Local Liberal Democrats have slammed the broken promise over tolls for Warrington residents using the new Mersey Gateway bridge due to open later this year.
Group Leader Cllr Bob Barr says, “The Mersey Gateway bridge at Runcorn is a modern wonder of civil engineering and it will add much needed capacity to cross the Mersey. However, it comes at a very high price for Warrington residents, as the Liberal Democrats warned when the Labour government was planning the project. Andrew Adonis, the Labour minister at the time, wanted an “iconic” crossing, even though engineers warned of the high cost and suggested possible cheaper alternatives.
Labour now claim that they didn’t “spend too much” before the banks crashed. They were using the discredited Private Finance Initiative to raise money from the private market to disguise the level of public spending commitments. This is an expensive way of borrowing. Combined with the wish to build a very ambitious bridge, the cost and the tolls required to fund it, rose. It will now cost Warrington residents or workers who need to commute across the Mersey £1080 a year to use the bridge” – yet Labour seek to throw all the blame on the Coalition and Conservative governments.”
Lib Dem Transport spokesperson, Cllr Brian Axcell adds, “David Mowat MP, made an unwise promise about the tolls and arrived with a ‘peace in our time’ worthless promise from George Osborne, the then Chancellor, in support of his successful bid to become Warrington’s MP. Liberal Democrats know about the heavy price politicians pay for finding they can’t deliver their promises. No doubt David Mowat now fears having to pay a similar price.
“It is hard to see a good outcome for Warrington. Our roads cannot take the additional traffic load, even if we do get a new bridge in the town. Those needing to use the bridge will find themselves substantially worse off. We know from the sparse traffic on the M6 Toll how the public reacts to tolls that are deemed to be too high. They vote with their wheels and use another route. That route will be through Warrington. David Mowat and Helen Jones need to work together and support Warrington to see if they can get the tolling decision reversed.”