I have been informed by Merseytravel’s Director of Resources, that current tolls paid will NOT BE INCREASED this year. So for cars the toll will remain at £1.40 per journey or £1.25 for those who use the ‘Fast Tag’
Clearly I am delighted with that news, however we have to remember that at last years Authority budget meeting, Merseytravel voted on a proposal to increase the tunnel tolls for cars by 10p, to £1.60 but to discount the actual toll paid to £1.40 due to ‘exceptional economic circumstances’. This has of course created a time bomb that inevitably will explode at some time in the future. I am very often asked if the tolls are discounted, why force through an increase? The answer is simple, it’s because the Mersey Tunnels Act of 2004 states there ’shall’ be an increase in line with inflation each year. Conservatives opposed the Tunnels Bill.
At last years budget meeting I proposed, and my colleague, Cllr Ian Lewis seconded a plan that would have not only kept the existing toll at £1.40 but also introduced Dartford Crosing-style discounts for local residents as well as removing the tolls altogether at certain parts of the day. Sadly this was voted down by the Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors who serve on Merseytravel, including the Wirral Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors.
What of this years Merseytravel Budget meeting on the 4th February? I will be studying the papers, and will be exploring what options may be open to us, however so that we cannot be accused of ‘pre-determination’ I will keep an open mind, and listen to all the arguments, before I decide if I want to move any amendments to the budget.