E-toll decision by end of July
A decision on the Gauteng e-tolling system will only be made at the end of July, according to the Department of Transport (DOT).
The controversial system would have been implemented tomorrow; however, widespread outrage over the high tariffs resulted in implementation being suspended until public consultations were held. As a result, the DOT set up a steering committee to host the consultations.
The DOT now says the steering committee is putting the final touches to the consultation report, which will be submitted to transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele for consideration.
“Given the number of issues raised during the stakeholder engagement, it is expected that once the report is handed over to the minister, there will be another round of consultation with the stakeholders.”
However, ITWeb was previously told that the report had already been sent to the minister, who was considering the contents. The department now says the report is yet to be handed over and more consultations will be held.
“It is only after this consultation, by the end of July 2011, that the minister will then be in a position to issue a final decision on e-tolling for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme.”
It adds that this matter, which has attracted an outcry from a wide-ranging number of stakeholders, has to be dealt with thoroughly and in a manner that addresses the concerns raised during consultations.
“It is of importance that this process retains its integrity and that the outcome reflects the honest engagement we have had with stakeholders across the spectrum.”
The DOT says it is in the interest of road users that it does not rush into hasty decisions on the e-tolling issue as this might, however well-intended, undermine the very aim of having engaged with all the stakeholders.
The e-tolling project is an open road, multilane toll infrastructure that allows tolls to be charged without drivers having to stop. There are no physical booths.
The initial proposed fees of 66c/km for standard light motor vehicles, and R3.96/km for heavy vehicles were considered to be too high by several parties.
The estimated monthly revenue from e-tolling, based on current traffic flow and the proposed fees, is R300 million per month. Live testing of the e-tolling system has already begun.