 
 
Notes for Editors about the ABD