Fleet News

Departments at war over way ahead for tolls and charges

THE Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Treasury are at loggerheads as to how an essential element of the introduction of road tolls and workplace parking charges will be funded. The Transport Bill is not expected to become law until at least 2001 and before charges can be levied, authorities must have won the support of their communities - and carried out improvements in their public transport systems.

Where the money for these improvements comes from is a key question, particularly amid fears that the prime target for additional revenue will be the fleet industry. But the Government line is confused. When asked where the money would come from without the income from charging, a DETR spokesman said: 'That's a Treasury matter'. A call to the Treasury prompted the response: 'The Transport Bill is the responsibility of the DETR. It answers all the questions.' The DETR would only say that the Government had already earmarked £1.8 billion over three years for public transport improvements. It also made it quite clear the fuel tax escalator was far from being consigned to history, but would be an important source of revenue.

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