FTA boss supportive of road pricing in U.K.
Richard Turner, chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, which represents British shippers and transport providers, said that road pricing in the country is “a necessity and an inevitability.”
Speaking at the FTA Freight Summit 2007 in London on Thursday, Turner said that road pricing shouldn’t “be the first nor only action” taken to lessen the congestion on Britain’s road network, which he said was wasting millions of man hours and billions of pounds every year.
Turner added that road pricing should only follow once a range of transport and social policy actions are explored such as new roads, motorway (freeway) widening, night deliveries, changes in school hours, daylight saving, better public transport and working from home.
“Road pricing, by itself, will not solve the congestion crisis. But if it is used sensibly and sensitively, after a whole range of positive investment and policy decisions on the operation of the roads network have been put into effect, then it can influence the behavior of a key percentage of road users and convert a gridlocked motorway into a free-flowing, efficient road,” Turner said.
All three of Britain’s major political parties have agreed in principle on the need for a road pricing scheme, but a public petition signed by 1.8 million people against the idea has caused the government to rethink its position.
“I don’t think this is an issue you railroad through against massive public objection ' I wouldn’t personally as a politician engage in that type of kamikaze politics. But I’m not closing the door on the debate,” said Prime Minister Tony Blair in a recent interview on the Downing Street Web site.