LAST week you had a story on a new political row over the Mersey Gateway Bridge (Warrington Guardian, June 1).

I have been taking an interest in this scheme and started asking questions about it in 2003.

Much of what has been said by the Labour and Tory governments and the local councils has been misleading.

The scheme was originally for a new toll free bridge across the Mersey that was estimated to cost £202 million and would have been open to traffic by 2008.

The then Labour Government decided in 2004 that it would like the bridge to be tolled.

What has happened since then is a nightmare.

Construction did not start till 2014 and the costs to the Government have exploded.

The reality is that the Government – and thus all taxpayers – is bearing a tremendous cost for this tolled scheme.

The Government gave £86 million to Halton to develop the plan for a tolled bridge, they have guaranteed £257 million of the ‘private’ financing, and they have promised another £568 million in grants, which is mainly to cover the cost of discounts to Halton residents.

As if that were not enough the Government has also had to provide £1.7 billion in its latest published accounts in case something goes wrong with this scheme.

All of this for a crossing that could have been provided toll free for £202 million.

It is incredible that the Tory Government have the nerve to say that Warrington residents will have to pay if they use either the new bridge or the existing Silver Jubilee bridge.

Though given Labour’s traffic record it is unlikely that even if it is them who form the next Government there will be any change.

JOHN MCGOLDRICK National Alliance Against Tolls and Halton Against Tolls