Feb 5 2014 By Alan Weston
DRIVERS using the Mersey tunnels are facing a fresh 10p hike in tolls.
Merseytravel is recommending a 10p increase for car journeys from £1.60 to £1.70 when members meet to decide the new toll on Thursday.
It is the second consecutive year in which tolls for drivers using the Birkenhead and Wallasey tunnels have risen.
If approved, the new toll will become effective on April 1.
In addition, members will be asked to approve a rise on the Fast Tag toll, taking it up by 10p to £1.40 for cars, while increases are also being proposed for other classes of vehicles.
Merseytravel said the proposed new toll for car journeys was 10p less than the “authorised” rise under the tolling mechanism, in which tolls should rise in line with inflation.
Under this measurement, tolls would have gone up by 20p to £1.80.
Merseytravel said the 10p “discount” was at the discretion of elected members who could take into account economic and social factors should there be overriding need.
A Merseytravel spokeswoman said: “In taking a decision members will be considering a number of factors. Primarily it is about ensuring there is enough to operate, maintain and invest in the tunnels, including there being a satisfactory buffer should unplanned emergency work be necessary.
“The role any surplus funds have in supporting wider transport infrastructure and the wider economic climate will all be taken into account.”
The two tunnels transport 37m people a year between Liverpool and Wirral.
With current toll prices at £1.60, the system generates a surplus of £5m-£7m each year after maintenance, capital costs and debt payments are accounted for.
But Merseytravel said that money was not profit and was used for key transport projects across the region.