Is road pricing feasible?

February 1st, 2005 Public Finance no comments
It is two years since London’s congestion scheme was launched by mayor Ken Livingstone to a fanfare of opprobrium from its opponents. The charge has been widely acclaimed as a success but while none of the dire predictions of its critics have come true, nor have the expectations of similar schemes sprouting up around Britain or, indeed, Europe and the rest of the world. And there is an even more fundamental ...

Livingstone tries to sort out TfL’s financial difficulties

October 8th, 2004 Public Finance no comments
The sharp rises on some fares announced recently for London Transport come as no surprise. The finances of Transport for London have looked distinctly parlous for some time, and even a relatively generous settlement in the Chancellor's July spending review was not enough to prevent above inflation fares rises. TfL has been waging a long and clever campaign for more money. A 'business plan' - it was really a wish list ...

Much work to be done on transport

July 30th, 2004 Public Finance no comments
If there was an area of policy that the government could opt out of, there is no doubt that Labour would choose transport. Since 1997, there has been a series of unfortunate events ranging from rail disasters such as Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield to the fuel crisis of September 2000, and failed initiatives such as the 10 year transport plan and the creation of the Strategic Rail Authority, all of ...

Blood on the tracks

January 16th, 2004 Public Finance no comments
2004 will go down as the year when the government was longer able to ignore the crisis on the railways. The problems created by what is now widely recognised as a botched and hasty privatisation are deep-rooted and extremely difficult to solve. Now, at last, recent reports in the press and various other straws in the wind suggest that ministers are beginning to realise that their ostrich-like approach of hoping that ...

Down the tube – the biggest PPP

November 12th, 2003 Public Finance no comments
As Saddam Hussein might say, the Public Private Partnership for the London Underground is the mother of all Private Finance Initiative deals. At one point, its estimated £17bn value over the first 15 years, eclipsed all other PFI deals put together and even now this one scheme represents at least a sixth of the total already signed. It is not just the scale of the Tube deal that is different from ...

The road less travelled

July 4th, 2003 Public Finance no comments
Congestion charging has suddenly become a mainstream political issue. Before Ken Livingstone’s successful introduction of the charge in London in February, it was a fringe concept that seemed only to interest the Greens and environmentalists, an idea that had been hanging around for a long time but never likely to become policy. The success of London’s scheme has changed that. Suddenly, congestion charging is all the rage. A procession of foreign ...

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10 November
Fire and Steam

13 November
Engines of War

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