Cap on car imports proposed

Imported cars line up at the Cargo Distribution Centre awaiting collection. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Buses for private schools, restrictions on vehicle imports and staggered work hours are among the key recommendations coming out of a government transport committee.

Councillor Austin Harris established the Vehicle Imports and Transportation Committee last year amid concerns about the growing number of cars coming into the Cayman Islands.

He aims to go out to public consultation later this month with a series of recommendations to curtail imports and cut congestion on the roads.

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The proposals, shared with the Cayman Compass in advance as part of our series on traffic congestion, also include an outright ban on car ownership for people on short-term work permits.

Harris said the committee had sought to be “fair and balanced” and had produced proposals that he believes can help to unclog Cayman’s roads.

He acknowledged that significant upgrades to public transport would also be needed as Cayman grows.

He believes some of the measures suggested by the committee could be implemented immediately.

“The problem is going to get exponentially worse if we do nothing. It is better that we try some of these suggestions as an interim measure, or we can do nothing and wait for it to get worse.”

Harris expects to “face the fire” when the back and forth of public consultation begins, but he believes most people are concerned enough about traffic that they are prepared to accept some controls on imports.

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“There is frustration over congestion, frustration over the number of vehicles derelict in our communities or going to the landfill,” he said.

Some of the initiatives around carpooling and public transport may have to wait for a separate analysis being undertaken through the Ministry of Commerce and Infrastructure, expected to include a comprehensive public transport study. But Harris believes many of the proposals his committee has come up with are common-sense ideas that could have an immediate impact.

He added, “There is no reason these suggestions can’t be tried as pilot projects in the interim while we come up with an overall plan. They are ideas and concepts that we believe can improve the current situation, but you don’t really know for sure until you test them.”

Once public consultation is complete in mid-March, Harris said he would go back to his colleagues in government to agree on the path forward.

See full details of the committee’s recommendations here:

10-point plan to cut congestion

 

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