A Plaid Cymru government would begin working now to significantly reduce tolls on the Severn Bridges and to make the statement that Wales is open for business for companies from over the border, said the party’s Shadow Minister for Transport. Rhodri Glyn Thomas has called on the Welsh Government to make the case for responsibility for the bridge to be devolved so that Wales can benefit from it.
Ownership of the bridge will be passed to the Department for Transport when the private company which owns it pays back its debt, which is likely to happen in 2018.
Rhodri Glyn Thomas said that a £2 toll for using the bridge will cover maintenance costs for the bridge. Running costs for the Severn Bridge amount to £15 million a year. Currently, consumers and businesses pay in excess of £72 million every year to cross the bridge.
Party of Wales Shadow Minister for Transport, Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:
“Plaid Cymru has always said that lowering the Severn Bridge tolls would bring huge benefits for the Welsh economy. In 2011 it was our manifesto commitment to reduce the tolls and a Plaid Cymru government would be making the case for that now.
“When the private company relinquishes its ownership of the bridge in 2018, the Welsh Government needs to be ready to step in for the benefit of the people of Wales.
“People travelling home to see their families over Christmas will be charged £6 and businesses with lorries will have to may so much more, and this goes against everything the Welsh Government should be doing to improve the Welsh economy.
“Cutting the toll to cover maintenance would save millions for consumers and businesses and would cost the Welsh Government nothing. The UK Government needs to commit to giving the democratically elected Welsh Assembly control over the bridges so that Plaid Cymru’s economic policy can be implemented in the interest of the people of Wales.”