Friday, June 22, 2007


Still no sense in congestion charge proposals

This morning was the AGM of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, followed by a regular meeting of the same body. It was good to meet my colleagues on the PTA for the first time, and we talked about many things during the meeting - not least of which was of course the congestion charge proposals. Still no word from the Labour controlling group about precisely what questions people will be asked as part of the consultation survey. Or indeed any clarity whatsoever on absolutely crucial points such as where exactly the inner charge ring will be, what the penalty system will be for non-payment, how communities like Simister will be treated (there's only one way out of Simister, and it involves crossing the M60 and getting charged!) etc etc etc. How anyone can be expected to make an informed choice to back these proposals is a mystery. And that's before we even start on the plain blackmail that these proposals represent. Any government that claims to be in favour of public transport improvements should be able to make the necessary investments in them without forcing hard working people to pay a fiver a day to get to work first.

So the proposals remain shambolic, ill thought-out and pretty much unworkable. Not to mention thoroughly unfair.

Tomorrow it's the Lib Dem Local Government Conference at the ICC in Birmingham, so I shall be therelistening to the speakers and taking in the exhibitors. I only hope I 'm not feeling too unwilling to undertake the drive down there after the work's night out I am going to tonight! It is "national wine week" in Weatherspoon's this evening, which spells trouble ahead at £6 a bottle...

Have a good weekend all.


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