E-toll

E-tolls not going anywhere

etoll.jpg

The electronic toll collection (e-tolling) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is not going anywhere says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.

Minister Peters reiterated on 11 May that South Africa needs to abide by the user-pays principle.

“We all know that we use the user-pays principle. We all know that SANRAL is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and maintaining roads at national level. And we all know that 86% of SANRAL budget is coming directly from the fiscus, while 14% is the tolled component of the budget,” Minister Peters said in a media briefing ahead of  tabling the department’s Budget Vote.

Minister Peters said as government, they appreciate the input from motorists in Gauteng.

“But we also appreciate that more than 1.3 million motorists in Gauteng have registered and come forth to say that can we make the system easier to understand and implement,” the Minister said, adding that was one of the reasons behind the 60% e-toll discount deadline extension by another 10 days to 17th of May.

Another reason for the extension, the department said, was the last minute rush leading up to 2nd May -- leaving thousands of road users outside the window period.

The Minister stood firm on the view that the e-toll system will help government roll out better roads and encourage the economic growth of the South African economy.

“We have also made available alternative toll free roads in Gauteng which are being kept in good standards.”

Transport the spine of the economy

Minister Peters considers her Ministry to be the spine of the South African economy.

“It is a well-known fact that without a fully functional spine, the body has limited or no movement at all and therefore, the performance of our department is of critical importance, and our country depends on it.”

She said the transport networks are the “arteries of the economy”, which move people to the workplace and goods to the marketplace.

“If the transport sector fails, the whole system collapses because goods and services cannot be moved and people cannot get to their places of work to generate economic activity that so vitally contributes to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Budget breakdown

The Minister announced that the budget breakdown for 2016/17 included: R24.5 billion for road transport, R19 billion for rail transport, R11.7 billion for public transport, R253 million for Civil Aviation, 122 million for maritime, R79 million for Integrated Transport Planning and R395 million for administration.

Safer roads

Through its lead agency on road safety, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the department, Minister Peters said, will go to every length and breadth, and shall stop at nothing until every single soul on the country’s roads is safe.

“The establishment of the Road Safety Advisory Council and the development of a National Road Safety Strategy with inputs from the Road Safety Summit, including Youth Summits currently underway across the country have the potential to catapult the country closer to realising the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action on Road Safety goals of halving fatalities by 2020.”

Comments on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill closed in December 2015. Its imminent roll out together with the introduction of the demerit system by Road Traffic Infringement Agency RTIA, will help to make the roads safer.

Through the AARTO, continuous offenders stand to be arrested and even lose their driving licences.

-SAnews.gov.za

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