Time for penny to drop over Toll debacle

Monday, June 24 2013

UKIP Transport Spokesman Mike Nattrass has challenged the owner of the beleaguered M6 Toll to bite the bullet and admit the road has been an abject failure following news that motorists may soon get access to the route at peak times.

West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass says it is time for Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) and the Government to ‘pull their heads out of the sand’ and finally accept that the privately run toll road should be nationalised.

MEL, the owner of the toll, has offered to make the road free to use at peak times as part of a deal to release the firm from an obligation to part fund a link road to the M54.

The news comes just months after MEL announced that it would give certain lorries free use of the Toll throughout next month (July) under a trial scheme which Mr Nattrass believes will reinforce the case for nationalisation of this 27-mile stretch.

Since the road opened ten years ago usage of the road has plummeted as toll charges every year have continued to climb. Standard toll charges now stand at 5.50 for cars and a massive 11 for HGVs.

UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass says MEL should hold its hands up and admit the Toll has been a disaster and accept the road should be put into public ownership.

Mr Nattrass, a member of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee, commented: “MEL is in major debt and motorists continue to shun the road to escape the crippling toll charges, making matters worse.

“The M6 Toll was actually designed to be a relief road for the congested M6 motorway, to save further widening costs, the toll road has totally failed to divert traffic causing we taxpayers significantly more public investment in the M6.

“We cannot afford these expensive upgrades to the M6 to preserve the Toll as an under-utilised highway for the rich or from its inevitable failure.

“This Government believe in, and support, privatisation and will fudge this issue with MEL. Both have their heads in the sand and should take pro-motorist action by putting the road into public ownership.”