Ja toll charges rising

The Jamaican Ministry of Transport and Works is planning to increase toll charges for motorists using the Mandela Highway to Sandy Bay leg of Highway 2000.

According to Leo McEwan, the Transport Ministry’s public relations officer, the proposed rates are consistent with a concession agreement between the Government and TransJamaica Highway, the company part-owned by the Government and Bouygues.

Bouygues is the French company currently constructing Highway 2000.

Under the agreement, toll rates are subject to increases based on inflation and the value of the U.S. dollar.

If implemented, this would be the second increase for motorists using the first phase of the highway which was opened in December 2004.

The highway links Mandela Highway in St. Catherine to Sandy Bay in Clarendon.

Initially, drivers of Class One vehicles paid $50 to use the first phase of the highway, which was then 11 kilometres. Owners of Class Two vehicles paid $60, while Class Three motorists were required to pay $120.

When the second phase of the highway was completed it was extended by 22 kilometres. The fees then jumped considerably with Class One vehicles paying $160; Class Two $200, and Class Three units $400.

That increase angered many motorists, especially those involved in commercial activities.

At that time Wayne Reid, managing director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company, said that, although motorists were flustered, there was a significant increase in persons using the highway.

Meanwhile, Trevor Jackson, managing director of TransJamaican Highway, has confirmed that the toll charge for the Portmore leg of Highway 2000 will not be less than $50.

Speaking yesterday on ‘Good Evening Jamaica’ on Power 106 FM, Mr. Jackson did not indicate the figure being contemplated but said it is expected that when the project is completed in another four months the toll charge will be above $50.