It is a strange world that we live in is it not.? Why is it for example that we do not bat an eye lid when we have to pay for using an airport or a railway station and the services that they provide (ie the ability to travel on to a destination ) but if you start talking about charging people who drive to pay something for the ability to drive somewhere, then all hell breaks out.
It is not dissimilar to car drivers being hammered for driving in bus lanes and being fined. In West Bromwich recently thousands of car drivers were fined over half a million pounds in 6 months with all the money being pumped back into the local economy. The view taken is that using roads as a principal should be free that is what we pay our taxes for after all is not it. And why we used to pay our car tax obviously as that was going to pay for roads upkeep alone. Forget the smart motorways upgrades or indeed the massive expansion of roads planned by the government to keep post Brexit Britain moving.
Yes when you stand back and look at it, the logic of everyone sharing less and less actual road space because there are too many vehicles on the road is frankly illogical to quote Mr Spock from Star Trek. The added affect of increased congestion coupled with the killer poison of bad air claiming tens of thousands of lives every year and we just glibly allow it to happen, just does not make any sense. It is preposterous really when you think about it the results of congestion combined with air quality that ruins peoples health and their lives and we select to ignore it.
But, and this is the thing. What if people were being specifically poisoned by some outside organisation like a terrorist group. Would we sit by quietly and say oh well not my problem I am just going to carry on regardless as it is not me being affected, no we would not. But here we do not even stop to think, it is not our problem is it. Well in truth of course it is our problem and for every child who gets asthma or OAP who is diagnosed with a lung disease because they live next to an arterial road where poison fumes have been poured out day after day, night after night ,year after year with the inevitable consequences of illness and death. And lets face it at least over here we have been trying to reduce emissions. What about other parts of the world where there has been no effort to curb pollution and just what sort of a God forsaken world will that be like for those who are born into its legacy of poor air and economic strangulation.
So what we need now more than ever, is a world where we can work out how to fairly pay for roads in a way that is fair to both road users and the economy and the environment. The impressive Clair Haigh and the team at Greener Journeys are looking at this complex question and starting I believe to find some answers so credit where it is due.