THE RAILWAY PROBLEM
[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sin,—Your first correspondent, Mr. E. Peter Jones, stated that motorists were paying the whole cost of maintaining and improving the roads. In reply, I quoted the expenditure in 1930/1 and pointed out that it included improvements, new construction and loan charges on outstanding borrowings. Mr. Owtram writes that I estimated " the annual cost of the roads " ; that my method of doing so is open to objection, and that I rely on the figures of 1980/31. This is entirely incorrect.
I quoted the last published expenditure figures, 1980/31, explaining what they covered, but did not estimate the annual cost of the roads. Such cost is not measurable by one year's outlay, and elsewhere I have expressed my opinion that, properly defined, it is about £140,000,000 per annum.
In my letter, I wrote : " Assuming, however, that' we users' pay the whole cost of the roads attributable to them . . . " Mr. Owtram replies : " Mr. Wood says that the fact that motor transport, as a whole, is sufficiently taxed . . " An amazing piece of distortion.—I am, Sir, &c.,
Euston Station, London, N:W.1.