Avis welcomes government's cautious road tolling stance
The recent change in tack on road tolling as mentioned by the Department of Transport is welcome says Wayne Duvenage, chief executive of Avis, an avid opponent of the E-Tolling of Gauteng's freeways, in what he describes a most inefficient method of fund collection for road infrastructure and maintenance of city freeways and commuter routes.
“We are encouraged that the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Jeremy Cronin has indicated the process has been flawed by a lack of proper and meaningful consultation by SANRAL, something we have advocated ever since we saw the gantries going up. We are also pleased to see the formation of new task teams and a planned review of all future road tolling. We suggest this includes a review of the use of the levies collected from fuel sales into this exercise, along with an assessment of the transparency and use of funds of all tolling concessions granted, to ensure that the SA motorist receives the lowest possible tolling costs along all our long distance routes,” says Duvenage.
There is concern around the notion that the "horse has bolted" on the Gauteng gantries, assuming that because the gantries have been erected, the public must accept that the "1st phase" of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will still be tolled according to plan. Duvenage adds, “E-Tolling as proposed for the Gauteng freeways is grossly expensive, inefficient and should be halted at all costs. The continued motivation thereof will be throwing good money after bad. Scrap this idea and put the gantries to other good use and raise the funds through the efficient fuel levy methodology of revenue collection.”
The elaborate plans to build a new tolled highway through the Transkei is an example of an absolute waste of road users money and a lack of consultation with the local communities, who have been very vocal in denouncing the elaborate plan by SANRAL.
“What SANRAL seems to overlook is that Tolling is another form of tax and their continued argument of a "user pays principal" does not hold water when it comes to Urban Routes. These are the daily "bread earning" routes, which the public traverse to get to work, a very different and ethical issue to that of tolling a long distance routes that one may infrequently travel to go on holiday or an odd trip. Our roads and freeways in SA belong to all of us. We need an efficient and transparent means of funding these,” concludes Duvenage.