Professor Glaister's views on local taxes to pay for local surface transport improvements (NCE last week) beg the question about how much motorists pay in taxes at present and how much of it is spent on new and improved facilities.
The following facts are taken from the RAC's Road Fact File 2004 and may enable readers to form an opinion on the merits of the professor's views.
In 2003, UK motorists paid the government £42.2bn in taxation, including £22.1bn from fuel, £4.6bn from vehicle excise duty, £6.8bn from VAT on vehicles; £5.6bn from VAT on fuel and £3.1bn from company car tax.
Motorists also paid another £75.2 bn into the economy through purchase of vehicles, fuel and basic running costs.
Yet in 2003 just £6.7 bn was spent on UK roads infrastructure even though roads serve 92% of passenger travel - rail serves just 6.5%.
Britain's major road network has increased by 0.06%, less than 200 miles, in 10 years and in terms of the ratio of motorway length to GDP the UK is 14th out of a European league of 15.
UK car ownership is also 5% below the European average.
Derek Jones (F), i. d. firstname.lastname@example.org. uk