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M6 Toll operator could waive charges

The M6 Toll could be free to use when the main M6 motorway is closed, if the road’s operator is released from a Government contract. 

Midland Expressway has asked ministers to scrap a deal for it to part-fund the building of a link road between the M6 Toll and the M54 motorways, the BBC reports.

An initial proposal is thought to have been rejected by the government.

The company has debts of £1.03bn and would have to find £100m towards the cost of the link road.

Midland Expressway - a subsidiary of Australian company Macquarie Atlas Roads - said it would make the M6 Toll free to motorists if the M6 was closed for a bad accident or extreme weather conditions, but not for congestion.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was unable to comment on the situation while negotiations were ongoing.

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  • Patriot - 25/06/2013 23:53

    So much for the idea of Toll roads in Britain. An Australian Venture Capitalist company thought it could make money from M-Way tolls.......Ho Ho. The bigger question is: Why have they let the debts mount up to £1.03 Billion? I hope they are not lining up for a hand out from HM Treasury.

  • maybe i'm a cynic - 26/06/2013 11:48

    Why would a company with £1.03 billion debts be offering free travel on the toll road when the non toll road is closed? Also, why do they want to be released from the government contract? Perhaps that contact caps the charge levied on motorists for each journey? Lets face it, removing these toll roads from government control is rarely good for the public, the severn bridge tolls go up year after year and the Dartford tunnel should be paid for now, but the tolls go on.

  • Cliff Nicholls - 26/06/2013 12:00

    Should be simple, abide by the contract entered into or forfeit the asset to public control. M6 toll has not worked, when it first opened it was pretty cheap and busy, now it's deserted most of the time as the tolls are so high.

    • Patriot - 26/06/2013 12:12

      @Cliff Nicholls - 'or forfeit the asset to public control.' Fair enough-IF,IF the mountain of debt does not come with it. Macquarie are responsible for their debts, Joe Public via HM Treasury is not. This toll scheme may have worked if for example you could offset the cost of travelling on the M6 Toll Road against your annual RFL. Motorists will not pay twice to drive a vehicle on public roads but this simple lesson has escaped both the road operator and the treasury. Tough luck Macquarie

  • Andy T - 26/06/2013 12:12

    It sounds like Midland Expressway are trying to get out of a clause that they were perhaps a bit too keen to sign up to when the M6 Toll was being created....... As for their huge debts, surely a reduction on the expensive toll fees would attract more users and thus a higher revenue overall. I live near the north end of the M6 Toll and they are missing out on hundreds of TNT/UPS/DHL lorries every week because they choose to keep the fees high, and this results in the lorries using the A5 instead. That said though, I am led to believe that the road thickness of the M6 Toll is less than that used on normal motorways, so maybe they have to try to keep the lorries off to make the surface last longer....

  • Andy Bemment - 26/06/2013 12:45

    Rubbish article: ME say it would make it free but that depends on the government - so that is no then. The proposal for the link road was rejected by government but ME asked ministers to scrap a deal for part funding.!. What negotiations? Oh dear must be a very slow news day

  • John Thomson - 26/06/2013 15:30

    Annoying things about M6 Toll road - the M6 is configured to default to travel on the Toll road and why does the overhead gantry sign always state M6 Toll clear but never give the status of the M6? (I know the answer really).

  • Mike D - 26/06/2013 16:16

    I think it’s jolly decent of Macquarie to consider offering the government use of the M6 Toll in emergency circumstances. I think the arrangement should be on a commercial basis with a prearranged fee per hour payable by the government whenever it needs to avail itself of the service. This makes the motorway Pay As You Go for everyone including the government. There would be a willing buyer and a willing seller and Macquarie would have a clear conscience that they had not taken advantage of taxpayers.

    • Patriot - 26/06/2013 21:37

      @Mike D - Why should the government pay our money to a loss making enterprise to use a M-Way? This is a double-edged sword; Macquarie are hoping their 'generous' offer will be seen as co-operation when in reality they are probably hoping for the solution you suggest which will give them a guaranteed income stream, something they do not have at the present time. Which 'willing buyer' is going to take on a loss maker with £1.03 Billion debts? The originators of the concept of the M6 Toll Road did not conduct a very thorough Cost/Benefit analysis IMV otherwise they would not be in the financial black-hole they find themselves.

  • Wayne Pettyt - 26/06/2013 18:34

    The toll road should be free So they can fix the M6

  • Mike D - 27/06/2013 08:14

    If you ignore the emotive issue of occasionally helping out a debt laden business, the government would be simply paying for the use of a facility only when it needed it and on a purely commercial basis. There would be no question of a guaranteed income stream to Macquarie.

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