The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) wants road user charging to be considered as a way of funding infrastructure improvements in London.
According to ICE, if London is to remain a leading world city, the next Mayor must be “radical and innovative” in finding ways to pay for the £1.3 trillion investment needed in the capital’s infrastructure by 2050.
In its Manifesto for London Infrastructure – which sets out 10 recommendations for the future Mayor and Assembly - the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London said the 2050 London Infrastructure Plan had set out a roadmap for London’s infrastructure and urged all Mayoral candidates to commit to it. But it raised concerns that the transport, energy, water and waste projects required come at a cost well beyond that which the Government can fund. It called for a new approach to funding to ensure the capital gets the infrastructure it needs.
ICE London recommended the creation of an “Infrastructure Trust”, similar to the model proving successful in Chicago, to establish a range of innovative methods to fund and finance infrastructure. It also suggested control over vehicle taxes is devolved to the GLA to be spent on road maintenance. And it called for a “complete review” of road user charges in London, to ascertain if and where further charging zones or tolls need to be implemented in the future.
From 2004-2014, £1.2 billion in revenue was generated by the London Congestion Charge and invested back into the capital’s transport. Congestion was also reduced by 30% a year after its introduction.
Suzanne Moroney, ICE London director, said: “Tackling the core challenges of population growth and climate change, and retaining London’s position as a leading global city, requires long-term commitment to its infrastructure. But this comes at a cost and £1.3 trillion over the next 35 years is a significant and challenging target.
“Our industry, innovators and academics have a responsibility to help drive down costs through use of emerging technologies, but the next Mayor must also be innovative and radical when it comes to securing new funding sources.
“We must also open up the ‘user pays’ debate - a principle that is adopted across most infrastructure through utility bills and transport fares. Road user charging is a means of allowing a payback income stream for infrastructure investments, and when combined with effective management tools and technology, schemes can also help to reduce traffic and vehicle use.
“We would like to see a review of road user charging conducted by the next Mayor to assess whether new charging zones or tolls are required, and how any future schemes could increase revenue for future transport projects. We look forward to working with the Mayor and Assembly to ensure London’s continued prosperity and growth.”
ICE London’s 10 recommendations for London’s next Mayor and London Assembly:
1) Commit to the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 and set out a clear prioritisation strategy within 6 months of entering City Hall.
2) Support the Government’s final decision on the 2015 Airports Commission Report.
3) Create a Regional Forum for authorities from London and the South East to discuss key infrastructure issues.
4) Develop a “London Resilience Plan 2050” mapping out how the capital will adapt to long term climate changes and environmental disasters.
5) Improve energy efficiency and increase local energy generation.
6) Expand STEM in the London Curriculum and the London Schools Excellence Fund.
7) Launch a skills campaign to increase the number of qualified civil engineers in London.
8) Focus Transport for London’s investment to unlock areas for housing, jobs and investment in the capital.
9) Harness different funding and finance methods to pay for London’s infrastructure.
10) Review road user charges with the revenue generated directed to infrastructure improvements.