Federation of Small Businesses in Wales and the Freight Transport Association want tolls slashed once Severn bridges pass into public hands
WITH the annual rise in the cost of crossing the Severn bridges looming business groups have called for an immediate cut to the tolls once they pass into public hands.
On January 1 tolls for ordinary motorists will rise to £6.40 for car drivers, to £12.80 for small goods vehicles and £19.20 for heavy goods vehicles.
Now the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales and the Freight Transport Association have said that tolls should be for an immediate cut in Severn Crossings tolls once the bridges pass into public hands.
Both bodies are worried that the current tolls are damaging the South Wales economy, and called for the government to “steer well clear” of funding other infrastructure projects in the same way.
Ian Gallagher, FTA's Head of Policy for Wales and the South West, said: “FTA believes that the tolls must be reduced as soon as the bridges pass into public ownership.
“As we look to the future, it is clear that the method by which the Seven Crossings were funded is not a suitable blueprint for new infrastructure projects, and we would call for government to steer well clear of any similar schemes."
Iestyn Davies from Federation of Small Businesses Wales said: "The current system of tolls places an unfair burden on road users to fund bridges that form a vital part of the UK’s transport infrastructure.”
The Second Severn Crossing was built under a private finance agreement where a company paid for its construction and took on the debt of the older Severn Bridge.
This is then paid back through the tolls. Both crossings will pass back into public ownership after a certain amount of toll revenue is collected – a point estimated to be in 2018.
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