Government and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) will continue consultations on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) with a view to finding a solution.
This emerged from a meeting on Thursday, 21 June 2012, between the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) – led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe – and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) led by Chairperson Wayne Duvenage.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was accompanied by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Transport, as well as the Deputy Minister of Finance and Directors-General of the departments comprising the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
The OUTA delegation included the South African Vehicle Rental and Lease Association, the Automobile Association, the South African National Consumer Union, Investment Solutions and the Retail Motor Industry.
The meeting at the Union Buildings concluded that government and OUTA were in agreement on the need for roads that will serve the economy and citizens, the need for users to pay for road improvements, the need to decongest the country’s roads and the need for more efficient public transport.
A key area of difference, the meeting agreed, was e-tolling as a mechanism for decongestion and funding of road infrastructure.
The meeting afforded OUTA an opportunity to highlight its objections to government’s plans to fund improvements to Gauteng freeways by means of e-tolls to be paid by the road users.
OUTA welcomed the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and commended the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) as a well-managed road building entity but argued that e-tolling was not efficient or effective as a funding mechanism.
OUTA welcomed the development of an integrated and efficient public transport network in Gauteng but said it was necessary for this to be complemented by continued road improvements.
OUTA reiterated its view that the existing national fuel levy be used to fund freeway improvements in view of the current use of the levy to build and maintain roads countrywide, and in view of Gauteng’s significant contribution to gross domestic product and the national fiscus.
Government stressed the need for users to pay for upgraded roads and the importance of combating road congestion, enabling commuters to make smarter choices in mobility and curbing urban sprawl, which feeds off individual car use, in the country’s economic hub.
Government also highlighted the range of improvements to public transport in Gauteng that provide alternatives to commuters, as well as the R550-a-month cap on GFIP toll fees.
Deputy President Motlanthe welcomed OUTA’s engagement with government and undertook that Cabinet would consider OUTA’s proposals on alternatives through future consultations.
Spokesperson: Deputy President
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Issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)