Tolls relief for Gauteng motorists

2012-02-22 12:10

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had some good news for Gauteng drivers today – and some bad news, depending on how you look at it.

Good news:
» Toll fees for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project will be slashed in half from the current 66c/km for those with e-tags.
Bad news:
» It will still cost 30c/km for cars.

Good news:
» Tolls for frequent users will be capped and it will cost daily Pretoria-Johannesburg commuters about half of previous estimates.
Bad news:
» The cap is at R550 per month.

Good news:
» A starting date for the tolls has been set.
Bad news:
» It’s in just over two months’ time: April 30.

Good news:
» Alternative routes like the R55 and R101 will be improved by the Gauteng government over the short to medium term. Government will continue to invest and speed up public transport upgrading.
Bad news:
» No concrete plans were announced in this regard.

Good news:
» Government will rely on the honesty of users to pay.
Bad news:
» Amendments will be made to the law soon to give the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) power to enforce the tolls.

Gordhan, flanked by Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele and other government finance heads, announced the tolls “concessions” during a media lock-up in Parliament this morning ahead of his budget speech in the National Assembly.

He said the reductions were made possible by National Treasury giving Sanral R5.75 billion to help contain its debt.

Treasury was “lucky” to have found the extra cash to reduce the toll burden, Gordhan said. The money came from a higher than projected collection of revenue in the previous tax year, as well as money that was refunded from Armscor.

Gordhan said the new fees were decided on at a Cabinet meeting this morning and it illustrated that “government has been sensitive to concerns raised on the pricing structure”.

He said the reductions were meant to “reduce the burden on South African commuters”, and the lessons learnt would be applied to any similar road-building projects in the future. Toll roads have already been mooted for the N2 in the Eastern Cape as well as national roads around Cape Town.

Gordhan said government believed users should pay for services they received, like tolling, except when they were too poor to do so.

Various interest groups, including labour federation Cosatu and the DA, have threatened to boycott the tolls unless other means were found to fund the roads.

The new fees are as follows:
Light vehicles: 30c/km
Non-articulated trucks: 75c/km
Articulated trucks: R1.51c/km
Taxis, buses and other public transport vehicles: free

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