MERSEYTRAVEL has denied any plans exist to increase tunnel tolls.
The authority, which sets Mersey tunnel prices, has a legal right to raise tolls to £1.70 for cars next year under an inflation-linked formula.
The transport authority currently has the option to charge £1.60 for journeys – known as the authorised toll.
Instead it has in place a discounted “actual toll” of £1.50, set last April when Merseytravel’s chairman Cllr Mark Dowd used his casting vote to push through a 10p rise.
A full meeting of Merseytravel councillors will next month decide whether a similar discount scheme will remain.
A Merseytravel spokesman said reports that tunnel tolls were set for a new hike were “misleading” because a report for February’s meeting of the integrated transport authority was yet to be finalised.
The report was based on a discussion document to the authority’s tunnels, ferries and visitor economy committee, which met last week.
The document outlined the legal possibilities but did not recommend an increase in tolls.
Merseytravel also conceded price rises would not be welcomed by tunnel users.
The document warned tunnel traffic was forecast to fall by 2.7% by the end of this financial year – a trend which was likely to continue.
Merseytravel also sees toll cash as a “valuable source of funding” for other transport projects after a cull in central government funding.
In the report, customer services director Frank Rogers told councillors: “There are significant reputational and financial risks associated with the authority’s toll-setting process.”
The full authority will set next year’s tolls at a meeting in February.
Campaigners said any increases would be regarded as “another tax on the motorist”.