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Lie, smear, scare

Jim Mackrell of Unison responds to Graham Stringer’s destruction of the TIF bid’s referendum plans

Published on November 11th 2008.


Lie, smear, scare

The debate about the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) was always going to be passionate. The introduction of £3 billion investment paid for by a targeted peak time charging regime has, rightly, raised passions on both sides of the debate.

Graham Stringer’s article (click here) is typical of the way those opposed to TIF have been conducting themselves. Graham crossed a line here.

It’s a line the anti-TIF people have been teetering along precariously for several weeks.

It started with the farce over the Referendum ballot. “There’s no reference to the congestion charge”, they screamed. “It’s a fiddle,” they cried. Some even went so far as to demand the entire Referendum should be “scrapped”.

The truth?

When you get your ballot paper it will say:

‘Please read the leaflet enclosed with the ballot paper, which provides details of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposal. This involves both major investment in public transport improvements in Greater Manchester and a weekday, peak-time only congestion charge scheme. Congestion charging would only be introduced after 80 per cent of public transport improvements are in place, and not before the summer of 2013. Do you agree with the TIF proposal?’

You be the judge. Is that wording biased? A fiddle? Grounds for scrapping the votes of 1.8 million residents of Greater Manchester?

Then we moved from the question to the publication of the final package. More conspiracy. No one knows what’s in it. The truth’s being hidden.

What’s being hidden? The No Campaign’ can’t say.

Who is it being hidden from? “Councillors,” alleges the No Campaign. Er, would that be the Councillors who voted last week to approve the package and present it to the people of Greater Manchester for approval? Ah, but they’re just “mushrooms” claim the No Campaign. They are being kept in the dark.

Who else then?

“The Returning Officer”, say the antis. Hang on a minute, I thought the Returning Officer was supposed to be part of the Great Conspiracy? Isn’t he the man who according to Graham Stringer, ‘took advice only from the promoters of the scheme?’ Odd, given that Graham himself was consulted.

“The Voters”, cry the antis. But hold on, it’s the No Campaign that’s running about saying scrap the referendum, don’t let the people have their say. It’s the No Campaign that’s fought against the publication of every piece of public information produced by the Passenger Transport Executive. It’s the No Campaign that tried to halt public meetings being held as part of the official consultation process.

The debate we are engaged in is one of the most vital conducted in Greater Manchester for decades. It involves tens of thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of investment, the regeneration of our entire Region.

And yet we have supposedly serious figures running around screaming, “conspiracy”, “fiddle”, “propaganda”, “secrecy”. This is not mature, reasoned discourse. This is the political equivalent of howling at the moon.

What are we going to get next from the No Campaign? Traffic lights being fixed to artificially increase congestion? Fake road works? Come to think of it, wasn’t that the Returning Officer I spotted on the Grassy Knoll?

The truth is that the No Campaign is losing the debate. And instead of attempting to engage on the issues, they are resorting to the tried and tested tactics of every losing campaign, lie, smear, scare. The Sarah Palin playbook being run fast and loose here in Greater Manchester.

Most disgusting of all is the way that elected politicians are resorting to attacks on officials and civil servants to promote their failing cause. The attacks on Sir Neil McIntosh, an independent public servant of unimpeachable integrity, are particularly despicable.

A man whose appointment was endorsed by politicians of every persuasion, who presided over the Devolution Referendum in Scotland without complaint, and who received not a word of criticism when he presented his proposals to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, is having his character assaulted on a daily basis simply because those who would have you vote no have run out of reasons why you should.

When Sir Neil leaves our region at the end of this process, what message will he carry about how we in Greater Manchester conduct ourselves? What will he say about our senior politicians, and the level at which they deport themselves in debate?

Passion is all too often lacking in modern politics. But passion cannot explain or excuse the gutter politics that have come to define the No Campaign over the past few weeks.

According to Graham Stringer, “the plain truth about the Congestion Charge is nobody knows the truth”.

The plain truth about the No Campaign is they can’t handle the truth. Because they know the truth is what will stand between them and victory come polling day.

For photos, thanks to N.Higham at http://manchester/index.htm

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186 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

RobynNovember 11th 2008.

I find it dsigraceful that the public have never been fully informed of the implications that will arise from the congestion charge, they have only had "Vote Yes" advertisements forced upon them. I also find it unbelieveable that the people such a charge will actually affect are not even being given the opportunity to vote - Not everyone who works in Manchester lives in Manchester. The majority of people who commute into Manchester, do so as they have no choice - Their job is based there and the area in which they live has no form of public transport into Manchester. Many people, whether living in Manchester or not, also have no choice but to use a car due to the nature of their work. Should these people really be penalised so heavily simply for trying to earn an honest living? My final point is the extent of the proposed congestion charge zone. This would be almost 3 times wider than the area covered by the London congestion charge - No-one can honestly say that Manchester suffers worse congestion than London...a preposterous notion! If the Local Authority needs to improve their financial viability, maybe they should look at how each of their Departments are run - Any commercial company operating in the way public bodies do, would be in administration in no time. The Council needs to look at themselves before looking to the hard working population to bail them out yet again.

mark mNovember 11th 2008.

Marmite is a good spread on carrot cake too

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Well done Regen for making an attempt at answering the main issues. Kevin Peel could take note and debate in a mature way. I'll go through point by point: i) The GMfuture transport website and brochure is misleading in this case. It's all very well to note trips within the zones are charge free but the annual GMTU stats along with nationsl stats give the figures entering the two zones. It's clear that with the published charge rates being £1, £2, £1, and £1 - THE REVENUE WILL NOT REACH THE £696,000 PER DAY NEEDED to meet the forcast figure. If it fails to achieve sufficient revenue, COUNCIL TAX WILL RISE. It simple and cuts to the very core of the proposals. If council tax does not go up, the council goes bust and Dicky Leese will go down in history with the likes of Deggsy Hatton or Dan T Smith.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

They dont answer the questions do they.. that kevin peel never responded to a lot of the qustions. thats becouse he dose not have the answers. the point is that people like kevin are being paid by companys like stagecoach, first & others will benifit! to try and get this thing in. it's just about money... look how much more proffit there going to make one the public pay to expand there network! you (stagecoach and many others) have been making all that money for all those years. Where is your contribution? Stop thinking about yourselfs & realise that this is not the best for us! vote no...

mark mNovember 11th 2008.

following a previous mancon story re the arab isreali war, can we solve the problem of Ccharge with Marmite?

DescartesNovember 11th 2008.

I don't know what I think, but there's definitely something fishy going on here

Niet PravdaNovember 11th 2008.

Jim Mackrell asks:"What’s being hidden? The No Campaign’ can’t say."Because they aren't the ones hiding it - or hiding behind "commercial confidentiality". Anyone any ideas about how taking £2.4 billlon out of the local peoples pockets to pay back the loan will impact on local business?

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

ii) The cost of employment will rise, you have people coming to work and they are paid a wage. People demand wages in line with their cost of living. Either you expect employees to take teh £1300 cost on the chin and forsake other spending or you expect them to look for more wages. As the unions will tell you, every year, their members will expect a wage increase to meet with the risong cost of living. The simple FACT is, to keep employees in the same position as they are now, the employer will pick up a cost of £2064 or £2900 for higher rate tax payers. Ehat is an employer going to do? He'll either decide the employee is worth it or lay them off or move. I'll tell you, most businesses have very fine margins, we can't afford this. It will be devastating. This is the real world, we aren;t just competeing with other Mancunian business (in fact, we try not to) we are competing on a global stage. Leeds, Brum, Newcastle, Dussledorf, Warsaw, Quindao etc are not increasing employment costs, MANCHESTER IS THREATENING IT. Businesses will go elsewhere. The country cannot survive on the public sector, the public sector is for people who can't get a real job. Destroy private sector employment and you have nothing.

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Champion, Welcome to the debate. that is a bold statement, I'd ask you a simple question or two: why will there be a congestion charge sooner rather than later?Why will there be gridlock when the trend is a 9% fall in traffic numbers in the city over the last 10 years?It's not intelligent to not look at the impact of the costs or ignore the rather important arithmetical errors.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

You also neglect to factor in the public transport improvements and the proposed fare cap and new pricing system all of which should make your journey more convenient and more affordable.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

"iv) Even the improvements in bus numbers, trains etc that appear to be part of TIF have been taking place over the past 10 years without the need for a crippling loan."INCORRECT. Another unsubstantiated, unquantified, misleading statement.

emma graceNovember 11th 2008.

likewise thank you :D

Alf GledhillaNovember 11th 2008.

This mans remarks sound fishy to me so it`s a definite NO

M MouldingNovember 11th 2008.

Quite right Dan, I don't mind paying a little more for an easy drive into town without have to share a road with riff raff from the estates. Price the riff raff out, it worked with the football.vote YES

JMCNovember 11th 2008.

I CHALLENGE THE COUNCIL TO RELEASE THE 10 CHAPTER DOCUMENT THAT SEEMS TO BE SUCH A BIG SECRET BEFORE THE REFERENDUM. UNTIL THAT HAPPENS I'LL VOTE NO

philNovember 11th 2008.

Hi again regen08You say I´m neglecting to factor in the public transport improvements and the proposed fare cap and new pricing system all of which should make my journey more convenient and more affordable.”The improvements to public transport in my area will involve putting in a tram service which will be dearer than the current bus service and a consequent reduction in the already frequent bus service. So more expensive tram or less frequent ¨capped¨ bus - how much d´you reckon they´ll knock the fare down by then - to beat my example, they´ll have to reduce fares on a Sunday by 57% to make it equivalent to the car journey and more than that to make it worth taking the bus - what are the odds of that then? - or doesn´t that count cos it´s a Sunday?

MichelleNovember 11th 2008.

I know the person who wrote this article and he works for the Council and is a UNISON (fully council paid) full time official. Hmmmm I wonder if he is any way biased.....?

JoseNovember 11th 2008.

Sorry, but until there is somebody who tells me that buses and trams will come down in price for EVERYBODY, so a bus ride from town to Levenshulme costs, lets say, one pound, I don't think I want to invest in this system. I don't drive, but I feel the only honest way forward to improve public transport is certainly to make it public.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin – it is the only publicly owned airport group for a reason. As for the revenue raised, last year Manchester City Council gained £9m – but spent over £27m ON the airport (or rather on the airports that aren’t in Manchester), so they made a net loss – which COSTS the taxpayer. MAGs predicted revenues for this and next year will mean that all 11 councils that own MAG will receive less than £1m. Another of your well thought out plans that you have shown utter ignorance about. So…. Have you got another reason not to sell the airport (or even just sell the non-north-west airports) to fund the public transport improvements?? Or is the tax payer to easy a target??

Unbiased observerNovember 11th 2008.

Quote:"Regen08 says..“ Unbiased observer - you are mistaken. Metolink 3a is grant, not loan funded.”Page thirteen of Lucy Chadwicks (of the DfT's (TIF acceptance))letter to messers Smith and Bernstien of the 9th June 2008 will prove you wrong.(Greater Manchester TIF-Annual Profiles in annexe A)

Taxin' JohnNovember 11th 2008.

