GREEN PAPER'S DEATH KNELL
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by CM reporter
and say that it is not a basis for a socialist approach to transport.
And the group is particularly scathing in its comments on the road v rail argument.
"The document does not acknowledge, by any means adequately, the different ways of costing road and rail, which are unfair to rail."
It was clear that there was a hidden subsidy to freight lorries and this was to the grave disadvantage of rail freight.
In other countries this was made up in two ways – heavier taxation on lorries and substantial grants to the railways.
But in the group's view a long-term subsidy to rail freight "is not less justifiable than the hidden subsidy to freight". It would be unreasonable to phase out the rail subsidy before the level of tax on heavy lorries had been increased to meet their full share of the track costs.
The MPs rejected as "misleading" the suggestion that even if all freight movements of more than 100 miles were transferred to rail, total road traffic would only fall by two to four per cent.
"It is misleading because it fails to compare like with like. Total road traffic refers to milk floats and passenger vehicles as well."
The group questioned the idea that until recently goods vehicles contributed more than their track costs. Green Paper figures did not take ir account tax rebates, and ma direct costs such as polici and damage to buildings.
On public transport the 11/1 challenged the proposals transfer the subsidy from r to bus on the grounds equity. "We believe that and bus are complementl and both need subsidy as bc suffer from competition w the private car.
"A rail traveller is m( likely to use public transp on the road at the beginni and end of his journey tt the motorist."