Observer senior reporter

Friday, July 17, 2020

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A decision is yet to be made about the proposed hike in toll rates for motorists using the north-south, and east-west legs of Highway 2000.

Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine that his ministry is in full agreement with the delay, as it gives the motorists a reprise from the financial burden brought on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Well, it's a good sign. I hope the highway users continue using the highways whenever the new rates come in, as a signal that they recognise the value of the delay,” he said.

He was uncertain as to when the new rates would be decide on.

On June 23, notices of the proposed increases were posted by TransJamaican Highway (TJH) Limited and Jamaica North South Highway (JNSH) Company Limited, operators of east-west and north-south legs, respectively.

The members of the public had five days to provide feedback. Both entities indicated that the new rates, which ordinarily would have taken effect in July, would not be implemented.

Under the Tolling Policy Agreement, as outlined in the Concession Agreements, the concessionaires may apply for an annual increase in toll tariffs.

Montague said his ministry continues to be open to receive feedback as invited in the notice, and notes that many of the comments received are focused on the timing of the increase.

The Toll Authority also said they continue to welcome all inputs and feedback, which are normally reviewed and considered in the final decisions regarding applications of new rates.

Also stated in the notices is that the public will be notified by the toll operators before new rates are implemented. The published rates represent the maximum that may be charged but it is at the discretion of the operator to apply discounts.

The Toll Authority, an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, was created under the Toll Roads Act. It is mandated to regulate the operations and maintenance of toll roads and such other facilities as may be deemed necessary on or adjacent to toll roads.

It is also mandated to monitor the compliance of concessionaires with the terms and conditions of concession agreement and to advise the minister on matters of general policy relating to the design, construction, safety, regulation, operation and maintenance of the toll roads in Jamaica.

In performing the functions under the Act, the authority must act in a manner, as it considers best calculated inter alia to: further the reasonable interest of the users of the toll roads by establishing a system for the regulation of tolls that takes account of those interest; promote the efficient, economic and profitable operation of toll roads; and, create an enabling environment for potential investors in toll roads.

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