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Box clever?


Andy Braithwaite, the Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) secretary, certainly put Derek Jones back in his box for daring to point out UK motoring is overtaxed (NCE last week).

It seems Mr Jones forgot to mention the University of Leeds 1998 research 'suggesting' the congestion, accident and environmental costs of motoring far exceed the taxes paid!

Has CfIT told the Treasury of this research? I can vividly imagine Treasury officials having excited meetings on the potentiality of this suggestive research as a moral high ground to cajole motorists into feeling good about motoring taxes going up and up.

From the Treasury viewpoint, with even more expensively taxed fuel, people will not motor so much, so budgets for new roads and maintenance can be smaller. And with fewer road accidents, the National Health budget can be reduced!

With this research it is win for the motorist and win again for the Treasury. Are there no losers? Well, motoring will be affordable for the rich but for the rest of us it is back to bus stops, bike and walk.

Rennie Witt, renniewitt@onetel. com

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