I've just finished reading it now and all Jim Mackrell seems to say is Vote Yes. Because there's nothing else? No alternative?

KLeeNovember 11th 2008.

Great arguments Jim. One minor point, please don't confuse Graham Stringer with a senior politician, GS seems to have determined to oppose most things being done in Greater Manchester and indeed by his own Govt since h was sac from his Ministerial role. I have no problem attacking an elected politician, especially one that thinks it ok to attack civil servants and officials who cannot answer back for themselves.You are right that the lies, smears and distortions are coming from the No campaign, precisely because they have no principled arguments against the TIF plans. Having called for a referendum they are now back-tracking only because it does not ask a simple question just about the conjestion charge, the reality is the CC is just one element of a huge transport package - all of which should be voted upon, not just the part that the No campaigners want.Information will be provided to all voters, just the same as in any election by candidates, it is up to voters to inform themselves of the policies/proposals that they are being asked to vote on.The truth is, the No camp have campaigned on just one element, albeit and important one, of the TIF bid and they have resoundingly lost the argument. They are now resorting to technical issues and will no doubt question the entire validity of the referendum - having called for it in the first place - when the good people of Greater Manchester vote YES for our future.

TonyNovember 11th 2008.

Funny tho....

redbullNovember 11th 2008.

this scheme will cost afortune to run and it won't make much money back.please look at this link and judge peoples reaction for www.maptube.org/map.aspx…;

Alf TupperNovember 11th 2008.

When the first paragragh starts: "The introduction of £3 billion investment paid for by a targeted... " I doubt the quality of the argument. Take £600million contingency, £320 million to set the charging infrastucture and £220 million non capital costs out of the £2.7 billion and three billion quid is a long way away.

Chris PaulNovember 11th 2008.

I'll certainly be voting yes myself. And urging others to do so. There is a move to limit passenger transport fares, there are moves to regulate them (sadly without formal re-regulation but voluntary agreements are better than nowt), AND there is a plan for an oyster style discount card that might bring fares down to a squid a shot as in London. What's more the charges are utterly avoidable by time shifting and the evidence from other places is that those whose time or timeliness is at a premium will be very happy to pay the charge and actually save money. Illustration: I am a lawyer. My time is charged out at £300 an hour. I am actually paid £40 an hour. I only have to add ten minutes to my working day to be quids in even if I am maxxing the scheme. And from my firm's point of view it takes just one extra charged out minute to make a profit on the deal. On the other hand if I am a cleaner or a typist in the pool at this lawyers I'll be glad to have a better, cheaper bus ride and nothing to pay. And to have better air quality etc too. My views on Peel deal are : 1. Their opposition is largely personal from their big boss because none of us bow and scrape enough to the main man; 2. And insofar as they are worried on the business case about free parking at their car parks as part of park and ride this issue could be resolved by a negotiation looking at a refund for parkers there, diverted to or shared with Peel. There is not a much of a capacity issue there M-F in office hours anyway.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

It is fine saying the majority of people will be able to work around the times so that they do not have to pay the congestion charge, but working from 8.30am until 5.00pm and having children to take to a child minder and collect after work there is no way around having to pay the charge as I am sure there are a lot of working mothers like myself who would have to have the added cost of the charge. There is no way I could not get the children to the child minders and get myself to work by using public transport I would end up travelling at least 2 hours extra every day this would then mean extra cost of child care before and after school and seeing less of our children. How can the council say that we will all be better off a lot of people can only just manage now so to expect everyone to pay more (again !!!) where do they think this money will come from ??? you cannot expect employers to pay more to make up the difference what are the council and government going to do to help people cover this extra. It just seems that we are being taxed on everything (what is next tax on breathing) it seems that is the only thing at the moment we are not taxed on.

MartNovember 11th 2008.

There will always be dirty tricks and arguments where people's interests clash, unfortunately -- for the forseeable future anyway.I wouldn't vote yes to such a scheme, its too complex and the benefits to those using public transport aren't clear.Basically, if I owned an economical car which can manage 50MPG, like a modern diesel, I would be able to travel to the city from Swinton perhaps 5 times on that gallon costing £5.If I catch a return five times on a First Bus, that will will (last I was in Swinton, may be more now) cost me 12.50.And if I have a family I will pay a fortune on the bus AND have to wait in the cold or rain.Although one has to find parking, its not surprising that those having a car will often use it.Unless I'm reading this wholly wrong, the real problem is commercial businesses running public transport for healthy profits and not for the service of the public.I'm all for profit and business but transport, like any business has to provide decent service at a reasonable cost to the user; or people won't use it unless they have no other choice.

PaulNovember 11th 2008.

I am a UNISON member and I am utterly disgusted that this person Jim has used our union to express his personal views on an MP and on the tif bid. Who's name has he done this in? Did UNISON agree to this? I don't think they did. Also, anyone who works in the town hall knows that this person always tries to cuddle up to berstein and leese. Is he speaking for them I wonder? He is also paid for by the council.... Another good use of our taxpayers money. He does not speak for UNISON members

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin Peel. Can we have a pubic admitance of who you are? you did not respond to the questions about you working for the yes camp.. your being paid to write on this.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

Lisa D..to be fair those that are on the minimum wage or earn 15 k per year sureley cant affordthr unning cost of a car anyhow,let alone pay 12 quid a day to park in the city?

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

...Continued iii) Much of the improvements are to be made in any case without the TIF plan.iv) Even the improvements in bus numbers, trains etc that appear to be part of TIF have been taking place over the past 10 years without the need for a crippling loan.v) Traffic levels have fallen nearly 9% 1997-2007 within the M60, as has the city centre. If traffic speeds have slowed (as claimed) my logic suggests it’s not traffic levels causing this but something else. Would it not be cheaper to look at this something else?vi) Empirical evidence suggests the local economy is slowed by the Congestion charge; London’s C-charge zone fell behind similar city centre areas losing out by some 20% growth.vii) Following from point vi, Manchester has not got the robust economy to cope with such an economic shock.

Tram userNovember 11th 2008.

So I ask you this, If your voting in the general election and in the envolope with your voting slip you got a lot of propoganda saying why you should vote for one party and not the others would this be fair? No it would not! I strongly agree with the referendum but we should get both sides of the argument.. You can not deny that the gmpte and others have tried to tell us that without the TIF we will get nothing. LIES!!! KEVIN PEEL even lies above saying that very thing we will get nothing.

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Sorry for delay Regen08. I get £1.2 bn as the loan is £1.15bn but it's taken in tranches and there is a payment holiday where interest accrues but no repayment is made. The starting balance of the loan when the payments are due will be a bit over £1,200,000,000.As for repayments, the assumption in the brochure is 6%, a 1,200,000,000 loan at 6% needs a monthly revenue of around £7,100,000 (£7.1m) plus £14.41m for the profit element. I was being a little generous as I forgot to take off bank holidays etc. I'd say the daily revenue needs to be a little higher at £720,080.As for traffic figures, I just used national stats, GMTU annual surveys.

philNovember 11th 2008.

regen08 - the no campaigners aren´t saying congestion has reduced - you´re playing with words to prove your point - what they´re saying is that the number of vehicles on roads into the city has fallen. You´re right to say congestion has gone up - what they´re asking you to think about is how congestion can have risen when at the same time, the number of vehicles using those roads has fallen - answer is traffic schemes/traffic lights/bus lanes/road works causing more congestion than there should be to make it look like there´s congestion to support the introduction of the congestion charge!

Alf TupperNovember 11th 2008.

Regen08,Any chance of getting a butchers of Chapter 10 of the TIF Document?British Gas once did a model prior to North Sea gas coming ashore - It was too cheap to meter.The Central Electric Generating Board said Nuclear power was going to be given away at times of high output and low demand. The Millenium Dome: forcast visitors 12 million, actual 5,874,597

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

F**k it ,Im getting a boat in then!

emma graceNovember 11th 2008.

I've just done a rendition of "I vow to thee my country" for you on the bagpipes Scoteee...

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Dear "anonymous" - never let the facts get in the way of a good rant eh? From the GM Future Transport website www.gmfuturetransport.co.uk/…/HOW… WE'VE LISTENEDThe revised TIF package highlights the outcomes of the Public Consultation which was held between July 7 and October 10 2008.TIF BUS IMPROVEMENTSThese changes are in addition to the original TIF package which offer major enhancements to the bus network with more than a 10% increase on bus services including radial routes, extra buses running especially in the morning, evening and weekends; improvements in frequency and reliability at peak times resulting in a genuine alternative to the car.Fast 'Rapid Transit' high quality buses are also in the TIF package that would connect Leigh-Salford-Manchester, Bolton-Farnworth-Manchester and Didsbury-Manchester via the university.New bus stations at Altrincham, Bolton and adjacent to Salford Central with direct links to rail services and new bus stations in Manchester City Centre and Stockport. Furthermore a new coach station adjacent to Piccadilly train station in Manchester City Centre is planned as part of TIF.FARES AND TICKETING PROPOSALSNew smartcard tickets would allow pre-payment of fares on trains, trams and buses, similar to London's Oyster card. This simple pocket size card would help speed up journeys and make interchange easier between trams, trains and buses.RAIL SERVICESThe TIF rail element of the package is committed to deliver sufficient additional rail carriages to allow many more journeys to be made every day, providing for over 7,000 (through the Government's HLOS and TIF programmes combined) extra journeys in the three hour morning peak period.Improvements at 31 minor stations that would include new facilities; including shelters, seating, help points, CCTV, public address systems, passenger information, signage and other general refurbishment. As well as major Improvements to stations at Altrincham, Bolton, Hattersley, Rochdale, Salford Central and Manchester City Centre (Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road) with improved connections to buses where needed.These are in addition to a new station at White City in Trafford and funding towards the reconstruction of Salford Crescent station with two additional platforms, longer platforms and improved connections to buses.Further new platforms at Lostock station allowing services between Bolton and Wigan to use the station.PLANNED METROLINK IMPROVEMENTSThe Metrolink network is due to treble in size (as part of 3a and TIF 3b plans). Significant expansion of the tram network would bring 41 new stops, 20 miles of additional track capable of carrying 30,000 additional passengers in the 2.5 hour morning and evening peak periods, resulting in considerable increases in connectivity/accessibility across Greater Manchester.62 new trams would provide more seats on existing tram lines and new trams to service the new tram lines.Tram lines would run to new destinations; East Didsbury, Manchester Airport, Oldham and Rochdale town centres, Ashton-under-Lyne and an additional line across Manchester City Centre, to ensure robust frequencies across the fully expanded network. Funds are also available to connect Metrolink to Trafford Park and The Trafford Centre.The 41 new stops would have modern ticketing machines equipped for smartcard ticketing, and payment by debit/credit cards as well as cash and all the ticket machines at existing stops would be upgraded for smartcard use.Frequency of trams would be improved with services running every six to 12 minutes to enhance capacity at peak and services operating earlier from 6am to at least 11:30pm on Monday to Saturday.Finally, TIF would bring electronic real-time display boards at stops.CYCLINGThe TIF package already proposed a programme for cycling improvements with 125 miles of safe and convenient cycle routes, more than 2,500 extra cycle spaces at rail, bus and Metrolink stations and a bike hire scheme in Manchester city centre and Stockport town centre.PARK AND RIDEPark and ride plays an important role in encouraging people to switch from car to public transport and strong provision is to be made within the rail, Metrolink and bus networks. Metrolink Park and ride sites would be at Ashton Moss, Sale Water Park, Shaw and Crompton and close to the Trafford Centre.Park and ride would be extended at Atherton, Stalybridge, Rochdale, Mills Hill, Horwich Parkway, Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme, Hazel Grove, Romiley and Birchwood rail stations.Improvements for Passengers TIF would deliver significantly improved connections allowing people to change more easily between buses, trams and trains.Improved technology including real time electronic displays showing when the next tram, train or bus would arrive, CCTV help points and better lighting at stops and stations for bus, Metrolink and rail; improving safety and security.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

?

