A damning report by the Campaign for Better Transport casts doubt over Government plans to bring more private cash into the nation’s road network.
The report claims traffic jams around Birmingham are at least as bad as they were before the road was opened as drivers shun the 27-mile route which was intended to end gridlock on the M6.
The M6 toll road runs around the north west of Birmingham. It was built for £500m by the CAMBBA consortium of Carillion, Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and Amec and opened in December 2003.
Drivers were originally charged £2 to use the road by operator Midland Expressway Ltd but that has now risen to £5.
The report claims the rise has coincided with a fall in users.
It states that in the spring of 2006 the toll road attracted just under 60,000 drivers a day. By the start of this year, the figure had fallen to just over 40,000.
The report also says there is little evidence of congestion easing significantly on the M6 itself as the motorway turns to hard shoulder running to cope with traffic.
It states: “The M6 Toll has provided so little congestion relief that the Highways Agency has been forced to allocate hundreds of millions of pounds for additional capacity.”
Campaign leaders said: “Toll roads are not, and will never be, a solution to congestion on Britain’s roads, no matter how attractive they may appear to cash-strapped politicians desperate to deliver otherwise unaffordable road schemes.”
An MEL statement said: “Traffic growth remained strong despite the toll increase implemented on 1 March 2010.
“Average daily traffic grew by 4.1% during the June 2010 quarter with weekday traffic showing higher growth than weekend traffic.”