Merseyside’s travel bosses have rejected calls for an increase in tunnel tolls.
Liverpool Echo 16:08, 12 February 2015
By Liam Murphy
At a meeting at Merseytravel’s HQ in Liverpool this afternoon councillors decided to freeze tolls at the current £1.70.
This came despite Merseytravel officers recommending the price for car drivers go up to £1.80 from April.
It follows criticism from Wirral MPs and councillors – and calls by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson for a freeze on the tolls this year and greater emphasis on repaying tunnel debts.
Mayor Anderson has also called for tunnels to be a key part of devolution negotiations with the Government and for a repeal of the Tunnels Act which puts pressure on the tolls to rise each year – a move welcomed by Wirral council leader Phil Davies.
Mayor Anderson told the ECHO this week he would be putting forward a motion to the meeting of the city region’s combined authority calling for the toll freeze, and this would be seconded by Cllr Davies.
Today the Merseytravel committee agreed to recommend a freeze at the £1.70 levels for the tolls and this will go forward to the combined authority meeting of city region leaders when they meet tomorrow.
After the meeting John McGoldrick on behalf of the Mersey Tunnels Users Association said: “Users of the Tunnels will be pleased by today’s decision, providing that the Combined Authority does not overturn the decision at their meeting tomorrow.
“But even without this increase Merseytravel will in 2015 be making a profit of £15.4m from the tolls. We believe that any tolls are wrong but having tolls so high that they can take money from users of the tunnels to be spent elsewhere is legalised robbery.
“We will continue to press for the law to be changed to prevent this profiteering. Our long term aim is for the tolls to be scrapped with the tunnels being financed from the £50bn a year that the Government takes from roads users.”