Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Even the President has to Pay Congestion Tolls Because the Embassy Won't

The Mail Online reports that U.S. President Obama is not exempt from the London congestion toll. From the story:
Barack Obama will have to pay the London congestion charge for his mammoth security vehicle 'The Beast', London Mayor Boris Johnson said today.

Each car in the President's huge fleet, including the notorious armoured Cadillac, will be billed $16 for journeys made through the centre of London in peak time during his state visit.

'Our roads were not closed during the President's visit so his motorcade will pay. The Beast will pay the charge, I'm delighted to say,' Mr Johnson said.

And talk about the "Ugly Americans," here is why the London Mayor is so insistent that the President pay up:
The Mayor of London has put his foot down after speaking to Mr Obama about the U.S. embassy's refusal to pay $8.7million in fines incurred while driving in London's congestion zone.

The embassy claim it is immune from paying the charge because it is technically a tax, which should be reserved for UK residents alone.

Mr Johnson, however, remains defiant on the issue and told the U.S. President during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace that his fleet would not be receiving preferential treatment.

It is a good thing the President's limo is equipped to pay tolls, as I blogged about here.

UPDATE: I would be remiss if I didn't point out that congestion tolls are not taxes in the traditional sense. If you drive, you cause congestion and should be subject to any tolls designed to reduce congestion.

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