Implications for the United States
Edited by Harry W. Richardson and Chang-Hee Christine Bae
Chapter 4: National Road Pricing in Great Britain: Is it Fair and Practical?
Stephen Glaister and Daniel J. Graham* 1 INTRODUCTION In June 2005 the then UK Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, addressed the Social Market Foundation, suggesting that the basic principle of a national road pricing scheme would be to charge road users according to the use they actually make of the network at diﬀerent times and in diﬀerent places. The Labour Party 2005 Election Manifesto also indicated that the possibility of a national, comprehensive system of road pricing should be investigated as an important component of future transport policy: ‘because of the long term nature of transport planning we will seek political consensus in tackling congestion, including examining the potential of moving away from the current system of motoring taxation towards a national system of road pricing’. More recently, the Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander, noted: [C]ongestion is getting worse in our major towns and cities and on some parts of the strategic road network. If we do nothing, it could damage our long-term economic growth. But doing nothing is not an option. That is why I am clear that we need . . . to take road pricing oﬀ the drawing board and make it work for road users. While politicians are fond of saying that ‘doing nothing is not an option’, and while government support looks encouraging, for the last couple of decades governments have in fact done very little. Indeed, the response to political pressures has been to withdraw plans to provide new road...
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