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

There are others pretending too. trying to make it sound like the general public are for it.. I have not met one person who dose not work in trasport or planning etc that is actually for it.

DigNovember 11th 2008.

Ha ha. Are you suggesting that I do?

Ari VerderchiNovember 11th 2008.

A congestion scheme which does not address congestion adequately which only assists privete transport companies should fail!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Corruption with a capital C. This is all about money.Just look at all those empty buses if you don't believe me.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

I vote NO nothing in this article changed my mind he didnt address the points made, can we see a detailed breakdown of costs and where all the money will be spent

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Actually I hate pina coladas. But I was in the Northern Quarter the other day and I discovered a new drink (well, new to me!) that I do really like - Sailor Jerry's Rum with Ginger Beer! Yum.

Alf TupperNovember 11th 2008.

Laura,As the buses are de-regulated there will be no "extra" buses on unprofitable routes - They only run with the subsidy provided by the AGMA, no subsidy - no bus. The AGMA cannot insist that buses run on a route, it is the bus operators who dictate where when and how. The only extra buses from the TIF are the Yellow school buses, which are highly dependent on subsidies - expensive to run and only operate in term time (190 days a year)

blulou23November 11th 2008.

Well said filthymick. There has been little information with regards to a 'no' campaign at all, whilst lots seems to have been spent on the 'yes' campaign (based on the 'I'm all right Jack' scenario it would seem from the posters, very community spirited). Of course people are going to think there is something to hide (or should do) when there is not a lot of sharing going on. The minute someone says something against the charge he/she is shouted down - and with nothing more than personal slurs it would appear. It'll take more than that to convince me, unfortunately I feel that many people may vote yes based on the posters and little else.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Like your argument Chris, the poor have to make do with public transport - can tell you have not been on a bus for a while (dirty, noisy, standing room only once they have left the suburbs....I could go on and bore you even more). The alleged improvements to buses are still to make a profit not provide a public service.The city centre roads will be clear of congestion for the weathly lawyers and others on £300 an hour. Pricing poor off the roads so the rich can don't have to suffer congestion. deffo voting no now

Roy OdhamNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin Peel wrote:..." and work for a charity in Tameside".Thats no way to talk about Tameside Council!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

An independant survey by Stark Brooks (Recruitment firm) showed that 76% of people WOULD be put off working in Manchester if the charge came in.!!

LOuNovember 11th 2008.

I want to know where all these extra buses plan to go? I commute and it took my bus 20 mins to get out of piccadilly gardens a couple of days ago. It took me two hours to get home. I am voting NO and buying a car.And it might not be the 3 Billion, but if you add up the hundreds of thousands spent on consultation, plus the money spent on those awful advertisments you could make some improvements to the transport sytem without costing the public anything extra!

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

....... Continued viii) Improvements in items like bus stops (err interchanges to be right on) have been funded by private developers without the need to go to the tax payer. Examples are seen in this region as well as across the country, why not continue this strategy?ix) Any shortfall in revenues or overspend will cost the council tax-payer money.x) PT usage has risen 30-40% in Manchester since 1997, it’s obvious the commuter (bearing in mind point v) is migrating to PT where possible anyway so why the need of a Con charge to “encourage road users off the road”.xi) When I spoke to a few KPMG chaps about their research, the implication is that the ‘client gets what the client wants’ when it comes to backing up the TIF plan. There are more points which are no doubt better made elsewhere but as far as I can see, the yes men have not come up with any answers. all we have from them is a poster campaign of ugly people who selfishly say they'll vote yes because it wont cost them anything. Why are ugly people always selfish and thick?

jenNovember 11th 2008.

I thought I knew what I was voting, now I have read all of the comments on Man Conf I am very unsure and realise lacking in knowlegde. Thanks for opening up my own personal debate and forcing me to consider everything. I will read more about this and get back to you!

mark mNovember 11th 2008.

alti interchange and surround about to be totally redeveloped. u not seen the plans????

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

So the reason for not selling the airport is because (manchester based) Peel Group might buy it?? NOW the real reson becomes clear. Its Dick Leese's personal vendetta that is behind screwing over the people of the north-west!!

Richard HudsonNovember 11th 2008.

I think he protests too much with little substance.Interesting that in these comments not one of the substantive points Graham Stringer made about traffic levels, the tram extensions going ahead anyway, the management of the bus network etc have been challenged.All the comments appear to be bitching about the No campaign and their tactics. The No campaign has targetted facts, the Yes campaign the people.But then I suppose the No campaign didn't get millions of pounds for advertising around Manchester, so they're left to being attacked on an individual level.What I want to know is - what exactly WILL happen if we vote NO?

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Future Transport - so the reason for discounting selling the airport is a personal vendetta AND because it was someone else idea?? It is rocket science for the council.. They have a £3bn 'asset' that costs the tax payers several millions per year. The want £3bn to improve transport. Peel might have pointed out the obvious - but obvious it is!! And before to denegrade Peel any further - it must be pointed out that John Whittaker is one of the most visionary business leaders in the country. If UK Plc had done as well as his business, we would have no financial issues whatsoever.

Alf TupperNovember 11th 2008.

Here's one from the GMTU 1390 report - 2007 page 4 of pdf : "Since 1993 traffic flows on A and B roads in Manchester has DECREASED by 11% compared to an 2% Increase in Greater Manchester and a 4% increase nationally."Just to repeat that is 11 percent reduction - which is in fact around the same percentage of Yes group that inflate the true £2.7bn bid upto imaginary £3 billion

Regen08November 11th 2008.

x) PT usage has risen 30-40%; in Manchester since 1997, it’s obvious the commuter (bearing in mind point v) is migrating to PT where possible anyway so why the need of a Con charge to “encourage road users off the road”. MISLEADING - The point of the c-charge is not to encourage road users off the road, it is principally about accessing a pot of funding to provide a step-change improvement in the city-region's transport infrastructure and in doing so provide a viable alternative to the car in many instances. Some modes of transport such as Metrolink has seen enormous growth in demand to the extent that it is so popular it is uncomfortable and desperately needs investment. Some bus routes remain popular but long term trends are for a decline in bus use outside of london. Too many communities remain poorly connected to employment, leisure and retail centres and the whole system is in many cases not very well integrated.If people vote 'no' they are voting against the potential to achieve a world class transport infrastructure, they are voting against the biggest single investment in transport in generations, they are voting against giving manchester, its citizens and businesses a sustained, long term competetive adavantage. The implicatinos of a 'no' vote are far reaching and long term. The 'no' campaign do NOT have a viable, feasible and costed alternative and are selling the city down the river. Their campaign relised on lies, smear and scare tactics and they are doing every person in Greater Manchester an enormous dis-service. VOTE YES!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

No. I don't think the congestion charge / TIF package is not designed to end all congestion forever. That would be unrealistic. It is about improving conditions for road users, improving public transport, improving the environment, safeguarding and stimulating economic growth, promoting social inclusion and putting Greater Manchester at a considerable competitive advantage to competing locations.

WonderingNovember 11th 2008.

The train service is in no fit state, to introduce the a congestion charge. It is already struggling with commuters having to drive in due to the poor service. Is this congestion charge going to put people off getting jobs in Manchester city centre?

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

My vote is a personal stamp and acknowledgement of my freedom, If you want MY vote, YOU should earn the right to it, not force me to use it by underhand tactics and propaganda. If you offer all the available information to the people who ask for it, and allow them to judge for themselves you will see what people really want and they can only blame themselves or pat themselves on the back with the outcome. If what you believe in is so beneficial to us all, then we will all vote accordingly and none of us has anything to worry about... (now rubbing off my blue face paint and the Kilts in the wash)!!!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Hi Phil - A new tram line is no panacea however to everyone's transport needs (neither is a new road) however it would provide a viable alternative to many car journeys being made down that road. Investment in infrastructure of the sort proposed by the congestion charge / TIF proposals will substantially improve businesses' access to the labour market (one of the key determinants for private investment and business growth), it will improve access to markets for the goods and services businesses produce and it improves circulation and transformation of ideas and knowledge ('clustering') thereby driving productity by reducing the effective distances between individuals. There is a detailed appraisal of different benefits for business on the GMPTA website (a substantial FOI request document) and of course on the gmfuturetransport.com website.

train user who can't afford the tramNovember 11th 2008.

I have asked many Manchester councillors if the C tax is not raised, will the council tax payers of Manchester be footing the bill and not one of them seems to know the answer. Stange that? I wrote to Graham Stringer and was given an answer. The deal is even worse than he describes. The deal on offer does nothing to regulate the buses, and should provide lots of profit for the privatised transport. Why did the TIF bid not include publicly owned transport? Is there a cap of fares? Why did Unison not look at reducing congestion by campaigning for REAL flexible working patterns for those employed in the public sector? And will Unison support those who lose their jobs as shoppers go elsewhere?

redbullNovember 11th 2008.

I only need ask myself one question.Can I trust the government to deliver their promises? of course not.wheres the super casino that they gave us.what about when they said they would fund the big bang metrolink extension many moons ago, now we need a congestion charge they are promising the world.If the government want to keep the public on side they need to deliver on what they promise.Quote all the statistics you like. They mean nothing coming from politicians.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Well, considering how much the ordinary working person in this country pays in tax, income tax, V.A.T, fuel tax, capital gains tax to name a few, and considering what you get back for it, ONLY A MORON WOULD VOTE 'YES' TO THE CHARGES!

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

Polky your right,Kevin Peel why dont you accept that withholding information is always going to rouse suspicion.I havent read all the boring rants and comments you have been putting up because each time i get to the second sentence i get bored.

little meNovember 11th 2008.

can we not just have a load of secure car parks in wasteland areas around the city and people use the public transport systems already in place?if this is funded by the government and transport executives are put under pressure to improve the services or lose a contract we would all use publice transport save the congestion,the c charge and businesses are also happy campers!? no? ok just me then...

