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Cullen buying out tolls in Dublin while introducing them elsewhere – Crowe

21 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has welcomed the buyout of tolls on the M50 but said motorists should not be made to pay anymore tolls to cover the cost as they have paid for the road many times over already. Deputy Crowe said the Government's decision to buy-out the tolls at a massive cost to the tax-payer of €600 million, is added proof of the failure of the Public Private Partnership arrangements for building roads and called on Transport Minister Martin Cullen to invest public money generated by the economy in all future roads.

Deputy Crowe said, "The buy-out of the tolls for €600 million and the introduction of barrier free tolling means motorists will be subject to tolls for another twelve years. This is unacceptable as motorists have already paid for the M50 many times over through the tolls paid to National Toll Roads (NTR).

"Had the Government of the time used public money only for the building of the M50 tolls would have ended many years ago and this buy-out would not be necessary. That is the simple lesson that must be learnt from this sorry episode. As Minister Cullen prepares to part with €600 million of tax-payers money, €713 million when the cost of introducing barrier free tolling is included, elsewhere he is adamant that other roads will be built under the same arrangements that his colleagues agreed to build the M50 with National Toll Roads in 1987. This is a completely contradictory position for the Minister to take.

"I would urge the Minister invest public money only in the building of all future roads including the M3 and others throughout the country to ensure that we don't end up in this situation again a few years down the line.

"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

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