DRIVERS coming into Glasgow from wealthy suburbs could face a congestion charge under plans being discussed by council chiefs.
City council deputy leader Ricky Bell said discussions had already taken place with the Scottish Government about the measure.
And he said only fair people who drive to Glasgow and use the services “for free” should contribute to the life of the city.
He said it was becoming increasingly difficult to balance the books.
A measure introduced in London reduced congestion by 30 percent and generated £591.7 million in the first three years.
Motorists from areas such as East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire who work in the town will be the main target group of the scheme. according to The Herald.
“There has been a lot of talk about a tourism tax and we need to think about it [and whether] “Our tourism industry is strong enough,” said the deputy chairman of the local council.
“Would you do that and then earmark the money to specifically spend it on downtown to make it look better?
“I don’t buy the argument that says this will stop people from traveling there, not if you’re spending money on a holiday abroad. The other is a real problem for us – but we are still at a very early stage.” of – should Glasgow impose a congestion charge?
“We have a lot of people who come to the city because they live in the suburbs and use our services.
“They pay all their council tax to other councils, and that’s great – but they pay nothing for the services they use here.”
“These are the types of discussions we are having with the Scottish Government.”
Mr Bell added that he believed the current economic crisis had shown that having 32 local authorities was “unsustainable”.
“I would be the first to support Glasgow becoming a proper city regional council,” he said.
“The injustice lies in the artificial boundaries created to make local government more attractive to one party.”
“I don’t think we are in a state where we can convince the government to change the border.
“If we can’t get that, can we then impose a congestion charge, which tells people who live outside Glasgow but come into Glasgow all the time that they have to contribute to all the services that Glasgow offers, that they are free Join for free.”
The Glasgow-born councilor said he felt strongly when people criticized the city.
He said: “I have lived in my current house for 27 years and I will be leaving it in a box. I have a huge passion for Glasgow.”
“I think this is the best city in the world. I keep telling Humza Yousaf that this should be the capital of an independent Scotland.”
“Criticize the administration as much as you want – that’s politics – but don’t criticize the city.”
Councilor Jon Molyneux, finance director for the Green council group, said a party amendment was passed on Thursday requiring the council to set up a cross-party revenue raising working group.
Mr Molyneux said: “Congestion pricing, parking charges, low emission zones and other tools have been used around the world for decades to reduce emissions, reduce congestion and raise money for vital services such as public transport.”
“It is absolutely right that we look at successes elsewhere and learn how we can use these tools to make our cities better, healthier places to live.”
Hisashi Kuboyama, representative of the Federation of Small Businesses in Glasgow, said a “thorough impact assessment” was needed to ensure businesses were not adversely affected by a congestion charge.
He said: “Scotland’s local authorities are under significant financial pressure and we understand that they need to consider all possible measures to generate additional revenue.”
“If introduced it could potentially have a negative impact on footfall and commerce in the city center and therefore small businesses – so they need to be consulted on this.”
Neil Greig, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the problem with measures aimed at discouraging car use was that there was “no trust” between motorists and local governments over how congestion charging revenue would be spent.
He said: “Parking charges are earmarked for transport, but I can’t think of a single Glasgow City Council initiative that you could point to and say drivers’ money was used for the benefit of drivers.”
“They can’t even fix potholes or pick up trash downtown, let alone run a high-tech toll system.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that Glasgow City Council is also looking at a possible charging scheme “for non-Glaswegians” to enter the city’s museums and galleries, most of which are currently free.
It is 20 years since London introduced a congestion charge to reduce the number of private vehicles entering the city. This was a forerunner of the environmental zone (LEZ), which was expanded to all districts.
In the first year, the number of people who entered the toll zone by bus during charging times increased by 37 percent.
By 2006, this measure had reduced congestion in central London by 26 percent compared to 2002.
Charging hours in London are from 7am to 6pm and the standard charge is £15, while buses, taxis, electric vehicles and certain cars are exempt.
Glasgow’s low emission zone came into effect in the city center on June 1, banning older, more polluting cars entirely. A model that is being replicated in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.
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