Pretoria - In a bid to contribute to a reduction of the burden on consumers for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme, the government has proposed a special appropriation of R5.8bn to be included in the 2011/12 expenditure.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
said this would reduce the debt to be repaid through the toll system and would make a steeper discount possible for regular road users. The total debt associated with the project is R20bn.
“Mr Speaker, I am mindful that the introduction of tolling to finance the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme has caused considerable public reaction,” Gordhan admitted.
“We have listened carefully to the various suggestions and appreciate the difficulties that might be faced.”
He said it was important to remember that road user charges also served an important “demand management function” on roads that were heavily congested.
Users benefited through lower vehicle operating costs, time savings and improved safety.
In addition, improved maintenance of regional and provincial roads was made possible by the additional revenue that SA toll roads generated.
“Going forward, government will carefully evaluate future road infrastructure funding. In addition, the further development of efficient and cost effective public transport systems will receive the urgent attention of the department of transport,” Gordhan said.