TOLLS SET TO STAY OR IT’S A €7M PAY-OFF

Mid Louth Independent - - NEWS - BY FIONA MA­GEN­NIS

There was dis­ap­point­ing news for Drogheda this week as Min­is­ter for Trans­port Shane Ross con­firmed the tolls on the Donore Road are here to stay.

The Min­is­ter had vis­ited the site in re­cent weeks and there were hopes the toll, which ap­plies to any­one en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing the town at the Donore Road, might be re­moved.

How­ever, re­spond­ing to a re­cent par­lia­men­tary ques­tion tabled on be­half of Se­na­tor Ged Nash, the Min­is­ter said: ‘There is no pro­vi­sion un­der leg­is­la­tion by which I could re­view toll charges such as those in the M1.’ Se­na­tor Nash has crit­i­cised the re­cent visit which he de­scribed as noth­ing more than ‘a photo op­por­tu­nity’. ‘The Dail record now con­firms that the pur­pose of Min­is­ter Ross’s re­cent visit to the toll ramp was ex­actly what I thought it was at the time; a com­pete waste of time and noth­ing but a photo op­por­tu­nity to pla­cate his lo­cal col­leagues,’ said Se­na­tor Nash. ‘In his re­ply he states clearly and cat­e­gor­i­cally that he does not have the power to re­move the toll, and even if he did that he would not ‘un­der­write’ the loss of in­come that would arise for the toll com­pany in the event that the ramp tolling on the Donore in­ter­change was lifted. ‘The bot­tom line is that he has ruled out pay­ing out €7 mil­lion or more in tax­pay­ers money to lift the toll, claim­ing that the only way the toll com­pany could be com­pen­sated for do­ing so would be to hike the main­line toll by up 60% which would leave this toll at a cost of over €3 per jour­ney for the reg­u­lar mo­torist. He ap­pears to have come to th­ese con­clu­sions based on a 2012 study which he says was up­dated this very year and re­mains valid.’

The Se­na­tor went on to say he has ‘no con­fi­dence’ that the Min­is­ter will do any­thing to mit­i­gate the im­pact of the toll on lo­cal res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

The Donore Road toll.

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