London Mayor Sadiq Khan is investing £150 million in a secret technology project that aims to enhance road-user charging technology, sparking concerns that it could lead to a pay-per-mile road tax. The Telegraph has the story.
The scheme, called Project Detroit, was set up by Transport for London (TfL) to create a “more sophisticated… new core technology platform for road-user charging”.
A series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests show 157 staff are now working solely on the scheme, with some engineers being paid more than £100,000 a year.
In total £21 million has already been spent on the project, which started in 2021, but the “platform has an estimated final cost of between £130 million to £150 million”.
But Conservatives at City Hall claim Project Detroit, which is creating a single “road user charging” platform for the congestion charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) and Low Emission Zone, could be used to introduce a charge based on the distance driven in cars within London.
One FoI response from TFL says: “The Detroit platform has the capability to be extended and we will be looking to build the system flexibly so that other forms of charging based on distance, vehicle type, etc. could be catered for if a decision was made in future to do so.”
In 2018, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy said an “integrated pay-per-mile charge could replace pre-existing schemes”, such as the congestion charge. …
Peter Fortune, the Conservative London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, insisted that Project Detroit paves the way for pay-per-mile charging.
“Sadiq Khan can deny it all he wants but it’s pretty clear he plans to introduce pay-per-mile road-user charges for every motorist if he wins a third term,” he said.
Worth reading in full.