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Tolled off; YOUR LETTERS.

I WOULD like to advise S More ('End the tolls', ECHO October 31), regarding finance and expenditure within the Mersey Tunnels.

He is mistaken if he believes the cost of operating Mersey Tunnels is pounds 21m a year. The tunnels are currently breaking even, and finance is as follows:

Revenue from tunnels tolls:

pounds 30.6m a year.

Debt (capital financing): pounds 14m a year.

Structural renewal and refurbishment costs: pounds 5.6m a year (average).

Annual operating costs: Approx pounds 11m, including pounds 8m in wages and salaries for the 350 people employed within Mersey Tunnels complex.

Debts still owed on the tunnels now stand at pounds 113m. If Gordon Brown sent me a cheque tomorrow to pay off the outstanding debt, pounds 16.5m would still be required to maintain and operate the tunnels each year because of wages, maintenance and refurbishment, etc.

Does S More really believe that, as well as paying off such a huge debt, any government (of whichever political colour) would then sign a yearly cheque for at least pounds 16.5m - ad infinitum? S More's idea, if implemented, would mean gridlock within the areas of the Birkenhead, Wallasey and Liverpool tunnels.

Major cities are becoming more and more gridlocked by the day, and 10% of our children now suffer with respiratory illnesses, yet S More considers adding to problems that will not go away.

Criticism is part of my daily job.

But please, before I am put to the sword, at least condemn me on true facts.

Cllr Mark Dowd, chairman, Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2001
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