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin Peel complains the “no nuts have is NO CLEAR MESSAGE.” That is because the people who are put off by the plan are individuals who have looked at the plans and picked up on the plethora of points that do not stack up. You seem to think we’re all in one big ‘no’ club where we exchange messages and form some campaign.I suspect most are like me and have looked through and thought many parts of the plan do not stack up and looked a little further into it.I’ve found:i) The revenue streams in the plan are just not possible to achieve with the current level of traffic.ii) Cost of employment increases between £2,000 - £2,900, this will force business to move or reduce their employment levels in the area. Continued...............

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Are we meant ot trust people in postions of power or who represent the public in one way or another that state " equivelant of howling at the moon" or people who respond with "no nuts". can people not engage in lively debate without inslts nd childish comments. I am all for debate and if people consider there is a conspiracy they should be able to brin it to our attention - whether this remains to be the truth I am sure we will discover. In the mean time it is good that this information os put into the Public Forum

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Richard - what we will get if we vote no is nada, zilch, nothing. There will be no charge and no £1.18bn investment in new tram lines and more trams, no £383m for new buses and more routes, no £150m for new trains and stations... these are all the figures coming *directly* from the TIF - not money already promised from elsewhere but DIRECTLY from the TIF and we'll get NONE of it.

jmcNovember 11th 2008.

actually kevin what we will get is a better plan. Just because the government are dangling a £3bn carrot in front of us to accept this charge doesnt mean we should be hasty and go for it. It's a start and at least it shows the council are taking the congestion problem seriously but its not a particularly well thought out plan and theres far too much smoke and mirrors for me.

Vegi MiteNovember 11th 2008.

Quote:"mark m says..“ Marmite is a good spread on carrot cake too”"Other waste brewing products are also available under different names!

lucky_1November 11th 2008.

You like pina coladas? I'm never trusting anything you say - ever.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Furthermore BusesTIF investment in the bus system of Greater Manchester would mean that at least 90% of the population would live just a 5 minute walk from a service operating at least every 20 minutes during the day and at least every 30 minutes at other times.Extra services between local town centres and to Manchester City Centre would run at peak times and services would run earlier in the morning (leaving and arriving no later than 06:00 and 06:30 respectively) and finish later in the evenings (departing from the City Centre and major towns no earlier than 23:30 and 23:00 respectively). Where an existing service currently runs earlier or later than TIF proposals it would be maintained.Existing frequencies would be maintained or improved on main corridors to Manchester City Centre with services running at least every seven to eight minutes during the day and twenty minutes during early mornings/evenings and Sundays.Main radial routes to major town centres (Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Stockport, Altrincham, Wigan, Middleton, Hyde and Leigh) around the region would be improved to run every 20 minutes during the day, and thirty minutes in the early mornings, evenings and on Sundays. There would be enhanced Sunday frequencies on services to significant shopping centres.‘Rapid Transit’, high quality bus services would connect Leigh-Salford-Manchester and Bolton-Farnworth-Manchester. These measures would also be introduced on the Didsbury-Manchester route which serves city universities via the busy Oxford Road corridor. Rapid Transit and regular bus services would benefit from extensive highway improvements to ensure that services can run on time. In the day, major hospitals would be served by services that operate at least every fifteen minutes from the appropriate local major town, or Manchester City Centre.So as you can see - very significant investment in the bus network.

polkyNovember 11th 2008.

Regarding point four. Why does the TiF bid claim that 63 new trams are part of the bid, when 42 of them are already paid for outside of the proposal. Surely even you have to agree that it's misleading the average person?

emmaNovember 11th 2008.

Everyone knows the person that wrote this article drinks in the city arms with leese and others on a friday night. Its common news in this council. He should be ashamed of dragging UNISON into this and pretending to speak for them. Loads of members in the town hall are angry with him pretending to speak on our behalf.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

Dig,in response, I would like to say that I don't have the face of a rat catchers bait box and so theres no need for me to do so,ta!

Future TransportNovember 11th 2008.

It was Peels idea to sell the airport. Peel set up the Greater Manchester Momentum Group, who are a very powerful - financial and vocal - opponent of the TiF bid. It's Peel who own MediacityUK and half of Trafford Park. A message for anybody who has been duped by their anti-propaganda: These people are out to protect their OWN interests every step of the way and could not give a damn about any one of you!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Ahhhh... The penny drops. Do you think that's why he won't answer any questions and will resort to name calling instead?

AvoNovember 11th 2008.

You been drinking again Rosie? Its a shame mark m reared his head on the site again. I thought he had left you so we could skip off into the sunset to share a carrot cake together.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

go on then kevin tell us were we see that proffit mate? where dose it say on our council tax bill reduction due to manchester airport? It dont.. and stop pretending your just a concerned member of the public.. lol.. I recon you work for GMPTE what do others think?

polkyNovember 11th 2008.

Nah. "There is no congestion, except engineered congestion." and "There is congestion (engineered) but TiF isn't the way to tackle it". The latter comment is confirmed by your buddy above when he says that congesion reduction is not actually a target of TiF... He's right and I agree with him.

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin Peel says..“ Honestly Artie you and your aggressive cohorts on here are clearly never going to be convinced by any of the proposals so it seems a waste of time. I argue your points because they are wrong, not because I am trying to convince you of anything.”Kevin, this is where you look silly. I'm open-minded, I'm like Burt Codeine (above), yes I'd like a great PT network, I've even proposed one. However, I'm not prepared to have a great transport system at all costs. The proposal has left me with serious questions that until these are proved to be ground-less, I cannot support them. As the ramifications are so serious I'd urge anyone else to vote NO.It's up to you Kevin, as the "Go [into economic decline] Greater Manchester" organisation's top man, to address the points and you'll have more chance convncing people than splurting out slogans and ground-less/ incorrect statistics.

KathyNovember 11th 2008.

Jim, Karen Reissmann might be able to offer you advice if you get sacked for speaking to the press.

JenniNovember 11th 2008.

What I really object to is having to change my GP so that I don't have to pay the congestion charge, and that if I need to take my children to hospital at the wrong time of day, I have to pay for the privilege....

LauraNovember 11th 2008.

I'd be interested to see what happens to all the extra bus routes and services when the cash the private bus companies are given runs out. The reason these routes and services aren't run now is because they're not profitable...how is that going to change if we get the TIF? Once the money runs out the routes will end up being subsidised i.e. council tax will increase to pay for it and we end up paying twice.At the end of the day, whether the congestion charge is a good thing or not is irrelevant. The issue is that there are too many unanswered questions to be able to make an informed judgement about whether it is a good thing or not. Therefore the only reasonable way to vote is "no", until such questions are answered.

filthymickNovember 11th 2008.

An interesting response to Graham Stringer's comments, and obviously passionately made. Unfortunately, attacking Stringer as an individual and accusing him of running a scare campaign does nothing to answer some of the legitimate points that he has raised. And it certainly doesn't do anything to convince me that the billions 'invested' will end up in tangible improvement, and not in the hands of private enterprise. Limits on fares, eh? Pull the other one. A wasted opportunity, Mr. Mackrell, and my tick remains in the 'No' box for now. Try to read the exam question next time.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

"viii) Improvements in items like bus stops (err interchanges to be right on) have been funded by private developers without the need to go to the tax payer. Examples are seen in this region as well as across the country, why not continue this strategy?"MISLEADING I presume you're talking about section 106 payments required of developers to mitigate the impact of the development on the community and local infrastructure. Unfortunately these payments are but a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of investment proposed as part of the TIF bid and in many cases go towards other things such as green spaces, community facilities etc. You can't build an integrated transport system on section 106 payments. Utterly naive.

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

I love that people think I work for GMPTE! I think I'd have been sacked a long time ago for some of my less... polished... comments!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Further to my previous post, it is also worth noting that the GMTU stats for vehicles entering the centre is based upon vehicles crossing the ring road - not those travelling around it - further invalidating claims about reduced congestion when you consider that the stats show radial routes operating at capacity.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Phil - your case study of your weekend shop would be useful were it not for the fact that the congestion charge does not operate at the weekend nor outside of two limited periods of time during the week in one direction. Therefore in considering whether to vote for a congestion charge you are using a journey when no charge would apply to help form your judgement. Another prize example of the faulty logic and poor reasoning exemplified by the anti-camp.

DanNovember 11th 2008.

I cannot vote as I commute in from further a field; however I want everyone to vote yes. I have to drive for work and as such I will be paid more and the roads will be empty of the poor people who cannot afford it. This is a great way of making the roads clear for those who can afford it. Cheers Manchester

Unbiased ObserverNovember 11th 2008.

Regen08 wrote:..."Where on earth are you getting your figures from? Of the £3bn package, only £1.15bn is repayable as a loan over a 30 year period.".... You are forgetting that £420 million is also being borrowed for 3a. The total borrowings for the AGMA will be £1.570 billion, as against the £1.441 billion from the TIF. £63 million is from the RFA and £95 million is from third parties. Also the £3bn package has been decimated, it is now £2.7bn

Regen08November 11th 2008.

"iii) Much of the improvements are to be made in any case without the TIF plan."INCORRECT The substantive part of the £3bn package of improvements - the greatest investment in the city-region's transport infrastructure in many-a generation - would not be available without a bid to the TIF fund.The package would deliver a step-change in public transport infrastrucutre in the city, in people and businesses ability to get around and give the city a genuine, sigficant and lasting competetive advantage.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

"I was on a bus yesterday which was stuck on Ashton New Road for 15 minutes trying to get into town." - If the idea proposed by Regen08 above is not to reduce traffic levels, you'll still be waiting 15 mins mate... it was probably caused by the same thing that red Ken admited to doing in London... Create congestion in the run up to the vote.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

"ix) Any shortfall in revenues or overspend will cost the council tax-payer money."SCARE TACTIC - If the 'no' camp took the time to read through the financial appraisals, the assumptions and the methodoloy used - notwithstanding elements which are understandably commercially sensitive - it would become clear that projections for income are prudent and realistic.

philNovember 11th 2008.

