2/22/2007UK: 1.8 Million Protest Congestion Tax
Official UK petition against a per-mile road tax gains 1.8 million signatures.
An official petition against the UK government's proposed congestion tax program closed on Tuesday with 1,802,962 signatures. Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Blair emailed an extensive reply to those who registered opposition to the tax on his website.
"We have not made any decision about national road pricing," Blair wrote. "We are, for now, working with some local authorities that are interested in establishing local schemes to help address local congestion problems."
The proposal would use GPS monitoring devices installed in all vehicles to levy a tax based on how and where people drive. After reading the official response, petition creator and Association of British Drivers member Peter Roberts remained unconvinced.
"Road pricing is an intrusive and highly expensive way of modifying transport choices," Roberts wrote. "Its cost needs to be recovered before any benefit from taxation and adding additional bureaucracy to an already complex scheme is wasteful and unnecessary."
Blair insisted there would be "further consultations" before the program is put in place on a national scale.
"The Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street has resorted to extraordinary spin in an attempt to fragment and dissipate opposition to it's flawed road pricing policy," said Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign.