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- Road-pricing set for 2003, says Mayor
LONDON drivers are just two years away from facing congestion charges.
Mayor Ken Livingstone has today launched his strategy report on the capital's transport which includes firm plans for a UKP5 fee for motorists entering central London.
"It is impossible to develop transport within central London substantially on the basis of the private car," the report said, concluding that congestion charging offered the way forward both as a means of relieving clogged up roads and as a way to raise cash with which to fund public transport schemes.
Other highlights of the report include a big investment in buses, with 26 new routes planned, as well as a restatement of Mayoral commitment to a number of Tube and rail projects.
It seems like plans for Crossrail, the Hackney-Wimbledon link and Thameslink 2000 have been on the drawing board since Roman times, but Livingstone's rehash of the proposals in his report could be read as yet another negotiating ploy with the government over Tube privatisation.
The Mayor has placed key transport ally Bob Kiley in charge of the capital's transport strategy, the same man currently trying to hammer out a deal over future Underground financing. Perhaps we will see Kiley give way to the government over privatisation in return for a cast-iron assurance from ministers over the big rail projects.