Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has come out and made a stand against a complete influx of driverless vehicles. Khan's biggest concerns are the probable drop of government tax revenues and the impact on Londons initiative to become more of a cycle city. It also brings up the question of who will be funding highway improvements if tax revenues plummet as expected.
Khan, along with Transport For London, submitted their concerns to the Automated and Electric Vehicle Bill's Parliamentary committee, which read;
"A move towards new technologies like electric vehicles is likely to reduce taxation income for the government which could impact on the funding available for highway improvements"
The congestion charge in it's current format netted TfL £249.6million in fiscal year 2016/17. Not the sort of figure to be sniffed at, right?. Let's not forget that drivers of cars and vans that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 are exempt from it. A change over to electric driverless vehicles would see those earnings diminish.
Khan and TfL's joint submission also said;
"New technologies must be considered alongside a new approach to funding roads, and government should give consideration to the potential of road user charging systems as a means both of funding road use and of managing demand for road space" The register reported.
Cleaner air is on the menu, but not at the expense of nearly a quarter of a billion pounds. Drop in revenue must be made up somewhere. A new tax for electric and driverless vehicles? Higher costs to charge electric vehicles?
Watch this space.