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UK: Government funding linked to new congestion charge

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 November 2008

The UK government is reportedly threatening to withhold public funding for infrastructure projects in Manchester, unless the city agrees to introduce a congestion charge.

Manchester is voting early next month to decide whether to impose a city centre pay-as-you drive scheme. The scheme is being seen as groundbreaking pilot for cities all over the world.

Proposed investment plans include new tram lines, extra buses and increased park and ride provision, but speaking to the Times newspaper yesterday, transport secretary Geoff Hoon said that funding would be cancelled unless a majority of the city's 1.8m residents voted in favour of the scheme.

Unlike in London, drivers would have electronics tags fitted to their cars and they would pay up to £5 a day depending on where they drive around the city and at what time. Drivers would only pay at peak times and in the busiest direction of travel.

Manchester has tried to introduce a congestion charge before but failed.

According to the Times, around 10,000 jobs are linked to the planned investment. Hoon said that the funding would be given to other cities if Manchester did not vote yes.

Other UK cities considering charging programmes include Cambridge, Bristol and Leeds. Advisors to President Elect Obama are reportedly also eyeing the Manchester scheme.

The ballot closes on December 11.