Wednesday 12 June 2013

Apologies again

Serious family illness has taken me away from work for an undefined time.

Friday 7 June 2013

News Briefs - Hungary, India, USA

Hungary - Budapest unlikely to introduce congestion charge in short term

Following on from the report last year that the Hungarian Government had suspended development of a congestion pricing scheme for Budapest (which had received money for its metro system from the European Commission contingent on introduction of such a scheme), Caboodle reports that the Budapest Public Transport Centre, CEO David Vitezy, says that it wont happen in the next two to three years.

He says that until there is more public transport capacity, it can't be done.  He wants the fourth metro line (under construction) and some new tram lines built first.  I'm slightly curious about this, given Budapest functioned for many years with the existing public transport network and much less car traffic, and has had relatively static/declining public transport usage for some years.

However, I suspect the politics around this are too difficult for now.

India - Andhra Pradesh state may establish hypothecated roads fund

According to The Hindu, the Andhra Pradesh Road Development Corporation (APRDC) is considering replicating what has been done in four states (Assam, Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh), by setting up a dedicated roads fund which would receive revenue from motoring specific taxes.  The primary reason being to allow for better quality and longer term funding decisions on road infrastructure, than ad hoc annual funding decisions competing with other public spending.   In addition, it is intended to support the autonomy and accountability of the APRDC in delivering improvements to the network.   Taxes on motor vehicle ownership and fuel, tolls, and other revenue sources may be dedicated to the roads fund.  A key priority is to fund major safety improvements to reduce the high accident and road fatality rate on the state's roads.

USA - Texas - article on tolling

The Texas Tribune has an excellent four part series of articles on toll roads in the state.

- Part One. Includes an interactive map of toll roads in Texas, which looks like not much given the size of the state, but are clustered around major cities.
- Part Two.  Describing the rise of tolling in Texas.  Noting that fuel taxes have not risen in Texas in 20 years, that more than 150 miles of toll roads have been built in the past six years and the growth in private sector interest in building, owning and operating such roads.
- Part Three. Focusing on HOT and other toll lanes in Texas.
- Part Four.  On the failed Trans-Texas Corridor proposal and what came after.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Vancouver road pricing debate continued right up to the election

I wrote last year a couple of times about debate in Vancouver about road pricing.

Given it is the British Columbia Provincial Elections on 14 May, I thought I should outline some of the latest developments in debate over the past six months.

The NowNewspaper reports on how Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts thinks road pricing would be a fair and equitable way to raise revenue for public transport in Vancouver.  She suggests to radio station CKNW that it could replace property tax and reduce fuel tax.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson also says it might be fairer than property taxes, but it hasn't been researched enough.  The Delta Optimist reports that she is less than impressed by proposals for more property taxes to pay for Vancouver public transport.

The Globe and Mail reports that Richard Walton, the chairman of the TransLink mayors’ council, says that road pricing has to be a new way of funding, not an additional tax.  

The Vancouver Sun reported on how the Mayors of Vancouver's boroughs rejected a property tax increase to pay for public transport.

I will report shortly about the outcome and what lies ahead for British Columbia in road pricing.

Normal service will resume shortly

Apologies for those who follow this blog, I have been unable to produce any content in the past few weeks due to a number of factors including being extremely busy with work, a severe family illness and a bereavement, as well as some travel (and my birthday).   As a result I have also been unable to present a paper I submitted to the 9th ITS European Congress in Dublin, which I should have been talking to today.

My friend Steve Morello, from D'Artagnan Consulting LLP, is presenting on my behalf today.

I hope to resume regular service within the next week or so, in the meantime I will publish a few posts I had nearly finished before the recent interruptions.