Cape Town – Toll fees at the Huguenot Tunnel are likely to increase if upgrades are carried out, the South African Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Tuesday.
Sanral admitted that it is non-compliant in certain aspects of its Huguenot Tunnel operation, and that it requires R1.5bn to address safety concerns.
Regional manager for Sanral Kobus van der Walt told Fin24 on the sidelines of a site visit that toll tariffs are likely to increase should upgrades go ahead.
“They will likely increase, but tariffs have not been set so I cannot really say what the situation is because of the delay period,” he said.
Van der Walt said the proposal by certain stakeholders that Sanral should fund the Winelands toll road project in its entirety is uninformed.
“The initial cost of works would be R10bn, which is just R2bn short of Sanral’s total allocation per annum,” he said.
The operation and upgrades to the Huguenot Tunnel have been incorporated into the broader Cape Winelands toll project.
The City of Cape Town has brought an application for Sanral's decision to toll other sections of the N1 and N2 highways into Cape Town to be reviewed and set aside.
A decision by the Western Cape High Court is still pending.
Van der Walt also said the fuel levy charged to road users is inadequate to fund the project.
He said motorists already get back in full their fuel levy through what the National Treasury allocates to roads.
“In 2014/15 National Treasury collected R46bn in fuel levies and R7.2bn in vehicle licence fees, which make a total of R53.2bn.
“In turn, what was allocated to roads was R44bn across the three spheres of government; R4.9bn on public transport infrastructure, R7.1bn on bus subsidies and R266m on road traffic management.
“The total expenditure was R56.3bn. There was therefore a subsidy of R3.1bn coming from the fiscus,” he said.
Mayoral Committee Member of Transport for Cape Town Brett Herron on Tuesday said tolling would have a disproportionate impact on poor and low-income residents.
According to Herron, the existing toll at the tunnel was meant to be dedicated to financing its maintenance.
“Sanral should explain what has happened with decades of funds collected for that very purpose and in the past two years since the City was granted the interdict,” Herron said.