Ten Capitals in four days

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Sir,

I have read the many items about speed limits in the January, February and March issues with great interest, and I particularly enjoyed your 10 Capitals in four days in a BMW 3.0 CSL coupé. What a splendid car this BMW must be.

Unfortunately some readers have seen fit to criticise this fascinating test of endurance. Mr. Edwin Green mentions a generation of motorists arriving on the roads since the 70 m.p.h. limit was introduced, but up to 1930 there was a 20 m.p.h. speed limit, and before that 12 m.p.h. and even 4 m.p.h. speed limits. If Mr. Green’s line of reasoning had prevailed we should still be living in the age of the red flag act.

I would have thought that lack of care at cross roads and other junctions was a far greater cause of accidents than high speeds. However the tremendous density of traffic which is resulting in the overloading of Motorways is a great problem.

The trouble is that Britain and many other countries are starved of roads. It has taken Britain 15 years to complete the first 1,000 miles of Motorway, yet in 1848 no less than 1,182 miles of railway were opened to traffic in one year. The 1840s were the days of primitive tools, yet the Free Market economy made it possible to open hundreds of miles of railway year after year.

Surely the best solution to our transport problems would be to recapitalise the railway routes and let the new owners convert their valuable routes into Motorways. In his book “Capitalism and Freedom” Milton Friedman, Professor of Economics at Chicago University, advocates that long distance Motorways should be privately owned and operated and the enterprise running the Motorway should receive the fuel taxes paid on account of travel on it.

This seems a very sensible system, and I feel sure that if the free market was allowed to provide new roads, both by converting the recapitalised railway routes into roads and by new construction we should soon have a really comprehensive network of Motorways providing ample space for the growing number of cars, trucks and buses that industry and the individual will want to use in the future.

A.I. Watkinson – Harrogate.

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