TRANSPORT: Road Tolling Stance Welcomed
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE Cape Chamber of Commerce welcomes the decision by the Minister of Transport, Sbu Ndebele, to halt work on all new toll road projects.
Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber, said it was clear that Sanral had failed to build cost-effective roads and a complete rethink on the whole approach to road construction and tolling was now required.
Tolls could be an effective way to finance major projects such as the Huguenot Tunnel but it was now clear that their use had to be limited to projects where they offered value to business and the public.
Peter Hugo, chairman of the Chamber Transport Portfolio Committee, said “good roads play a huge role in the development of the economy, especially in the absence of efficient rail transport, but we have to find a fairer way to pay for them.”
Traditionally, South Africa had used a levy on fuel and the Chamber regarded this as the most efficient user-pay system to finance the network of roads. “It is fair in that the people who make most use of the roads and use the biggest engines to pull their loads pay most,” Hugo said.
He pointed out that it was an easy charge to collect and it saved the cost of building the toll plazas as well as the staff to collect the money and administer the system.
Hugo said the Chamber believed strongly that the levy on fuel should be ring-fenced to ensure that it was used only for roads and related transport projects. “We need exactly the same system as the Road Accident Fund which is also financed from a ring-fenced levy on fuel.
“It is a simple, effective way to collect the money and pay for the roads and we can’t think why it was ever discarded in favour of a more complicated and expensive system.”
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