West Midland Combined Authority says plans should generate 'economic benefits of at least £1.2bn'
The West Midlands Combined Authority still hopes to scrap the M6 Toll to cut congestion despite recent setbacks, Birmingham Mail reported.
It had hoped to purchase free access for motorists for £15 million as part of a devolution deal, but no agreement was forthcoming with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
An estimated 200,000 vehicles pass through Spaghetti Junction on the M6 every day – making it highly congested - while the 27 mile M6 Toll only serves about 50,000.
Robert Alden, Leader of the Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council, said having an underused route while traffic is at a standstill nearby is "crazy".
The M6 Toll has been a bone of contention for some time. In March 2015, Shropshire and Staffordshire UKIP members congregated on a bridge that spans the route as part of its “Day of Action” championing the eradication of all toll roads.
They displayed banners and claimed drivers were “enthusiastically honking their horns to back our campaign.” Members included Jill Seymour MEP – the Party's Transport spokesperson - who was fighting for the Wrekin Seat in the General Election.
Motorists 'deserve free access'
She said motorists already pay enough tax and deserve free access to the entire transport network.
“Charging to use our busiest motorways or trunk roads is adding insult to injury to the already over-burdened British driver”, she argued.
She added: “UKIP is opposed to this highway robbery. We want to block the introduction of any new toll roads and work towards removing existing tolls from publicly owned roads. The taxes we already pay as road users should be more than enough to afford the best road network in the world. Putting road tolls on top of the fuel tax, excise duty and VAT which we already pay is simply wrong. The government has to realise that motorists are not just a cash-cow”.
The M6 Toll starts at Junction 3A, runs throughout the North East of the West Midlands, then rejoins the M6 at Junction 11A.
It opened in December 2003 and is operated by Midland Expressway Limited that considers it: “The easiest and most reliable route” through the Midlands.
Charges vary based on the type of vehicle, the day of the week and time of day. The cost for a motorcycle – on a weekday between 06:00 and 23:00 – is £3, for example. A car costs £5.50, a car and trailer £10.00; and an HGV, van or coach £11.00. Travelling through the night or at the weekend is slightly cheaper.