Thursday 8 December 2016

how we let ourselves be seduced by the toll

Published 16/10/2010 | 05:00

I could rant until this day next week about tolls but I won't.

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All I'll say is we're a quiet nation. Bear with me for a minute.

Many, many years ago we got billions (when such sums were the exception rather than the rule) to stitch our country together with roads.

We started. Then the price of projects went up. And up. And up.

Costs spiralled until the billions ran out.

Then someone had the brilliant idea that we'd compensate for the billions that took the second exit by tolling those roads yet to be built.

It started slowly. . . ah! Sure it would only be one or two tolls.

Then we got kinda hooked on the ease and speed with which we could cover previously tedious journeys. Without noticing it we had become citizens of the Toll. We were told, from time to time, that compared with European tolls ours were quite low.

Now, if they thought they'd get away with it, they'd toll anything wider than a footpath to extricate another few hundred million euro from motorists' shrivelling pockets.

But you need to know and remember that you should never have had to pay tolls for the vast majority of motorways and dual carriageways in the first place.

That is really important. You are paying for something twice (at least).

Now they are talking about lobbing a few more on approach avenues to Dublin and on the M50. It's vulgar, vicious and unwarranted.

I use tolls a fair bit in my travels. I genuinely feel for those whose commute necessitates €6 or €10 a day. It is enough. More than enough.

And don't give me the old line about the Continent having higher tolls.

Does that mean we follow blindly on other elements too?

Such as how so many of them seem to be managing their economies in this recession much better than we are?

If copying them would do the business for us as a country, then let's have more tolls by all means.

It would be a small price to pay for getting out of our present plight.

But I think we should wait and see the benefits first, don't you?

Irish Independent

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