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Tolls should follow road upgrade - NECC

Date 23 May 2007
Author The Editor

The region’s leading business membership organisation yesterday said it was open minded about road pricing – as long as it is linked with major improvements to roads and public transport. Responding to the publication of the draft Local Transport Bill, the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) said it would be ‘totally unfair’ for this region to bear the brunt of road tolls before infrastructure improvements were made that had already been carried out in other parts of the UK.

Ross Smith, NECC head of policy said: “We are open minded on road pricing, but it must be linked to significant improvements both to the roads themselves and to public transport. Businesses will not stomach paying for something unless they get value for money. However, it must also be said that it would be inequitable for long-awaited and economically vital road improvements in the North East to be made conditional on road pricing when that has not been the case in other parts of the country.

"Any local pilot would have to be very carefully designed to ensure there is no adverse impact on economic competitiveness in the region. We would also expect some reform of fuel and road tax."

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