Mart has it right when he says that public transport is too expensive - I live in Droylsden and last Sunday we went as a family to Manchester to shop for a winter coat for my daughter to wear to school - I live about 4.5 miles from the city centre -the cost of petrol for the return trip was probably 1.40 (that´s a quid a litre, 5 litres = 1.1 gallons and 30 miles to the gallon - all very conservative figures, given petrol is currently 92 p per litre at the local tesco). The car park in the Arndale Car Park cost 2.50 all day - total cost for the 3 of us for the return trip 2.50+1.40=3.90. The bus fares would have been 1.80 each for me and the missus and 0.90 for the sprog - total 4.50 one way - total for the return trip 9 quid.That´s 230% dearer than travelling by car, door to door, rather than sitting at the bus stop till the bus comes, sitting on the bus with whoever and walking either end door to door. It really is no contest - the bus companies are making a fortune out of this and the travelling public are obviously too moronic to do the maths - even on a week day, you can deduct the petrol from the bus fares (9.00-1.40=7.60) and spend 4 hours in Manchester and pay 5.50 for the parking still leaving you 2.10 up - if you stay longer than that, parking jumps up to 9 quid, so then you lose out - but that´s just the parking ripping you off as well as the buses - bottom line is public transport and parking are way over priced, but even so, it´s still cheaper to drive in and park, at prime time during the week for 4 hours or less, than it is to get the bus, if there´s 2 adults and one child - if you don´t find that fact totally remarkable and still think congestion charging is a good thing, then you need to see a psychiatrist. But that´s only part of the argument - the next best argument against is that your local council has spent a fortune in advertising, (that you have paid for out of your council tax), selling the positive aspects of the congestion charge and not spent a penny detailing the negative aspects - now I know the council are in favour of the scheme, but they are supposed to give an unbiased opinion - if this was going out on the BBC, you´d be the first complain about it´s biasedness, but somehow, because it´s the council, people seem to think this is acceptable. Well it isn´t. Perhaps it´s me, but if you look through all the comments on this site, you´ll find that the majority of the comments against the congestion charge are well-reasoned and take note of all the evidence, whereas the ones in favour of the congestion charge just seem to be taking the council´s word for it. Please, before you go and vote, do some research - if you still want to vote in favour after that then fair enough, but please don´t vote based on, ¨I can´t find anything out so I´ll take the council´s word for it¨ - these people are lying to you - please look at the evidence.Regardless of all the above - the government hasn´t actually said that if we vote out the congestion charge, that it won´t fund public transport by some other scheme.The main point is, though, that the poster of the main article above has stated the wording for the congestion charge referendum - it says, and I quote the person IN FAVOUR of the congestion charge, ¨Please read the leaflet enclosed with the ballot paper, which provides details of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposal. This involves both major investment in public transport improvements in Greater Manchester and a weekday, peak-time only congestion charge scheme. Congestion charging would only be introduced after 80 per cent of public transport improvements are in place, and not before the summer of 2013. Do you agree with the TIF proposal?’So, let´s take it a sentence at a time and break it down - ¨Please read the leaflet enclosed with the ballot paper, which provides details of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposal¨ - now first off, most people are going to vote in a rush and not have the time or the strength of character to read the leaflet. Some of those who do bother will not properly understand what is written in there, even if it turns out to be written fairly - if it turns out to be as much of a dodgily worded document as Mr Stringer reckons the rest of the congestion charge proposal is (i.e. you are being blatantly lied to) - a proportion of the general public will not have the wherewithall to understand what is actually being proposed - that is they will not understand what they are voting for, or against. In this situation, a lot of people will just vote one way or the other, not really knowing what they are voting for as it´s too embarrassing to admit that you don´t understand as people might think you´re a bit of a thicko. If you fall into this group of people, I strongly suggest that you take advice fom anywhere you can get it - say it´s your friend who doesn´t understand and you´re asking for them - whatever you do, please don´t vote, ´yes´, unless you understand exactly what you´re voting ´yes´, to.Next bit of the sentence, ¨This involves both major investment in public transport improvements in Greater Manchester,¨ So, that´s all positive, then isn´t it? - Major investments in public transport improvements - sounds great - so what are the details of what they´re actually proposing? How much money are they investing? Where is the money coming from - congestion charge or council tax? Who is the money being given to to make the improvements - is it a private transport company who make vast profits every year from running the bus service in your area? If so, how much of that investment will actually filter down to better bus/tram/train services and how much will go directly to the company´s shareholders (hint: look at what just happened with the banks - how they paid themselves around 16 billion in bonuses, ruined the businesses and then got 50 billion of taxpayer´s money to bail them out of the poop and then failed to pass on a 1.5% interest rate reduction to those same taxpayers who just stumped up the 50 billion - pattern forming? - I do hope so.Next bit of the sentence, ¨and a weekday, peak-time only congestion charge scheme.¨ So what are your council saying here - are they saying that there isn´t any congestion at weekends, or that congestion is only important during the week at peak times? How do you reconcile the fact that in Droylsden, where I live, the busiest days of the week for congestion are the weekend and days when Manchester City are playing at home, but out of congestion charging hours? Either the congestion charge is there to reduce congestion, or it isn´t a congestion charge - the charge should be levied when there is congestion and not levied when there is no congestion. If that doesn´t happen, then it ISN´T a congestion charge and you have been conned!Check out the figures for the number of vehicles travelling into the city centre, (excluding the motorways, where there will be no congestion charge), and you will find, irrefutable evidence that the number of vehicles has decreased. If there are LESS vehicles, but congestion has increased - that must mean that someone has done something to cause that congestion ON PURPOSE! Just think about this for a few moments - you do not need a PhD in Astrophysics to get to grips with the maths here!Anyhow, next bit of the wording, ¨Congestion charging would only be introduced after 80 per cent of public transport improvements are in place, and not before the summer of 2013.¨So what they´re trying to imply here is that if you don´t vote for the congestion charge, the improvements won´t actually happen, because you won´t pay the congestion charge for another 5 years, by which time you´ll long have ceased to have any say over whether the congestion charge comes in. Look at the wording and read it very carefully - this is the cleverest sentence in the whole statement. They´re trying to say that if you accept the scheme now, you´ll have 5 years of free benefits and they´re hoping that by the time you´ve digested that bit of the sentence, you´ll have either switched off by the time you get to the bit about when you have to pay and not notice, or that you´ll have such a warm glow about the positives that you´l ignore the negatives!So then, to the last sentence, ¨Do you agree with the TIF proposal?¨ - Well, do you? Do you actually know to the letter what the TIF proposal is, in all it´s detail - how you´ll benefit and what the costs of those benefits will be to you personally? And what about your friends, your neighbours, the people down the street? The bottom line is that you couldn´t possibly know if you agree with the TIF proposal because your council won´t be letting you have enough information to make a proper, fair, unbiased decision - they want you to vote yes and they´re going to do everything they can to get you to vote that way - WHATEVER IT TAKES!There are still more reasons than those I´ve detailed to think before you vote - please note, I´m not telling you you should vote no - what I am saying is that you absolutely SHOULD vote, (because if you don´t they´ll say you weren´t interested),, but that you SHOULDN´T VOTE UNTIL YOU ARE IN POSSESSION OF ENOUGH OF THE FACTS TO MAKLE A REASONED DECISION!!!!!Please take the time, make the effort, DO THE RESEARCH and then most importantly VOTE. I am sure that if you take the time and the effort to do all of the above, you will make the right choice.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

can we not have an underground,the networks are in place?

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

little me's point is one I've made before. It would cost far less money and be far more effective you use park and ride schemes at the huge nember of rail crossng points around the M60. Stick up some multi-storey car parks and put on a regular service, job done and this would remove a lot of traffic.Do the same along the major routes into town, add a mono-rail (reletively cheap) and we're there.take out the bus lanes and send the buses to the mono-rail stations and I think we'll have a great system.This would cost a fraction of the amunt TIF are spending without the economic drawbacks.

philNovember 11th 2008.

HI Regen08our case study of your weekend shop would be useful were it not for the fact that the congestion charge does not operate at the weekend nor outside of two limited periods of time during the week in one direction. Therefore in considering whether to vote for a congestion charge you are using a journey when no charge would apply to help form your judgment. Another prize example of the faulty logic and poor reasoning exemplified by the anti-camp.”The case study for the weekend shop isn´t faulty logic, read a bit further and I detail that you can travel to town prime time congestion chargingwise and still save money by avoiding public transport

overtaxedNovember 11th 2008.

what you can be damn sure about is that the Yes campaigners will not be paying the daily tax. It's outrageous the amount of money that has been spent on the Yes propaganda.

CiaranNovember 11th 2008.

Got to be a yes vote for me.More trams are needed on the Altrincham line as people are crammed in to the trams like sardines every day.Altrincham exchange also needs investment.

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

To paraphrase Kevin Peel on a previous thread, shouldn't Jim Mackrell concentrate on representing the lazy and workshy members of Unison rather than get involved in this dabate????

DaveNovember 11th 2008.

I live in Cheadle Hulme.Can somebody tell me how my local bus services[currently 313-very irregular and 157[even more irregular]will improve?I am not interested in the 192 from Stockport to Manchester[even though Stagecoach seem to think it's the only route that's of interest to them].So at the moment without any positive further info on local services,it's a definite NO.

lisa dNovember 11th 2008.

oh for gods sake, what is the labour party doing? the ave. pay in Greater manchester is about £15k- if someone has to cross both rings of the charge i reckon they'd have to work for about a month to pay for the privilidge of crossing. Also what about the concession on min wage which sees thousands of folk fall into the poverty trap. In my opinion this is worse than the poll tax.and if you want to argue with me about these comments BRING IT ON

Regen08November 11th 2008.

So, contrary to the 'no' campaign's claims, the facts are that congestion HAS increased. The limited peak time charge WILL service the loan (amounting to £1.2m of the total £3bn package) based upon the conservative and prudent assumptions made in the bid (see gmfuturetransport.com for details). All this is notwithstanding the limited amount of people actually affected by the charge. Detailed and comprehensive data collection and analysis reveals that over the course of an average day, only 10% will pay any charge of which, only 1% pay the full amount. In return raod users benefit from faster journeys, improved park and ride and in most cases, real, viable alternatives to the car that this once-in-a-generation £3bn package of investment in public transport can bring. Good for commuters, good for business. VOTE YES.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

The TIB is a very good thing we need it to happen!!!! VOTE YES!!!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin peel, funny that is that the same kevin peel who is according to an email I recived from the yes camp is running an event? Just shows your tactics pretending to be a member of the public? Your being paid to leave comments on this and other boards.

DigNovember 11th 2008.

Why doesn't Emma and Scotee get on ManCon date?

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Just to counter the last couple of posts about investment and control over the bus network. From gmfuturetransport.co.uk What guarantees do we have that the private companies who run our buses will run services in poorer areas?The Local Transport Bill, now going through Parliament, gives additional powers to democratically accountable institutions to exercise more influence over the way in which the bus system is regulated. GMPTA is working very productively with bus operators and is confident it will secure the outcomes needed on a voluntary basis. Under the Bus Partnership proposals being developed with operators, a new network of services has been designed that covers all of Greater Manchester. Services will be required to start earlier in the morning and finish later at night.

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

polky you can twist the statistics any way you want but any driver sitting on Chester Road in the morning or trying to get down Ashton Old Road or any of the others knows for a fact that a 45 second wait is simply absurd. I was on a bus yesterday which was stuck on Ashton New Road for 15 minutes trying to get into town. Wake up and smell the congestion.

