12 Nov 2008.
For immediate release.

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Manchester C-Charge in Obama Link
Road Pricing Advocates in Scramble for 'Obama factor' credibility
Claims have been made that an advisor of newly elected US President Barack Obama is studying Manchester's proposed C-Charge scheme. 1
 
A referendum is due to take place in early December on the C-Charge, which will charge drivers up to £5 to travel into central Manchester. Central Government have linked the C-Charge to massive transport investment under the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), and are desperate to push through a local road pricing scheme at any cost.
 
"They think they are going to lose the Referendum in Manchester", said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "This is why they are desperately trying to link their campaign to the Obama landslide victory in the US — they want to give it the credibility it so obviously lacks."
 
But the Obama aide cannot be looking seriously at the scheme — because the financial details are being kept secret, even from city centre councillors whose constituents will be directly affected. The TIF bid document was recently released through Freedom of Information Act request with chapter 10 containing the financial aspects of the TIF bid removed.
 
MP for Blakely and member of the Transport select committee Graham Stringer has seen the document and called the scheme 'crackers'.
 
In a recent interview in Manchester Confidential he stated that there was a financial black hole that can only be filled by either a return to original plans to expand the charging zones to the other towns in Greater Manchester or by an increase in council taxes. 2
 
"The fact that the scheme is financially and politically untenable won't be altered by trying to climb onto the Obama bandwagon", continued Humphries. "It's high time that C-Charge proponents ended the spin and started to tell the truth about the financial black hole. That's the change we need."
 

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
1. MEN — Obama team study c-charge
 
2. Congestion Charging: fiddled questions, distorted propaganda and secrecy
 
3. Manchester City Council, The Leader's Blog

 
 
Notes for Editors about the ABD