Relief Still Awaited
Liverpool official circles, acting on a rumour that the Government might nationalise the Mersey Tunnel, are taking immediate action, although this has not been accomplished through the Minister of Transport's Road Bill.
For some time past the Mersey Tunnel Joint Committee has been urging the Government to relieve the municipalities concerned by taking over the tunnel. Mr. Hore-Belisha's Bill, the text of which is now available, is to nationalise 4,500 miles of trunk roads, and it makes no provision for the Mersey Tunnel.
A Big Measure of Relief
If the Government took over responsibility for the finances and management of the Mersey Tunnel a big measure of relief would be afforded to both Liverpool and Birkenhead which, between them, are meeting the differences between the tunnel revenue and the loan charges and costs of running.
For the current year the estimated deficiency on the tunnel account is £211,398, inclusive of over £80,000 representing the loss on the Birkenhead goods ferry and the Rock Ferry passenger service. Of the total deficiency Liverpool this year pays £191,132 and Birkenhead £20,266.
Abolition of Tolls
The nationalisation of the tunnel would help to solve the financial difficulties of the two boroughs and, in addition, if it meant the abolition of tolls, it would greatly facilitate traffic, both goods and passenger, and help towards the co-ordination of Merseyside transport and other public services. In Liverpool a Id. rate is £24,024 and in Birkenhead £3,800, so the extent of the relief if the Government took over the tunnel can easily be estimated,