The leader of Aontú, Peadar Tóibín TD, has condemned the government’s decision to increase toll costs across the country next month. He has hit out at former Minister Padraig Flynn whose Department entered contracts with private toll companies. It comes as Transport Infrastructure Ireland has confirmed to Aontú that one person was fined €25,000 after failing to pay a toll.
Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said:
“This decision by government to hike up toll costs next months is extremely badly timed. There appears to be no effort to stagger the scrapping of measures as they relate to the cost of living. Last week we had the excise duties returning to normal and pushing up the cost of diesel and petrol, this week we learn tolls will be going up next month – I don’t think it’s a co-incidence that this confirmation of the toll increase came during the Dáil recess! On the M50 The two bridges were built at a cost of £58m as a result of a Public Private Partnership signed by Pádraig Flynn who later received a donation of £8,000 from successful company. That company charged tolls on the bridges for many years and it recouped all the construction costs in just 1 year of tolls. It then sold the Bridges to the state €600m in 2007. The commuters using the bridge have paid €1.3bn in tolls just in last 9 years.
Yet every day the Government still charge hard pressed commuters”
Deputy Tóibín continued: “People are living in a commuter hell. It is a cash cow and the government are milking it. Hundreds of thousands of commuters are being forced to pay high motorway tolls every day. Many people are commuting up to three hours a day and they are paying thousands of euro in tolls to do so. There are four Tolls in County Meath. Someone living in Kells or Cavan and working in south Dublin can be hit for €3,600 a year just on tolls. Aontú research has shown that Commuters have paid €1.2 billion in tolls on the M50 toll in just the last 9 years. This is a state-owned infrastructure and commuters have already more than paid for its construction. Our research has shown that people are being fined as much as €25,000 for not paying the toll. We have this ludicrous situation where people are paying fines costing more than the value of their car for travelling on a National Route that we already own”.
“Aontú is reiterating our call for the M50 toll to be scrapped, and for a reduction in toll prices across the country, given the cost of living crisis. The huge profits generated from the M50 should be used to buy out the smaller tolls so that at least monies taken in will be kept public, rather than going to private and often foreign companies. One thing is for certain – now is not the time to increase toll charges! The Greens ought to be ashamed of themselves hammering down on road-users based on their own ideology but offering little alternatives by way of expansion of the rail network”, concluded Tóibín.