TRANSPORT: Toll Roads Questioned
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE decision to go ahead with the N1 and N2 toll roads raised serious questions about the value of the whole process of public consultation, says the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We don’t know of a single representative body which actually supported the tolling of these roads but it seems that the projects are still to go ahead despite the united opposition,” said Gerald Wolman, President of the Chamber.
He asked what the purpose of consultation was if it produced a massive negative which was then ignored.
“It is true that some concessions have been made such as the section of the N2 which will go underground to avoid the divisive effect on a local community, but that does not deal with the principle of tolling within the economic catchment area of a city. The opposition was about this principle and not the need to upgrade the two roads in question.”
Wolman said the Chamber and other major bodies like the City Council had argued that tolling was unfair in an urban area and that it would have major consequences such as the diversion of traffic onto other roads and through residential areas. This raised questions of safety and extra wear and tear on municipal roads would produce maintenance costs for ratepayers.
The tolls would also skew the development of the city as decisions on the locality of new projects would be influenced by the tolls.
“We must also look at the effect of the tolls on the lives of the people who live and work in the city. It is an unfortunate fact that Apartheid planning moved the poor to more distant areas of the city and, in many cases, they are the ones who will be most adversely affected by the tolls.”
He said these were real, solid arguments from representative bodies and not “Nimby” objections.
“We must now ask: What is the point of public consultation if the results of the process are simply over-ruled?”
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