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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wants the U.S. embassy to cover the costs the president’s motorcade has racked up driving through the city’s downtown core. The U.K. capital has special traffic congestion fines for vehicles caught on the roads without the proper permission, and Obama’s limo (aka “The Beast”) falls in the group, as do the rest of the vehicles in his motorcade.
In addition to these fines, Johnson wants the U.S. embassy to pay up on past fines of this sort, which now total the astronomical sum of $8.7 million.
The U.S embassy claims it is immune to paying the charge because it is technically a tax, which should be reserved for UK residents alone. The mayor spoke to the President during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace explaining that the Presidential fleet would not be receiving special treatment.
“The presidential motorcade is subject to the congestion charge,” said a London transport official in a statement. “Any vehicle, regardless of where it is registered, which is identified within the congestion charging zone during the hours of operation without a valid charge, discount or exemption may be subject to a penalty.”
The U.S. Embassy remains insistent it will not pay the fines, including the fee for ‘The Beast’ and the rest of the President’s motorcade.
[Source: Daily Mail]
This week Nissan‘s UK subsidiary handed the keys of one of its Leaf Electric cars to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The ceremony was part of a pilot program, initiated by Transport for London which will use the car on a trial basis for approximately one month, to determine the effectiveness of electric cars in city driving. Johnson has already pledged that London will become the ‘electric vehicle’ of Europe and a plan is in place to set up a network of some 1300 electric charging stations throughout the city by 2013.
At the handing over ceremony, Johnson remarked “I am pleased to accept a Nissan Leaf on Transport for London’s behalf so more of our staff can experience the silent, smooth electric experience for themselves, whilst carrying out their duties. We are looking forward to Nissan becoming one of our fantastic Source London partners helping us to make electric driving an easier, more convenient choice.”
The Leaf will join an existing fleet of electric vehicles currently operated by Transport for London and will be used primarily by Surface Transportation staff to inspect traffic signals and cameras.
The Leaf is currently one of the most talked about cars in the media and having already won the coveted European car of the Year award as well as the 2011 World Car of the Year honor.