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VOTE: Halton residents to get free journeys over new bridge
8:08am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
RESIDENTS in Widnes and Runcorn will pay £10 a year to get 300 journeys over the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and the current Silver Jubilee Bridge when tolls are introduced in 2017.
The scheme was approved at a full council meeting by Halton Council on Wednesday.
It means residents will avoid paying the £2 each way charge every time they make the crossing.
But they will have to register for the free trips - at a cost of £10.
The free trips will be capped at 25 per month.
Clr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Council said: “We have lobbied hard for no tolls on the new bridge and on the Silver Jubilee Bridge, but Government are clear – no tolls, no bridge – we all know a new bridge is desperately needed.
"We must now all accept, however painful, that tolls on Mersey Gateway and Silver Jubilee Bridge are a given and get on with the building phase without further delay and uncertainty.
"However, as we committed from the outset, we have spent many months looking for the best local user discount scheme we can get for Halton residents.
"The discount scheme has to be affordable from within the project and comply with the legal powers in the Tolling Orders approved by the Inspector at the Planning Inquiry, and Government have also limited Halton when it comes to the amount we can spend on discounts.
"However, the Mersey Gateway procurement process has delivered savings and I am pleased to report the council has agreed to use these savings to give Halton residents a better discount scheme than we could have given under the Government’s tight financial restrictions.
"I hope this demonstrates the commitment of the Council to reducing the burden of tolling on Halton’s residents.
"We will continue to press the Government to maximise the re-investment of any extra toll income to ensure that Halton residents get the best deal possible.”
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