'Bid to scrap motorway toll will go on'

'Bid to scrap motorway toll will go on'

Efforts to cut congestion by making the M6 Toll road free to motorists will continue, council leaders have pledged.

The West Midlands Combined Authority attempted to purchase free access to the motorway for £15 million as part of the devolution deal it has signed with Chancellor George Osborne.

No agreement was reached in time for the purchase to form part of the deal but the authority says it will carry on negotiating with the Government.

It says scrapping the £5.50 toll for motorists would take more vehicles off nearby stretches of the M6, which are often among the most congested sections of motorway in the UK.

An estimated 200,000 drivers a day pass through Spaghetti Junction on the M6 every day while the 27-mile M6 Toll, which opened in 2003, is used by little over 50,000.

Robert Alden, the leader of the Conservative group on Birmingham City Council, says having an underused motorway while traffic is at a standstill on the M6 is "crazy".

He says scrapping the toll would be welcomed by transport firms, adding that it would also encourage more north-south through traffic to come off the M6.

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Copyright Press Association 2015