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Honestly Artie you and your aggressive cohorts on here are clearly never going to be convinced by any of the proposals so it seems a waste of time. I argue your points because they are wrong, not because I am trying to convince you of anything. Lets just agree to disagree - I'll vote yes, you can vote no and on the 12th December we'll see what happens.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

As for the remarks by 'Jedster'??, the 'satellite' towns I assume you mean are Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Ashton, Oldham? They seem to be self sufficient to me as I have lived or worked in most of them, so what are you talking about? You should also know that most of their respective councils voted 'no' to the charges. People may go elsewhere and any thicko should then realise that businesses in Manchester will suffer. Is it a coincidence that you compared Manchester to the east end of London or are you an actual solid-skulled cockney?

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Dont think anyone located on the outskirts of Manchester would vote for this scheme. For example out of the £3bn investment Irlam and Cadishead are getting new signes at the train station. Thats really going to help ease congestion on the roads isnt it. I dont believe that the proposed improvments to public transport would really offer people an alternative to using their car. Instead the congestion charge will just be another tax on top of the road tax and fuel duty that we already pay. As usual the car is an easy target to increase the goverments/councils revenue.

Ron PiddingtonNovember 11th 2008.

I have a clear message for the YES voters. How many of you will have to find £25.00 a week extra? How will people in say, Denton benefit? How much of this money is going to end up in the pockets of Stagecoach, Arriva etc? Do you really think public transport will improve that much? How about getting people who use these services to actually pay for them?It's a massive con and when you consider that Graham Stringer used to be Manchester City Council leader and therefore should be in favour of the scheme, that speaks volumes.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin does work for the yes camp. He has a web site and everything.. A website where NO is not an option

Legal secretaryNovember 11th 2008.

PS the article "Timetable Trauma" on http://www.davenportstation.org.uk explains much better than I can.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

are kevin peel and regen08 the same person? expose yourself

ENovember 11th 2008.

Although it is good that people are getting fired up about this and are willing to act, it's wrong that people are pitching themselves against each other with this 'yes' and 'no camp' rubbish. I'd like to know who came up with that idea as it causes people to make fools of themselves while they try and force their opinions on other people, as shown above. I do not think Manchester needs billions of pounds to be spent and this amount of money should not be viewed as a prize if people vote 'yes' to the proposals. If transport services need updating, they should be done anyway as this is what we pay our taxes for and we all know our government is a rich one. I'm sure we are all aware of the Stalinists in our midsts with their facts and figures, I do not think they will get anywhere though.

rosieNovember 11th 2008.

Don't steal my rants you c*nt

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Sell the only publicly owned major airport in the UK? That is not a viable alternative that is an ill thought out and completely uncosted idea. The revenue raised from the airport goes to local authorities and pays for some of the services we receive. If the airport was sold THEN we'd see the council tax rises the no's are always banging on about.

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Sorry, I was using no campaign tactics! "There is no congestion", "There is congestion but this isn't the way to tackle it"!!!!!

Milo WhizzbangNovember 11th 2008.

If the Congestion gets in and I find myself coming in or out of the city centre of Manchester during the times of the charge and I find myself unable to get in or out because of traffic congestion can I apply for a refund?

ARTIE IS KING!!!November 11th 2008.

Totally agree Artie Fufkin,Example :…….Oldham road running towards Failsworth has had a new “space ship type thing(bus stop) with lots of parking, unused is I might add, built for the tram system” at a cost of probably £2.5 billion ( if the idiots that agreed to the contract had anything to do with it).It’s been stood there for almost three years and still not in action. It’s my bet all the commitments the council and government have made have gone in to over expenditure and due to the government’s tightening of funds, Man council has gone back to Gordon Brown’s team and said "Look we are starting a project you cut our budget" How we gonna finish the trams stops and stuff? Gordon's team say do what we do in London....introduce the C charge.Man.Council replies...”fukin great, thanks for that!Perhaps the tourists and visitors of London will support the local economy when all the businesses have pissed off somewhere else…perhaps we should have Manchester’s very own Buckingham palace (Deansgate) .Kevin Peel will be first in line for renting a pad there no doubt!So here we are, all arguing about bits that are supposed to be included and some still not finished...we will all pay for what we don’t really need or want in the end...Oh and Kevin Peel!? when they build Buckingham palace and my kids cant afford to get to school, I’ll want your head on a stick at the no doubt, new “London Tower Bridge” (Manchester)!!!

philNovember 11th 2008.

What Milo Whizzbang says about getting a fair vote is interesting, because where I live, they´ve already restarted work on the metrolink - people wandering round with all sorts of measuring equipment etc.What I want to know is how this work that is going on before the referendum will be financed? If we don´t get any investment unless the ´yes´ vote wins the referendum, then there will not be any money to pay for that work. This means either 1. the money for that bit is coming from somewhere else, or 2. there will be money for that work even if the referendum comes up ´no´, or 3. the council already know the outcome of the referendum as a definite ´yes´ regardless of what anyone votes - how could that be unless the referendum is going to be a definite fiddle?

Regen08November 11th 2008.

ii) your doomsday scenario predictions of the sort of costs to employees and and employers are not supported by the evidence. Only 10% of trips to, from or within Greater Manchester incurr any kind of charge, of which only 1% would pay the maximum amount due to the fact that the charging rings only levy a charge for weekday, morning, inbound peak time traffic and weekday, evening, outbound peak time traffic. The benefits to Greater Manchester's businesses community brought about through this enormous investment in the city-region's transport infrastructure therefore far outstrip the costs involved in paying the limited charge.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

" ii) Cost of employment increases between £2,000 - £2,900, this will force business to move or reduce their employment levels in the area. Continued............... ”INCORRECT - I do not recognise those figures and in keeping with the 'no' campaign, you have not provided a detailed rationale for them. I presume they are an exaggerated worst-case scenario of crossing both rings within the limited charging period 5 days a week, every working day of the year. In reality as above only 10% will pay any charge and of those very few will pay the full amount. It also fails to consider the impact of the much improved, preice-restricted, integrated public transport package that will be delivered by TIF on communting patters. In terms of the impact on business, well there is considerable and growing support for TIF in the business community, not least the CBI.

polkyNovember 11th 2008.

Twisting numbers? It's there as a year on year chart with the average daily traffic numbers passing designated points around Manchester! They can't be twisted, except by desperate people trying to change the truth? on your last point I HAVE NOT MADE THE FIGURES UP. THEY ARE THERE FOR ALL TO SEE. Take your damn blinkers off and have a look around will you?

Regen08November 11th 2008.

"vi) Empirical evidence suggests the local economy is slowed by the Congestion charge; London’s C-charge zone fell behind similar city centre areas losing out by some 20%; growth."INCORRECT Simply not true. London's economy has continued to grow - partly because of the sohpisticated transport infrastructure it has in place and is being helped to improve upon by substantial investment by central government and its own congestion charge. Manchester TIF bid will help deliver a step-change in its transport infrastructure helping it to sustain and improve prospects for economic growth and place it at a competetive advantage compared to those locations without such sohpisticated, comprehensive and integrated public transport system.

How True is ThisNovember 11th 2008.

Headline:"Lie, smear, scare"Futuretransport say: "20% of drivers will pay".AGMA/PRO-groups say "10% will pay".See what you mean there Jim!!!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Artie and others that have made similar points; and inkeeping with the 'no' campaign's principles of misunderstanding, misleading and misrepresenting you are WRONG to assert that congestion has fallen. The GMTU stats, if you analyise them properly DO NOT say this. They are a count of number of vehicles passing through a point within a set period of time. Because any given road has a set capacity, when the number of vehicles trying to use that road exceeds capacity, the rate at which they pass (i.e. traffic flow) reduces. This is congestion.

philNovember 11th 2008.

My comment above could´ve done with a few breaks at the end of each paragraph to space it out and be more readable.If you´ve skipped reading it because of that, please take the time to go back - it´s important that you do.Otherwise, any chance you lot at the Confidential can do a few carriage returns to make me more readable?

artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Your answer in v) is an outright lie. Look at the official stas, between 7.30 and 9.30 car trafic fell from 1997 - 2006 11%. Give me a source of your statistics? Traffic has slowed in this time but as I say, normal logis dictates it can't be weieght of traffic.vi) London's economy in the charge zone has risen slowly, compared with other central aras in every major British city since the charge zone came in, London's economy has fallen behind forsaking double figure growth in other major cities. viii) The point here is TIF are starting to spend money fo rhte sake of it when improvements can be obtained by private enterprise. Why are the TIF people so obsessed with spending our money?ix)I'd love you to tell me who is to pay if the con charge revenues can't pay hte loan. NB. the contingency money will have long - gone.x) If TIF is not about getting people onto PT, what is it for (I think we DO know the answer)STILL VOTING NO I'm afraid.

SarahNovember 11th 2008.

Jim - If you want to start your own union then go ahead and do it. In the meantime don't use UNISON as a cover for your own political activities. This was never agreed by the branch or the members.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Unbiased observer - you are mistaken. Metolink 3a is grant, not loan funded.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

The charging locations and times are designed to target the journeys and time periods where congestion has greatest impact - i.e. rushhour into the city and rushour out of the city. Let us not forget that the roads are built and maintained with public funds (that are paid for by all regardless of whether you have a car or not) so therefore it is entirely fair and appropriate that a congestion charge that unlocks £3bn investment in alternative means of transport targets a resource (i.e. road space) for the journeys and times it is most in demand. How can this be discriminatory?

Artie FufkinNovember 11th 2008.

As you seem close to the bid Regen08, can you catgorically tell us that Mr Richard leese will not be given any additional money through salary, newly created positions/office or holds no relationship with any company that may receive any part of the funding? It's just he seems very keen on this considering his previous stated position on road charging. Perhaps the same for Mr Bernstein?

polkyNovember 11th 2008.

Regen08 said - "Traffic FLOW has reduced (resulting in congestion), not absolute numbers of vehicles using the roads as you are trying to suggest." which is completely wrong. The actual numbers of vehicles crossing the measring points IS DECLINING and has been since 1998 according to the AGMA funded reports. Congestion, on the other hand, means that the average driver spends 45 seconds MORE time for their journey than in 1998. These figures are all in th AGMA report for all to read and no amount of long and, frankly, incorrect posts will ever change that fact. You "facts" are based on a document which has used modling software to predict the future... We all know that modling software is only as good as the data you feed it with (like global warming).

Artie fufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Kevin Peel, can you do me a favour and look over the points I made and tell me where I'm wrong, no 'nonuts' no one in tens, no slogans just stick to the points. If you tell me a list of why you think the TIF plan is good after addressing my worries you may just convince someone it's a good idea. People are not convinced by soundbites.

Milo WhizzbangNovember 11th 2008.

