E-tolls ‘an engineering masterpiece’

Sanral again highlighted the major benefits that world-class road infrastructure brings to the Gauteng economy, when it presented its final submissions to the Gauteng e-toll Review Panel on Wednesday.

The panel set up by Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, to review the impact of e-tolling met with Sanral for a fourth day of presentations, questions and answers.

Commissioned by Sanral, economist Dr Roelof Botha told the panel that the upgrades to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) could not have been made without the funding through e-tolling.

Referring to the GFIP as “an engineering masterpiece without parallel on the continent in Africa,” Botha said its value should be measured against the benefits it brought to the country’s economy and improvements to the quality of life of residents.

This, the economist said, was most evident in the savings made by road users in time spent in traffic, higher productivity, a reduced impact on the environment and lower costs in the transportation of good and services.

Botha said that the user-pay model for infrastructure such as roads enables Government to have more funds available for social services, education, health services and pensions.

“None of this would have been possible without e-tolls. There simply is no other money available.”

Keith Lockwood, an independent economist – answered questions on the quintiles as posed by the panel during its previous session.

Lockwood said that lower quintile households spend relatively little on fuel and vehicle ownership, and are most likely to make use of public transport.  He added that should a fuel levy be selected as the funding model for GFIP, there will be a significantly greater impact on lower income earners than with e-tolls.

“A fuel levy is a hidden tax and there is an erroneous belief that there is no cost to the consumers while it is obviously not so,” said Lockwood.

In response to questions raised by the panel, Sanral CEO, Nazir Alli said the contribution of road infrastructure to the betterment of society should not be underestimated.

Roads provide people access to economic opportunities that, in turn leads to sustainable economic growth.

Alli also clarified the calculations in regards to the increase in fuel levy required to maintain, improve and sustain the national road network.

To only address the network sustaining maintenance needs of R65.8 billion per annum will require an additional R1.00 per litre of fuel. This will increase the fuel levy to R3.17 per litre as it currently stand at R2.17, he said.

Alli said to address the remainder of the strengthening – 5 years – and regraveling – 10 years – not allocated to the sustaining maintenance as well as the gravel road surfacing backlog will require a further R0.48 per litre of fuel – raising the average fuel levy to R3.65 per litre.

More Sanral and e-tolls

E-tolls a damn good idea: economist

E-tolls cost 25 cents for every R100 earned

E-tolls are not perfect: transport minister

Gauteng government will ‘seriously consider’ e-toll findings

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E-tolls ‘an engineering masterpiece’