Trusting The Government Is Not Easy Say the IAM
Rumours still abound about toll roads and private roads and selling off the highways to private companies with disinformation and information arriving via media outlets in equal measure.
And one of the things that is under discussion is whether or not this ‘sell-off’’ is likely to happen, and if it does, what will happen to the money made from the sales.
The Government says that this money – if it does happen (and their lips are very tightly sealed) – would be reinvested in the road network, but according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 91% of surveyed motorists do not trust the government to reinvest any money made from tolls on new roads.
In fact, the whole idea of toll roads and ‘pay-as-you-drive’ roads isn’t an idea that is well received at all by those who responded to the survey. 60% didn’t support the idea of toll roads, and 79% said that would not support the introduction of tolls on existing roads.
The Government will argue that the introduction of toll roads would help raise money that is needed to update Britain’s outdated road network, but there are other ways of raising money such as more expensive tax discs. 40% of motorists would support this particular idea, and 41% wouldn’t support toll roads even if other types of tax were reduced.
Toll Roads are a bit like Marmite for drivers. Existing toll roads are either deliberately avoided during journey planning (44%) or accepted as part of the journey if they are encountered (47%). There is also a bit of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) about toll roads too with 56% of respondents saying that if a toll was enforced in their local area, they would use rural or local roads to avoid paying toll charges.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “The cost of motoring is currently at an all-time high, and it’s clear that the idea of bringing in toll roads has no support among everyday motorists. A toll on motorways, our safest roads, may force motorists on to more dangerous rural roads, to save money.”
“The government has a very hard job ahead to convince drivers that tolls are the only way to deliver new roads and improve existing ones. Only by reducing other motoring taxes can this policy gain the support of the motorist.”