From Portmore to Tollmore
Come Saturday, July 5, 2014, users of Highway 2000 will be asked to dig deeper in their pockets to use the different legs.
The one of greatest concern is the Portmore toll. Portmore is a municipality that is overpopulated. Suffice it to say, more than 70 per cent of the residents of Portmore work and conduct daily business outside of Portmore. This increase will now force the highway users to use the highly congested and long Mandela Highway.
Mandela Highway is certainly not a good route for people who are trying to get to work and to their business on time. With a heavy traffic flow from Spanish Town, a bus lane and traffic from Portmore, that is more congestion.
Perhaps some people will be forced to sell their vehicles due to the toll increase and weekly increase in fuel prices. That will force them to take the buses. The State-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company can hardly meet the demands now, not to mention if this should happen.
How could the minister consider giving the approval for an increase in the toll rates at this time when there are other options? Cabinet should have done something.
Public sector workers' wages are frozen, they have bills to pay, food prices increase daily and the dollar keeps devaluing.
It was an irresponsible and careless move by the Government of the day to have signed the agreement that we now have for this highway. A yearly increase? That is downright cruelty to the people. It is actually taxing the residents more each year to leave and return to their homes.
The Government needs to engage the toll authority in a renegotiation of the contract or make some better arrangements for the residents of Portmore.
There needs to be a better way.
President, Optimist Club of Portmore Community College
Traffic approaching the toll plaza on the Portmore leg of Highway 2000.