I was never enthused by the congestion charge. I don’t think pricing poorer people off the roads is the way to go, but I voted yes because it was to unlock Transport Innovation Fund money and it was hard to imagine the city securing a similar level of investment any other way. And having voted yes, I was very disappointed to be on the losing side.
But this plan, drawn up after the city so forcefully rejected TIF, appears to deliver the key benefits for less than half the price. It really is difficult to see what extra – apart from a congestion charge – TIF would have delivered.
Manchester will finally get a decent public transport system, but the city will not be grateful. The investment clearly could and should have been signed off years ago, dragging the government kicking and screaming has been a costly exercise.