Sinn Féin calls for end to tolls on M50
Speaking on the eve of the end of barrier tolling on the M50 Motorway Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said it is time for the Government to end tolling for motorists. Senator Doherty said now that the ownership of the West-Link bridge has passed on to the State motorists should no longer have to pay tolls.
Senator Doherty said, "Irish motorists have paid for the M50 Motorway many times over through tolls paid to the private company National Toll Roads (NTR) over a period of eighteen years. Now that the ownership of the West-Link bridge has passed to the state motorists should no longer be made to pay these unfair charges.
"The Government's reluctance to invest money in major Irish roads and its dependence on private partnership arrangements with private companies for the building of our roads has led to a situation where Irish motorists have paid for the M50 Motorway many times over. And now the Government now wants to continue tolling motorists to cover the €600 million cost of buying NTR out of the tolls.
"This is totally unacceptable. At a time of economic instability when everyone is feeling the pinch the Government should be looking at ways to ease the burden on the public. Lifting these unfair and unnecessary tolls would be one way of doing this.
"Had the Government invested public money in the building of the M50 in the first place tolls would have ended many years ago and the €600 million buyout of NTR would not be necessary.
"The most worrying part of all this is that the Government seems to have learnt nothing from this episode. It continues to insist on the use of Public Private Partnerships for the building of other roads throughout the Country including the M3 Motorway. I can only imagine that this is down to some ideological position as there is certainly no economic arguments for it other than the benefit to the private company involved.
"Sinn Féin is fundamentally opposed to tolls whether they are with or without barriers. Neither private companies nor the government should be able to hold the travelling public to ransom. Road taxes are paid by motorists to cover the costs of building and maintaining roads. Tolls are simply another form of double taxation." ENDS