Mersey Tunnel toll rise plan faces opposition from mayor

 

Plans for a potential rise in Mersey Tunnel toll prices are expected to be opposed by Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson this week.

Members of the Merseytravel Committee will today discuss hiking the price for cars by 10p to £1.80, while freezing the discounted Fast Tag payment at £1.40 per journey.

However with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority having final say over the Mersey Tunnel charges, mayor Anderson is understood to be planning to propose a motion on Friday that will outlaw the increase.

An inflation-related formula linked to the Mersey Tunnels Act 2004 supports the introduction of an even steeper cash toll of £1.90. Yet a report put to the Merseytravel Committee has warned it would be 'disproportionate' to set the toll at this level for 2015/16.

Mayor Anderson told the Liverpool Echo he thinks there should be no increase this year. He is also expected to request detailed information on how the tunnel's debts can be paid off sooner and how year-on-year toll rises can be stopped.

'We don't charge people to come into Liverpool from Sefton or Knowsley - so should we be continuing to use the tunnel to pay for things that clearly other people within the city region who do not use the tunnel are not paying for. It's an extra tax,' mayor Anderson said.

'We have to be looking at how to bring down tunnel tolls and eradicate the debt, get MPs to repeal the Tunnels Act. We need to do all we can to reduce all the charges,' he added.

Speaking before today's committee meeting, David Brown, chief executive of Merseytravel, said: 'Members have to weigh up a number of factors - the need for continued investment in the tunnels themselves as an aging but key strategic highway for the city region, the impact on tunnel users and the role of surplus funding. This is ringfenced for investment in key transport infrastructure projects for use across the Liverpool City Region - a valuable and sustained source of revenue.?'

 
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