March 17 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Controversial plans to toll the new A14 could be dropped.
Improvements to a 25-mile stretch of the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge will instead be paid for by the Government, the Financial Times is reporting.
Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that he “understood” strong opposition of MPs and councils to the proposal to charge motorists.
And the newspaper said Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will announce the £1.5billion project would go ahead with taxpayer funding.
The Treasury declined to comment on speculation about the contents of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which will be delivered on Thursday.
A consultation suggested drivers could be charged between £1 and £1.50 - which would have been the first new toll route in the UK since a 27-mile stretch of the M6 between Birmingham and Wolverhampton opened in 2003.
Mr Cameron was tackled on the issue by South Suffolk Tory MP Tim Yeo at Commons question time.
“I am well aware of the strong feelings in Suffolk about this issue and I have been approached about it by many Members of Parliament,” he said.
“I believe that road tolls can play an important part in providing new road capacity and it is important that we find ways to pay for road capacity, but I also understand the concerns about this individual case.”
Previously the Government had said that tolling the A14 would ensure the scheme went ahead as it would provide the additional funding needed to pay for the project.
It is unclear if local councils will continue to help fund the scheme. Huntingdonshire District Council has committed £5m to the upgrade, which would include a new Huntingdon bypass and the demolition of the viaduct by the railway station in Huntingdon.