Severn Bridge tolls "unlikely to be reduced"
Any cut in the cost of crossing the Severn Bridges over the next few years looks unlikely, it has emerged.
It had been hoped by many that when the current private contract runs out in 2018 the toll charges could be reduced.
But these hopes have been dashed, according to the BBC, by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond.
It is reported that the MP said he believed there would be no drop in price due to repair costs and UK government debts on construction.
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Earlier this year the firm which owns the two Severn Bridges struck a deal to operate its controversial tolls for longer.
The French owners of the bridges charge car drivers £6 to cross into Wales per journey.
The tolls are among the highest in the country and have long been criticised on both sides of the Severn.
The money collected from motorists is being used to pay for the cost of building the new Severn Bridge with the bill to be paid in 2016.
But The Post reported earlier this year that it was likely to be extended after it emerged that Severn River Crossings plc, the company set up to run the bridges, made losses of £13 million last year.
As a result the company struck a deal with the Highways Agency to allow it to run the bridges until it has gathered an extra £33 million.
Mr Hammond was talking about the bridge tolls when he was questioned by Welsh MPs about the issue on Tuesday.
He said the process of repayment on government debts on the construction and maintenance of the bridges was likely to continue until the early 2020s.