|Privatisation of UK roads|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:00|
England’s major roads could be taken over by private firms under plans to boost infrastructure spending being set out by Prime Minister David Cameron.
He has ordered Whitehall experts to investigate a radical shake-up of ownership and funding to encourage investors to back desperately needed upgrades to the ageing road network.
But one leading motoring organisation, the AA, condemned the shake-up which it said appeared to be a step to national road tolls.
AA President, Edmund King, said: “The Government has indicated that tolls would only apply on new capacity but many drivers would suspect new ownership is the thin end of the wedge, leading to national road pricing. Many drivers can’t afford current fuel prices, so new charges would be a toll too far.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Director of Policy and Research, Neil Greig added: “British drivers simply don’t trust the Government to come up with a new way of paying for roads that will not lead to increased costs in the long run. Past Governments have a poor track record of removing tolls once private contracts have expired – the Dartford Crossing should have been free once the original debt was paid, but the tolls remain in place.”