Well I should imagine he will report that we dont take anything for granted are not easily mislead and stand up for ourselves and dont take anything lying down!! Aye lad it's great up North!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

The new train carriages are actually the old ones that Birmingham have just replaced with brand new ones WITHOUT TIF. Edinburgh has it's tram system WITHOUT TIF. In Stockholm all concessions have now been dropped and EVERYONE PAYS ALL THE TIME. Phase two (which Sir Howard says there are no plans for) appeared in the July 2007 TIF proposal. In the glossy mag we all got, it clearly states that the operation time and areas will be changed to make more money. In the same sentence, we are told that council tax will be increased as well. READ IT PROPERLY YES PEOPLE. This article is nothing more than a personal attack on an MP who is asking legitimate questions and receiving no definitive response. You YES people should be embarrased to be so gullible

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Ciaran. You won't get more trams on the Altrincham line. The same thing was promised when the Eccles line opened; "some of the trams will double up on the existing service." The fact is that the power requiremnts of running every tram as a double cannot be met on the Bury-Victoia line and that's why there is only two doubles at a time on there.

Legal secretaryNovember 11th 2008.

someone above states "Manchester and its satellite towns desperately need the economic boost that a modern and proper transport infrastructure will help to bring". I entirely agree and I'm all for reducing traffic and improving public transport infrastructure.However, I recently learnt that Northern Rail are cutting services to my local station (Mcr to Buxton route), in the name of allowing Virgin trains to increase its service from 2 hourly to 3 hourly. This seems fishy. Why does London need yet more investment at our expense? No wonder its been slipped in under the carpet. My usual train home, and in fact all trains from Oxford Road are to be scrapped. Out of my usual choice of 4 trains home from Piccadilly, as from 15 December I will have the choice of 2! I'll therefore be voting NO!!!. Money is seemingly at the heart of this - not commuters. Ironically, part of the Tif package is to improve Woodsmoor station on my line ... are they trying to hoodwink Stockport commuters who don't yet know about the changed timetable which will come in just 4 days after the referendum?

M MouldingNovember 11th 2008.

Good point Dan, I've had enough of driving in traffic and congestion. If we price the riff raff rubbish off the road it's better for everyone.It worked for football, it can work in Manchester

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

Love it! This is exactly what I have been trying to argue but written a bit more articulately because I get quite emotional when dealing with these fanatics! The only thing the no nuts have is NO CLEAR MESSAGE. They've run out of reasons why we should vote now and so are floundering in desperation. Graham Stringer should know better than to be associating himself with these people and should get back to representing his constituents, many of whom, like hundreds of thousands of people across Greater Manchester, will benefit enormously from £3bn of investment in public transport.

philNovember 11th 2008.

Hi Regen08A new tram line certainly is no panacea and it won´t provide an alternative if it´s more expensive than the current (overpriced bus service)Investment in infrastructure of the sort proposed by the congestion charge / TIF proposals won´t substantially improve businesses' access to the labour market if it´s more expensive than the current car journey - it will merely serve to force people to pay the congestion charge rather than have to take the tram and for many people it will make their jobs unviable.For the same reasons, it won´t improve access to markets for the goods and services businesses produce and it won´t improve circulation and transformation of ideas and knowledge ('clustering') thereby driving productity by reducing the effective distances between individuals. It won´t because people and businesses will just avoid the city centre and relocate elsewhere.The detailed appraisal of different benefits for business on the GMPTA website (a substantial FOI request document) and of course on the gmfuturetransport.com website is a propaganda document for the council who have a vested interest in the scheme.You are missing the point here that investment in public transport, cheaper fares and better access could all be provided WITHOUT the congestion charge - you are confusing my argument against the congestion charge with an argument against congestion/eco travel policies, which I am actually in favour of - there is no justification for us to be charged daily to travel into town - this is an insidious tax and nothing whatsoever to do with congestion/eco travel.(As I said in my original post)

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Well said Paul! I too am a longstanding UNISON member and shall be writing to my branch secretary to demand that Jim Mackrell be disciplined as he had no right to purport that his vitriol represents UNISON members' views who - to the best of my knowledge - have never been canvassed on this issue!I also agree with the posts that point out Mackrell fails to answer a single FACT put forward by Graham Sringer - instead resorting to the increasingly desperate tactic of vicious, personal attacks. To the monumentally dense Kevin Peel (although one has to feel slightly sorry for someone who is only able to parrot propoganda rather than think for himself) - 12 new Metrolink trams will be in service on the existing system next year and the network will be extended to Chorlton, Droylsden and Oldham and Rochdale (without the town centres) by 2011 - NOTHING TO DO WITH TIF. The only additions that TIF would fund are from Chorlton to the Airport and the town centre elements of the Oldham/Rochdale line. The Trafford Centre is dependent on funding from the private sector (Peel Holdings)and nobody is even bothering to pretend anymore that it might go to Stockport one day. As for buses - a so-called quality partnership will be established that has actually been available for years but was never pursued because it was recognised as useless in delivering meaningful change. The only thing that could have done that is a 'Quality Contract' but GMPTE are too cosy with and scared of the bus operators to do the right thing so Brian Souter (Stagecoach) and Moir Lockhead (First) can look forward to even more profit in their pockets should this nonsense ever come off. A few more FACTS:1. I cannot find one person among my extensive network of family, friends, neighbours, colleagues or even through casual conversations at shop counters, in the pub etc. who even vageuly supports the TIF Bid.2. I live in Blackley as do all my large family and can tell Jim Mackrell and other 'yes' campaign stooges that Graham Stringer is well liked and respected locally because people know that, unlike Sir Richard Leese, he is a born and bred Mancunian who is in touch with and cares about the concerns of real people in North Manchester and is not afraid of incurring the wrath of the Labour Party machine to represent their views.3. I am a lifelong public transport user and would not have to pay the congestion charge based on current proposals so am a bit like those people on the much-talked about posters. Except that I know that everyone in Greater Manchester will be paying for this crazy scheme through extortionate public transport fares and/or higher Council Tax long after its promoters Bernstein and Leese have retired to the House of Lords.Finally, I would remind Jim Mackrell that this Government publicly committed to funding the full Metrolink extension OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO and, as one of those who protested in the street in 2004 for the reinstatement of that funding, I do not appreciate the building of those elements set out above being dependent on Greater Manchester acting as a congestion charging guinea pig and the imposing of a unique additional tax on its residents for the privilege. May I suggest that in futurer Mr Mackrell's energies (along with my subscriptions)would be better deployed lobbying this disgraceful Government to distribute public resources more equitably i.e. outside London where - while he's been busy attacking the ONLY person representing our views - the Government has quietly been getting on with pumping even more billion of our taxes into transport in London. But that might spoil your chances of getting on in the Labour Party mightn't it Jim?ouldn't it Jim

Andy MNovember 11th 2008.

at last - a reasoned response to the Daily Mail tactics of Stringer, Peel Holdings and rest of the No campaign. No policy is perfect in design but there is much much more good than bad in the TIF proposals. Bring on the debate!

Future TransportNovember 11th 2008.

Sell the airport eh? Hmmm, let me think, i wonder who would be interested in buying that then... Peel International Airport (Manchester) - Don't think so!

aritie fufkinNovember 11th 2008.

Regen08 your answer in iii) is just a load of marketing waffle. I'm saying much of the improvements are to be made anyway, to say this is incorrect and try to substatiate this with waffle is a lie. Metrolink extension is still going ahead, new buses and trains have come on without TIF for some years. Man cities in the country manage to get bus interchanges built for nowt by developers so why go into debt for it?Your point in iv) is likewise wrong and piffle. We have an increase in hte number of buses on the road, the number with disabled access has risen 100% in the last 4 years. These are facts and have not needed a huge debt.

DaveNovember 11th 2008.

I was fairly pro but now I'm not so sure. While there seems to be a lot of misinformation flying in from the no camp, what I'm suspicious about is the lack of transparency on how much is going to be invested on what. I don't like it that Stagecoach are so keen, since they are just blatant profiteers with no record of serving customers' interests. They just put the competition out of business by undercutting them, then mission accomplished, hike their prices up again. Now, they're going to be running Metrolink too, completing the deregulated, i.e. unregulated, monopoly circle. I don't the smell of this.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

The symantics of the whole thing have a different effect for everyone thst why there is so muych passion here, some win, some lose.Due to the poor transparency (the with holding of information)it currently seems I will lose,No inner city dwelling benefits and no discount (unless im on benefits) and a "No" vote from me.

Arfur DaleyNovember 11th 2008.

Are you all stoopid? The price of second hand cars has crashed.... Buy a car for each zone. You jst walk into the next zone, jump in to your other car, then off you pop. I have some nice ex-council limo's for sale. Oops wait a minute.........they are still in use.

Linzi KNovember 11th 2008.

Jim- you are spot on! how can anyone honestly say its a fiddle? The 'no' camp have moaned every step of the way with the TIf bid and referendum. Just what are they scared of?These proposals benefit the worst off- Graham Stringer should be ashamed to call himself a Labour MP!

Don' CareNovember 11th 2008.

Both sites arguments are based on misconceptions and lies, Myself I don't care. If i want to go into the center i will pay a taxi driver to drive me, if the price is 5 quid or 15 quid is pretty irrelevant to me. I doubt i am the only person who thinks this.

Taxin' JohnNovember 11th 2008.

The argument seems to be based on the fact tha this is te only game in ton. "If you're against this, what have you got that's better?" The real picture should highlight the fact that transport should be under public ownership and that it should be affordable NOW. I've read the policy that prices for public transport fares - particulary trains and buses - should rise annually by inflation + 1%. Why?Further, I wouldn't trust anyone to have something nearly in place with us mugs paying higher taxes to pay for it and the project not completed, least of a ll a bunch of politicians, with their super-annuated car parking and paid-up expenses covering all their outgoings.Jeez...and I haven't even read the whole thing yet...

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

For all the 'yes' stooges that no alternatives have been put forward - the 'no' camp (or the non-bribed - 'common sense' we'll cal them) have suggested a perfect alternative - Sell the Airport. You will get more than enough to introduce all the changes you want. The Airport is a drain on public resources as whilst it does contribute a VERY small dividend, the investment that goes out of the region FROM our region is far greater.”

Nigel PrestonNovember 11th 2008.

''You be the judge. Is that wording biased? A fiddle? Grounds for scrapping the votes of 1.8 million residents of Greater Manchester?'' A MILLION TIMES YES ITS BIASED

MattNovember 11th 2008.

Now that Graham Stringer has had his self-indulgent little rant and Jim Mackrell has expertly kebabbed him, can we please get back to the real issue - how can public transport be improved for the people of Greater Manchester? The TIF package proposes one way. Fine. Have the No campaign got an alternative which will bring more trams, more trains and more buses?Put up or shut up.

eugeneNovember 11th 2008.

Phil - £9 rtn for the bus for you, your partner & child? Not on Stagecoach i'm afraid:quote from the stagecoach website "Group Dayrider £6.60 For up to 2 adults and 3 children travelling as a group "Not such a price difference now then.. Glad I clarified that for everyone. Maybe you will take the bus next time?

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Where on earth are you getting your figures from? Of the £3bn package, only £1.15bn is repayable as a loan over a 30 year period. Revenue to service the loan will be collected not only through the congestion charge but through metrolink fares, a partnership agreement to capture the increase in bus and BRT use arising from the investment in the network and there is also a revenue element to the TIF bid itself. Additional to this there are a number of contingencies and prudent assumptions built into the finances such as higher interest rates, a near £600m capital cost contingency, revenue and operating cost contingency, conservative jobs growth assumptions (based on current trends) and a cautious view of the number of charageble trips.

