Cronin: Fuel levy unlikely to fund tolls
Johannesburg - It is unlikely that the Gauteng tolling system will be funded by an increased fuel levy, Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said on Tuesday.
"Many of those objecting to the e-tolling have argued that instead of tolling, the fuel levy should be ring-fenced for road construction and maintenance and not go into the general fiscus," said Cronin at the Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) which opened in Pretoria on Monday.
"The National Treasury is opposed to ring-fencing tax revenues because (it) brings about inefficiencies in government spending over time as the lack of transparency means that spending agencies lose the accountability of the budget process for how effectively they apply the funds."
Cronin explained that the actual amount allocated out of the budget for road infrastructure was more than the amount raised from the fuel levy.
"In the 2009/10 financial year, for instance, the amount that would have been available for road infrastructure from the fuel levy (had it been ring-fenced) was R22bn whereas the actual amount allocated to road infrastructure was R29.2bn - a shortfall of R7.2bn."
Cronin also questioned whether finance raised from the fuel levy should only be invested in road infrastructure when other transport modes such as rail were also in need of financing.
Following the public uproar over the original tariffs for tolling, introduced in February, it was announced earlier this month that tariffs would be reduced.
According to proposals, users of light motor vehicles would pay 40c/km instead of 49c/km, minibus taxi drivers 11c/km instead of 16c and bikers 24c instead of 30c/km.
For medium vehicles, the toll fee was reduced from R1.49/km to R1 and for large vehicles from R2.97 to R2. For commuter buses the cost would be reduced from 50c/km to 36c.
Organisations which initially opposed tolling reacted, saying that it would still pose a financial burden on already overtaxed road users.