Gauteng tolls more than richer countries

GAUTENG citizens will pay more for toll fees than their counterparts in richer countries.

Presenting his report to the E-Toll management committee yesterday, economist Mike Schussler said the toll pricing will result in a declined economy.

Basic needs like bread will go up by 2percent in Gauteng as a result of toll fees, said Schussler.

"The building cost per kilometre spent on this toll road project is between 106percent and 228percent more expensive than equivalent international road improvement projects," he said.

Schussler said even the discounted 55 cents per kilometre seems high as on selected US tolls "they pay an average of 37 South African cents after discounts".

He said with the petrol price, food and other commodities going up, Gauteng's poor communities will be the hardest hit.

The tolling will result in a 2percent hike in personal taxes for Gauteng citizens and is likely to affect GDP growth negatively.

South African National Roads Agency Limited , which manages the national road network, said it would receive R300million in income from Gauteng tolling fees.

Sanral went to markets and raised R20 billion, to be repaid in 20 years.

Schussler said there needed to be an independent regulatory body to determine toll fees, instead of having one organisation that came up with fees.

The DA's Neil Campbell said consumers were already heavily taxed and most people do not have extra cash lying around to pay additional fees.

He called on government to increase the fuel levy and strictly use it for road maintenance.

"South Africans are already paying the fuel levy, traffic fines and other transport-related taxes. The fuel levy should be ring-fenced to pay for roads only."

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said regulating should be established to prevent road users and consumers being "exploited" for exorbitant toll fees as currently proposed.

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