FTA voices concern over future road tolls
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed worry over the government's plan to make part of the A14 in Cambridgeshire a toll road stating that it could set a precedent over the rest of the country.
Ministers and the Department for Transport (DfT) unveiled plans earlier in the week that will see developments of the A14 speed up, as it would be put on the organisations list of major projects. It incorporates proposals that a stretch of the highway will be subject to a charge for motorists to use, becoming the second motorway in the UK that is tolled. Currently drivers only have to pay to use the M6 in the Midlands but once the work gets underway in 2018, at the earliest, a 20-mile section of the A14 will be tolled.
However, these plans are still subject to approval from a Spending Review as well as being given the go-ahead from members of the local councils. The proposals are designed to reduce congestion on this busy route as well as increase capacity for those travelling through the Cambridgeshire region. However, the FTA believes that it could set a precedent in terms of motorists having to pay to use certain motorways.
Although the organisation recognises that it will help increase links between the Midlands and the major freight port of Felixstowe, allowing the UK to transport international cargo around the country much more easily, members are worried that more and more roads could be tolled if it goes ahead.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy, said: "FTA is worried that freight operators who have to use the A14 in order to get in and out of Felixstowe will be forced to pay this toll, which would be seen as an unavoidable tax if they are not offered a reasonable affordable alternative route to reach the Suffolk port."
Officials noted that the £1.6 billion upgrade will help reduce traffic problems between the Suffolk dock and where the roads link up with the M6.
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