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Congestion Charging
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grufty jim
grufty jim
1947 posts

Re: Congestion Charging
Feb 18, 2003, 17:04
> yeah make the rich pay
Here's my thing. When you use a car, you are burning an unsustainable and essential resource (and producing toxic fumes in the process, but let's ignore that just now). Most people agree that the reason we may soon be murdering Iraqis is to get our hands on more of this stuff. So this is a global issue.

And on any global standard; if you are a car owner living in or around London then you are one of "the rich". Certainly the folks trying to eke out a living near Baghdad would be a little shocked to hear of these "poor commuters" in London. I'm one of "the rich" on that scale - and i don't even own a car.

So let's not kid ourselves about this congestion charge hitting "the poor". If it slows down our rampant exploitation and devestation of oil producing areas, then this is helping the truly poor. To say otherwise is (in my opinion) to show a dangerous lack of perspective and misunderstanding of consequences.

> Theres road tax & fuel tax for starters.
Both of which are ridiculously low. Insanely low. By any measure except for the short-sighted, short-termism of unthinking "right to drive my car" folks. If you could somehow calculate the important of any essential non-renewable resource in monetary terms, does anyone really think it'd be measured in *pence* per litre?

> Their is also the question of how the charge
> will affect other areas.
Yup. That is an inherent problem with the scheme. It's unavaoidable i suspect - though my solution would be to make the zone larger. If people can drive to Hackney, park up, and then get a short bus ride down to Liverpool Street they might do that. If the charge started further out though, there'd be more incentive to make the whole trip on public transport.

But yeah, ultimately there will always be an area on the edge of the zone that sees some negative impact. If, however, the total number of cars can be reduced significantly, over time, by congestion charging then (i believe) the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

> Putting the money back into public transport
> is great, but it should have been done well
> BEFORE the charges started, not after.
Just where's that cash coming from BEFORE the charge goes into effect? Ken's hands are tied regarding bond-issues and public borrowing. His council tax increases have been about as high as he can get away with (i'd pay more personally, but that's cos i believe in public services). His spare funds have been going into the infrastructure of the congestion charge (a big up-front cost) and his legal challenge to PPP (which he sadly lost, but the people of London elected him to fight that battle; and he did his best in my opinion).

> As it is it does discriminate against the
> worst off in society
As i say; i just can't see that. If you're driving a car into London every day, and still "the worst off" in society then this planet is clearly not in half as bad a state as i once believed.
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