Coalition Target Roads in 2013
It was a tough 2012 for the Coalition with fallouts, cock-ups and scandals leading the way (as usual), so in an attempt to stop 2013 going the same way - at least at the start, according to the Sun on Sunday - Prime Minister David Cameron with Nick Clegg by his side will be announcing a new network of pay-as-you-go highways to ease traffic blackspots.
Believing that Britain's road network is crumbling, the Coalition leaders are expected to announce plans to charge motorists for driving on major routes, although drivers sticking to B-Roads and single lane A-roads will benefit from a cut in duty - and this will be tied in with a positive announcement regarding the controversial £34billion HS2 rail link between London, Birmingham and Manchester.
But will everyone be happy about this? I wouldn't hold your breath. There has already been uproar regarding rail fares so promise of a new rail link isn't what the general public are expecting; and if you tie it in with the revelation on the same day that rail fares minister Simon Burns travels the 35 miles between his Essex home and Westminster using the £80,000 a year departmental car service, rather than the train because "I commute to and from work carrying classified papers which I work on during my journey," then it's not looking to be a Happy New Year for the beleaguered government.
But is the furore over the rail fares an example of what is to come when road usage prices come into being. We are assuming that these roads will be run privately (mainly because that has been Conservative policy in the past) and with the rail network privatised it could be a blueprint for the future - and that's not that good a blueprint.
Expect problems and protests from drivers, companies that use roads and inhabitants of towns and villages on B-Roads, because that is where the traffic is going that doesn't want to pay to drive after paying for fuel, road tax and car insurance. Expect protests against road tolls. Also expect cheers from the Tory side of Parliament.
Just don't expect thanks.
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