e-Tolls likely to be reviewed

e-Tolls likely to be reviewed

JOHANNESBURG – THE  SA National Roads Agency Limited will implement the final outcomes resulting from the e-toll advisory panel and the upcoming consultation processes, it said on Thursday.

“Sanral will be informed about the outcomes of the deliberations via the minister of transport,” said spokesman Vusi Mona.
“We will then implement what has been decided should be the way forward.”
On Thursday, Gauteng premier David Makhura released the findings and recommendations made by the panel.
The panel was appointed on July 17 to examine the economic and social impact of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the e-tolling system set up to fund it.
Spokesman for the ministry of transport Tiyani Rikhotso said they had noted the report.
The department would be part of a consultative process led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“We will therefore engage the contents of the report including recommendations through the process,” he said.
Makhura told reporters in Johannesburg that the panel had made over 50 recommendations.
“The main recommendation of the panel is that elements of the current e-toll system must be reviewed to address the questions of affordability, equity, fairness, administrative simplicity and sustainability,” he said.
Some of the recommendations included issues of public transport infrastructure, environmental sustainability and spatial integration of the Gauteng province.
A hybrid funding model was recommended which would relieve some of the burden on commuters.
“In its current form, the e-toll system is unaffordable and inequitable and places disproportionate burden on low and middle income households,” he said.
Hybrid funding would consist of a combination of e-tolls and other sources.
“The hybrid funding model must consist of contributions by car users,” said Makhura.
Alternative sources could include funding from the provincial fiscus, a national fuel levy and increasing the costs of advertising along the toll routes.
One of the options being explored was a flat rate.
“The hybrid model must make it easy for people to budget. With the current system… the people say we don’t know how much to budget.”
Makhura said those having to commute into the city daily from the outskirts were bearing the brunt of e-tolling.
Complete exemption from paying e-tolls for low-income vehicle owners was one of the recommendations listed in the report.
“It’s not sustainable that some people pay and others don’t pay. That’s why we need an affordable flat rate to ensure that all the users of our road are able to contribute,” he said.
Road users should continue to pay e-tolls while various stakeholders including local, provincial and national government, went through the consultation process, he advised.
“As we are finding appropriate responses to the concerns that have been raised… my advice would be that the people must continue to pay as we find lasting solutions.”
The ANC in Gauteng welcomed the release of the report.
“We welcome the panel’s multi-pronged approach in finding solutions of using a system of mixed revenue streams, traffic demand management measures, tariff reduction, lowering monthly caps and exemptions to mitigate social impacts and simplification of administrative systems,” said spokesman Nkenke Kekana in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it was concerned that e-tolling appeared to remain on the cards.
“E-tolls still appears to be part of the solution they want to provide. That’s a real concern for us, because they do talk about the fact that e-tolls is inefficient, it has high costs, it’s cumbersome and with many administrative problems,” said Outa’s Wayne Duvenage.
He commended Makhura for setting up the panel.
Earlier, Duvenage said he had been barred from attending the premier’s presentation
Security guards had been provided with Duvenage’s photo and had refused to let him into the building, he said. - Sapa