LAST week, the Globe reported on my complaint about the vast profits being made from Mersey Tunnels tolls.

You also reported the response from the Combined Authority who set the tolls.

I would like to reply to some of the comments that they made.

The authority say that "The cost of constructing the tunnels has not yet been paid off and that will not be the case for decades."

The cost of land acquisition and construction for the Birkenhead Tunnel was £7 million (of which the Government contributed £3 million).

For the Wallasey Tunnel the land and construction cost was £37 million.

The budgeted tolls income for 2024/25 is over £45 million, so the amount collected in just one year will be more than the cost of building both tunnels.

Read more: Call to scrap Mersey Tunnel tolls continues after campaigners blast 'vast profits'

If the construction cost has not been paid off, then it can only be because the authority and its predecessors have used, for other purposes, money that could have paid off the debt long ago.

The authority said that "The tunnel does not make a profit – the surplus from tolls is spent on local transport schemes....".

The authority is playing with words. A 'surplus' is a profit, even though the amount of it is not made clear by the authority.

The authority said that "It is a positive benefit that the money raised locally through the tolls is spent here in the city region, unlike road tax and general taxation which goes into a central pot."

Drivers and businesses from Wirral and elsewhere will not consider it a benefit to them that their money is spent "in the city region".

If the Tunnels were taken over nationally, then the amount of local spending on maintenance of the Tunnels would not necessarily be any less than now.

The main difference would be that all the necessary Tunnels spending would be financed from taxes, as is the case with the vast majority of the other roads and crossings in the UK.

The authority also said that "The expenditure and income from the Mersey Tunnels is detailed annually in the Merseytravel Statement of Accounts, which are published on the Combined Authority website."

This claim is a fantasy. There are no detailed Tunnels figures published on the authority's website. The last time that they published any detailed figures was for the year 2016/2017, nearly seven years ago.

The authority also said that "The Queensway (Birkenhead Tunnel) will celebrate its 90th birthday later this year".

I don't think that many drivers will be celebrating ninety years of tolls, especially when it was promised that the tolls were only to be for a short time. In any case that 90th birthday has already gone. The Birkenhead Tunnel opened to traffic on December 17, 1933.

All that happened in 1934 was that King George V came along on July 18 and declared that the Tunnel was open.

The same day the king also 'opened' the East Lancs Road and the new building for Birkenhead Central Library in Borough Road.

John McGoldrick Scarp Mersey Tolls