The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) has set out the case for retaining tolls on the Forth Road Bridge.
The statement came in response to a request from the Scottish Executive for factual evidence to support the retention or removal of tolls. This followed the announcement that the Executive would engage independent consultants to carry out a detailed review of the economic, social and environmental costs and impacts of retaining or removing tolls on the Tay and Forth Road Bridges. FETA's case indicates that removing tolls would increase the average daily traffic flow at the Forth Road Bridge by 21%. It also said that the Forth Road Bridge's £1 toll pays for:Routine maintenance on the Forth Road Bridge at £1.75 million a year, as well as a £118 million programme of bridge strengthening and improvement works over the next 15 years. This essential programme includes major projects to tackle corrosion in the main cables, such as acoustic monitoring and dehumidification, as well as strengthening and painting of the suspended span truss underneath the road surface, replacement of the main joints and bearings, parapet replacement and carriageway resurfacing.FETA convener Lawrence Marshall said, 'The unique circumstances of the Forth Road Bridge mean that it would be folly to remove tolls at this stage. 'With the major programme of capital expenditure that is required over the next 15 years, it would be reckless to jeopardise the Forth Road Bridge's income stream at this moment in time.'He added that a blanket decision to abolish tolls would only increase congestion and environmental damage and jeopardise funding of any additional crossing of the Forth.