A billion-pound scheme to build Britain’s second toll motorway sounds big and bold. But you don’t need to dig very deep into the detail of the plan for the M4 in South Wales to realise that George Osborne is falling way short of the conviction needed to get to grips with our creaking road network.
A toll here and there to pay for this or other bit of tarmac is not enough. We need a radical change to the way our road network is funded, maintained and expanded.
We should scrap Vehicle Excise Duty and reduce fuel duty by 75 per cent, and charge instead for the actual use of the roads rather than for the mere privilege of owning a vehicle and filling it with fuel. Nobody delights in suddenly being charged for something that they have been used to receiving free, but the current system only results in traffic jams and taxation.
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