Apparently London has won hundreds of millions of pounds to transform some of the capital’s greatest assets and eyesores in yestoday’s Budget.
New housing, railway links and big ticket development schemes, from the landmark Brent Cross shopping centre to the Aylesbury Estate, were at the heart of Boris's mate George Osborne’s package.
There was also a surprise announcement of a £200million fund to help Boris deliver his proposed ultra-low emission zone by 2020, to tackle London’s poor air quality.
The cash will be used to encourage taxi drivers to upgrade their black cabs (also available in other colours) to zero-emission vehicles using loans.
It will also help pay for new electric single-decker buses, such as those already used in Milton Keynes.
The money available (£200m), when divided up between Bus and Taxi numbers, works out roughly to be around £5,700 per vehicle. That's assuming Buses and Taxis get an equal share. This new fund will be in the form of a loan that will have to be repayed.
As we know, there are many who make their living off the backs of hard working Taxi drivers. When they find out about the money available, they will all be sticking their snouts in the trough. All that will be left for the ordinary driver, will be the slops.
I bet black horse finance will be over the moon with that one.
Wonder what happened to the proposed scrapage scheme for older Taxis, much talked about in 2010?
Allegedly, not one driver has seen a penny.
Boris has already promised £2billion for cycle projects around London, so proper funding would be available if it was really needed.
The Mayor is asking us to make a massive investment into a futuristic, untried technology at our own expense, at no cost to him as any money to help will have to be repaid. But let's not forget, to help us invest in the future, he has just given us the lowest fare increase for ten years. You really couldn't make this stuff up.
Doesn't matter how this technology is dressed up, as it stands at the moment with the uncertainty of battery life, cost of renting battery packs, unsuitable charging points, announcement that it will no longer be free to charge, and overall cost of the vehicle....in the words of Steve a MacNamara and Grant Davis, I ain't getting one.
Other incentives to get drivers to upgrade to a new vehicle will include:
A ten year age limit, currently being promoted by the Mayor and leaders of Central London Boroughs, probably decreasing to a 7 year limit by 2020.
Even the Green Party's Baroness Jones stated to Boris this will not in itself bring down emissions.
We know this, as we've see in two major reports, new Taxi models are more polluting when it comes to PM10s and NOx.
And at present, there is no exemption mechanism currently in place for euro5 models to enter ULEZ.
So are drivers purchasing new vehicles today,mlooking at a working life for their new vehicle of 5 years 9 months?
Roll on the Mayoral elections.