Regen08November 11th 2008.

Right time to clear up a few of the myths being desperately propogated by the 'no' camp."(i) The revenue streams in the plan are just not possible to achieve with the current level of traffic."INCORRECT - taken from www.gmfuturetransport.co.uk"TIF: Congestion ChargeYou asked for evidence relating to statements that 9 out of 10 people would not have to pay a congestion charge.Our assessment of the number of journeys that would be charged is based upon transport modelling of trips made in Greater Manchester on an average week day. The modelling represents the majority of journeys as two-way trips between a person’s home and another destination.The modelling is for 2016 and is based upon the national standard DfT TEMPRO population and employment growth forecasts, and is then validated through surveys. Given that a trip would only incur a charge if it crosses a charging location in the direction of peak flow and in peak times, the modelling takes account of:• How the trip is made;• Where the trip starts from;• Where the trip ends;• When the trip starts; and• When the trip ends. The models encompass all modes of transport. The remainder of this analysis focuses on car and road-based goods trips during an average week day.The modelling found that (to, from and within Greater Manchester) there are forecast (under TEMPRO growth) to be 2.2 million daily one and two-way trips in 2016 once the full TIF programme is implemented. The analysis of the proportion of trips that would result in a payment is shown below:Trips Not Charged - 2.04 millionCharged Trips - 0.18 millionTotal Trips - 2.22 millionCharged as a % of total - 8.1%Around 2 million one and two-way trips would not incur a charge because they:• would not cross a charging location at any time; and/or• would not cross a charging location in the direction of congestion flows; and/or• would not cross a charging location at peak times.The impact of charging on the number of vehicles crossing the cordons is a key factor in determining revenues. As explained in the Funding and Finance Supporting Paper and the papers submitted to AGMA in advance of last Friday’s meeting, for the purposes of assessing financial revenues a more cautious view of the impact of the proposed charging scheme on cordon crossings has been taken. This means that for financial planning purposes the package is assumed to reduce cordon crossings by 35% rather than the 27% forecast by the transport models. This is reflected in the projected 160,000 daily chargeable users 2015/16 referred to in the Funding and Finance Supporting Paper published on the GMPTE website as part of the consultation exercise.Given the above analysis it can be seen that more than 90% of car and road-based goods vehicle trips would not incur a charge i.e. on an average day, i.e. 9 out of 10 trips would not incur a charge. This analysis obviously excludes other people in Greater Manchester who are making journeys on weekdays but would not incur a charge because they are using public transport, walking or cycling. "

philNovember 11th 2008.

Hi Regen08Can you explain how having a great big tram line in the middle of the road will improve conditions for road users?And most of all how the congestion charge will ¨stimulate economic growth, promote social inclusion and put Manchester at a considerable competitive advantage to competing locations¨??????Detailed analysis please - not just some nice positive sounding buzzwords - I´m after detailed proposals here as to how charging people to travel into the middle of Manchester will encourage people to travel, work and locate their businesses there rather than some other city where they can travel into the centre for free!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

" v) Traffic levels have fallen nearly 9%; 1997-2007 within the M60, as has the city centre. If traffic speeds have slowed (as claimed) my logic suggests it’s not traffic levels causing this but something else. Would it not be cheaper to look at this something else?" INCORRECT - Another appalling failure to properly analyise and interpret data to propogate misleading information. Traffic FLOW has reduced (resulting in congestion), not absolute numbers of vehicles using the roads as you are trying to suggest.

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

I'm sure you are beautiful Ms G, even if you do wear fingerless gloves...going now before Gordo tells us off again.!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Good reasoning Alf. My faith in democracy is now forever restored

philNovember 11th 2008.

I got one of those the last time I took a bus and ended up staying late in town and decided to get a taxi home as I don´t feel safe hanging around bus stops for half an hour at that time of night with the sprog - so I wasted 6.60-4.50=2.10, so it didn´t look quite so good a deal next time! Like you say the difference isn´t that much but that is an off peak ticket , so if you wait till Sunday and pay 2.50 to park in the arndale all day, it´s still cheaper to drive!

Regen08November 11th 2008.

The £3bn will not be available without congestion charging. The anti camp have not, can not and will not come up with feasable, realistic alternatives that can raise anything like such a sum. By all means lobby for chance in transport policy and a more equitable distribution of funds around the country but, bear in mind that such a sum of money has not been made available to greater manchester in the past nor is it likely to again even with substantial political reform. VOTE YES.

RobNovember 11th 2008.

This could be devasting for local businesses in Manchester, we do not have the infrastructure of London and I think we all must vote NO!

Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2008.

I wouldn't have bothered with all that if I'd known regen08 was going to do it too, thanks!

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Yes there are 2 alternatives:1. Everyone in Greater M/C pays to improve public transport e.g. a council tax levy2. Those who use public transport pay to improve it i.e. increase prices and use the increase to pay for improvements.The logic of the TIF brigade is that those who don't use public transport should pay for improvements. Quite bizare really.Could you imagine the riots if either of the first two alternative were put forward. Yet road users are expected to roll over and have our tummies tickled. Get real!

Alf TupperNovember 11th 2008.

Quote:"Their campaign relised on lies, smear and scare tactics"Most people who are interested know the score. Statements like: if we dont vote yes we get nothing, have the ring of truth(not) when £63 million of the TIF total is RFA money GM gets anyway and £95 million is from third parties..

Burt CodeineNovember 11th 2008.

The shear number of posts on this subject everytime an article is posted on Man Con shows just how passionate this subject is. It's also extremely informative, trimming the immense fat bits of the so called main stream media in this city (which would struggle to get any lower). I must admit to being fairly keen on the idea initially, coveting a city full of modern, clockwork transport (as they have in many European, capital and non capital cities). But I'm reaching the point now that the lack of lucidity from the backers/planners (outlined for the main on public forums such as Man Con) and hidden agendas is putting the idea to sleep in my head. I sometimes wonder what kind of responses the Commonwealth Games bid would've garnered on sites like this (where they in the realm 'back in those days')? Would people be critical of the amount of money spent and worried over an avalanche of extra taxes? Of course the games went on to be a great success for the city...but I feel this is a different kettle of fish altogether. Somebody up top ^^ has reemphasised the fact that £1.5 billion has already been allocated, then you take out the set up charges, 'back handers'/'jobs for mates' etc and what are we really left with? I'd love to see Manchester get the modern transport system it clearly needs: and what's evident from these posts is that almost everybody wants the same regardless over whether they agree with the proposals or not. This TIF, I'm sure (as there are no guarantees - and the 'missing documents' is a major concern here) won't really bring that - it won't bring an underground (yup - the journey from Manchester to where I live can take over an hour using cranky old bus stock, whilst the same journey in car can take 15 minutes. ). I prefer public transport for the most part when it works. I like to cycle as much as I can (which can be hairy in this city at best) and I get to read books, or listen to 'digital musical files' on buses etc and I've recently developed Asthma...a cleaner, greener, re regulated transport system seems to be a pipe dream for the time being at least.Despite their many faults and flaws, out city fathers have done wonders for the place over the past decade or two...but might it be time for a (excuse the timing of the phrase) change...?

scoteeeNovember 11th 2008.

Aww thanks Hun...I have brand new bio-degradable bottle for you..xxx

KerryNovember 11th 2008.

God the line for the Davenport station is bad, I always use Hazel Grove and it was just two weeks ago that the train was so full that half of us couldnt get on - waited for the next one only for it to have just two carriages and to be told that because it was from Buxton that if it was packed we would have to wait for another train again, when I asked if we could get compinsation as I had missed my connecting train I was told no and if anyone was not to go for the train they wouldnt even get their ticket money back. This Hazel Grove station train thankfully managed to get us on but went straight past both Woodsmoor and Davenport with people on the platforms, I also never heard the conductors asking if anyone wanted to get off there.At Stockport we were rudely told by the conductor to "pick up our feet and MOVE" we were packed so tight we couldnt even breathe let alone move to let people off.Something has to be done about this, we cant live with this shoddy transport plan we have at the moment.Kerry

Regen08November 11th 2008.

You've done it more succinctly and more effectively than I could Kevin. Keep up the good work!

Artie fufkinNovember 11th 2008.

As for doomsday scenario as you put it is supported by evidence. £1,300 (you can if you will take account for holidays so lets say it costs £1,200 out of the back pocket), Tax is 20% or 40% , NI 11% and employers NI 12.8% so the employer has to pay £1,874.40 - £1,965.60 assuming the empoyee takes a full 4 weeks holiday.As for impact on employment, economics dictakes that employment within the charge zones will fall. Based on hte work from Adam Smith through to Keynes to Milton Friedman. Even Marx agreed.I really can't see any justification in your claim "The benefits to Greater Manchester's businesses community brought about through this enormous investment in the city-region's transport infrastructure therefore far outstrip the costs involved in paying the limited charge.” Empirical eveidence in London suggests that is rubbish.

SuzanneNovember 11th 2008.

I really dont know where the NO Campaign get their cheek from. Anyone seen their posters wallpapering the Trafford Centre - it you want misleading and biased then look at them. They are blatantly trying to scare and mislead the public. Scandalous. I wont be going back to the Trafford Centre anytime soon.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2008.

Kev. Most people are being nice to you. If they say you must work for GMPTE, take it as though they don't want to call you what they really think... It's like not kicking a puppy, because the puppy doesn't know any better.

jmcNovember 11th 2008.

oh and kevin, the tram lines are going ahead regardless of the tif bid

championNovember 11th 2008.

There's going to be a congestion charge sooner or later, it's narrow minded to assume otherwise. Do the NO voters think that we're just going to carry on like this indefinitely until we reach gridlock? - at least this way we get £3bn. Use your intelligence.

JedsterNovember 11th 2008.

Good article, Jim. Manchester and its satellite towns desperately need the economic boost that a modern and proper transport infrastructure will help to bring. After so many years of neglect under the Tories before, 50 years' worth of progress in only 5 years will position Manchester up at the forefront again, where we belong amongst the world's other great cities. Listen to the 'no' dinosaurs, and we can only expect Manchester to remain lagging behind, choked up with traffic and pollution, and perpetually looking like some sad, sub-East End area of London.

NiallNovember 11th 2008.

I have no idea who's right and who's wrong about this. But that's no reason not to skewer the author's argument with some pedantry.Mr. Mackrell writes:"This is not mature, reasoned discourse. This is the political equivalent of howling at the moon." but the goes on in the next paragraph to write; "Come to think of it, wasn’t that the Returning Officer I spotted on the Grassy Knoll?"And this would be mature, reasoned discourse, I suppose?

polkyNovember 11th 2008.

"I like long walks and pina coladas!" - "Actually I hate pina coladas" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He can't be trusted!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

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