Linas.P

Maybe we finally going to get Dartford crossing free

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Just noticed there is petition to make dartford crossing free... surprisingly there has not been one before as government promised to make it free in 2003 as planned, but kept illegally chagrin for it. Question obviously what difference does it make - goverment lied before, lying now and probably will continue to do so... 

Just to note - the plan in 1991 when the project to build the bridge was put in place it was planned that crossing will be toll road for 15 years until the original cost is paid back (2006), because of higher use then expected the costs were actually covered by 1999 and in 2001 goverment promised to remove tolls, but as of today it is still toll road making nice £70 million of illegal charges every year. 

https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/petition-launched-wake-dartford-crossing-1909888

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/227567

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Interesting.  I bought my  Celsior in Purfleet which meant paying for the crossing 6 times in all, £15!

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1 hour ago, Linas.P said:

Just noticed there is petition to make dartford crossing free... surprisingly there has not been one before as government promised to make it free in 2003 as planned, but kept illegally chagrin for it. Question obviously what difference does it make - goverment lied before, lying now and probably will continue to do so... 

Just to note - the plan in 1991 when the project to build the bridge was put in place it was planned that crossing will be toll road for 15 years until the original cost is paid back (2006), because of higher use then expected the costs were actually covered by 1999 and in 2001 goverment promised to remove tolls, but as of today it is still toll road making nice £70 million of illegal charges every year. 

https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/petition-launched-wake-dartford-crossing-1909888

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/227567

My understanding is that although the original PFI agreement should have allowed free use by a specified date, Government is allowed under different legislation to continue charging or to allow charging to continue for as long as they like. I'm afraid it isn't 'illegal.'

If the elected Government of the day decides to introduce road tolls on motorways at some future point - as has been mooted frequently - then they can do so. It may not be politically popular, or fair, but they can do it. 

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Yes.. technically you are right it is not "illegal" as the goverment can decide themselves when it is or isn't.... 

It is more like "white wash/lie" where politicians have no responsibility or commitments, can promise anything and are legally allowed to lie ( e.g. Wheeler v PM or Begbie v PM) - it is considered "political" and not legal matter.

Still it is unfair.... let's not forget they raise £36bn from motorists every year anyway, out of which they don't spend even £4bn on roads, so claim that Dartford crossing needs "maintenance fund" is lie - they already have £32bn which they simply spend elsewhere.. 

Obviously, it is impossible to discuss this matter without acknowledging we are not living in "(representative) democracy", more likely "pseudo-democratic parliamentary dictatorship/monarchy".

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Technically we have a representative democracy - i.e. voters elect a representative by constituency - but the fact that two thirds of the current constituencies make a vote against one party or the other almost academic makes this concept flawed. A true PR system would be more representative but comes with its own issues. The fate of the nation in terms of the Government we elect is really decided by fewer than 10% of voters in a few key constituencies. Democracy?

On the subject of the Dartford Crossing, I'd argue that the lack of a toll of some kind - i.e. it being fully funded by the taxpayer - would mean that those in other parts of the country who never use it would in fact be subsidising those that do. Is that fair? Possibly, as there are limited alternatives, although I believe it is free after 22.00 and there are resident schemes to reduce the cost for locals, so to some degree it is already subsidised.

To use another example, look at the debate around re-nationalising the railways. Ignoring whether you think it is a good idea ethically - and I believe in public ownership of utilities and infrastructure by the way - it isn't as simple as politicians would have you believe. I forget the exact numbers, but something like 5% of the population use the railways more than once a week. Of those, something like 70% live in London or commute into London. Those people (not all of them, obviously) earn - on average - between 15-25% more than the national average wage, largely because many companies factor the cost of travel into salaries (what used to be known as 'London weighting.')

Should the majority of the population, who rarely use the railways, subsidise the mainly more affluent commuters in the South-East that do? How does that fit with an aspiration to be 'for the many, not the few?'

It's a tricky balance, especially once this type of stuff gets into the public consciousness as it will during an election campaign. And that's before even thinking about whether the Government can afford to reduce fares while maintaining the large levels of investment that the private sector has provided. As I said, tricky to say the very least...and having worked in central Government policy in one department or another for the last decade, I really don't know whether there is an answer beyond acting on belief and opinion. Small Government or large Government? That's what everything ultimately comes down to.

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I think it is more complex then that - if we would elect "representatives", then should actually represent us... they should be just a messengers which can be sacked at any time, but that is certainly not the case. My problem is more about them lying or promising something to be elected and then just abandoning it - there should be some responsibility. Lied, promised and not delivered broken the "code of conduct" and you are sacked, next representative elected. The whole "representative democracy" thing is concept from the past when it was technologically impossible to implement direct democracy - nowadays we have all technology and to be honest we no longer need representatives... The only group of the people who needs representatives are they themselves and some elites for whom it is easier to manipulate and bribe one or few representatives rather then whole nation.

One motoring related example would be that 62% of trips and 78% of distance in UK are covered by cars, as such if we would have representative democracy our government would subsidise road infrastructure - because majority of the population prefers it. What happening is opposite - goverment makes it harder to drive every year, increases related taxes, duties and the roads are neglected. This indicates government makes decisions independently and against will of the people they represent - so whole "representative democracy" is just a fantasy.  

I think it is unfair to even make toll road considering how much more motorists raises in taxes, but generally I don't mind the idea of localised tolls in remote areas where improvement literally transforms the lives for better locally, but not really makes much more sense nationally. This is more applicable to small remote locations where the cost of improvement would far outright economic importance of the place. Dartford in not such "remote place" it is pretty much key road linking entire UK to EU imports and exports... so there is rationale to have it even if nobody would live 10 miles around it.

Finally, how is dartfort crossing is different from any other stretch of the road? and why does it need any additional funding? As I said goverment doesn't spend £32bn raised from motorists... 

As for you example re: London trains.. that isn't actually true. The nation is not funding the rail infrastructure, those "affluent" commuters pays more tax, hence they get more service. I believe London raised like 30% of all taxes nationally, so it would be fair to spend 30% of taxes in London, but that isn't the case. Londoners are already subsidising the rest of UK, not other way around.

 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/23/uk-budget-deficit-grows-to-more-than-10bn-as-people-spend-less

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jul/07/london-top-taxpaying-city-uk-report

Now should that be the case .... I don't know... I think it woudl be better to decentralise the economy from London which would improve the life quality both in London and outside. But what is for sure nobody subsidises London infrastructure... 

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