So the government's solution to the transport crisis is to charge more to travel. Where will this money go?
Clearly something needs to be done. There is insufficient space to provide enough roads for the level of demand at present, not to mention the negative environmental and safety aspects of road use. But penalising the road user further without offering an alternative does nothing for freeing up the country and will continue to cost billions in lost time and effi ciencies.
We need to develop a national high speed rail network and support this with urban rail systems. These should be fast, efficient, integrated and cheap to use.
With this in place people will be able to think twice about using the car.
A brief review of the chancellor's 2005 budget indicates that we pay over £29bn a year through road and fuel taxes, yet less than £20bn is put back into transport.
The missing £9bn should be ring-fenced to create the network and reduce the cost of tickets.
Of course this will take years to develop. But that is just another reason why we should start now and civil engineers should be leading the way. Proposing and publicising engineering solutions is the perfect opportunity for the ICE to put our increased subscriptions to good use.
Stuart Yalden (M), stuartyalden@yahoo. com