Mark Wadsworth

This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at markwadsworth.blogspot.com isn't working

“Not much”

DBC Reed left the following comment on my post For whom the bridge tolls (2):

A fairly beneficent toll is the London Congestion Charge, emanating from the same Georgist-minded people like Dave Wetzel who created the near-mythical (although it actually happened)Fares Fair scheme which subsidised tranport out of the rates.

Do you know how much London fares could be reduced by cross subsidies from Congestion Charge receipts?

Ho hum.

The total budget of Transport for London is about £5.6 billion (2010 accounts), £3.6 billion of which is paid for by fares, advertising revenues etc, and the rest is made up of all manner of grants, cross charges and a £400 million accounting deficit.

Income and expenditure from the Congestion Charge scheme is included in those accounts, showing net income (i.e. income minus expenditure) of £158 million.

So the words “not much” spring to mind.

IMHO, the Congestion Charge is not really a revenue raising measure, it is a rationing measure. Even if net revenues were zero, it might still be worth doing if it ensured that those people who really need to drive around London can do so more smoothly, and those who don’t really need to drive can take the bus or train instead. Emphasis on “might”. Simply turning off the traffic lights would probably achieve the same end, as well as saving a chunk of money.

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