08 February 2013

Tunnel users say toll increase will damage local economy

By John Ramos

Motoring Groups have condemned the decision to raise the Mersey Tunnels tolls saying it will damage the local economy.

The Mersey Tunnels Users Association which represents local commuters says the decision to raise the cost for cars by ten pence from April from £1.50 to £1.60 will see some motorists abandon the tunnels. They also fear the move may even encourage some firms to consider stop using the tunnels and switch their trade instead to Manchester.

Under the plans the cost for HGV's will also rise from April by 40 pence from £6.00 to £6.40.

But drivers who use the fast tag system and pay by direct debit will see no rise in their charge.

Merseytravel which manages the tunnels says the change is necessary to pay off the debt for building the system as well as allowing them to maintain it. They say the money raised will also be used to subsidise local bus fares and concessionary schemes.

Councillor Liam Robinson has admitted Merseytravel's move to new offices was inappropriate but stresses this isnt the cause of the toll rise.

Around 88,000 vehicles a day use the tunnels and the current debt stands at 56 million pounds.

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