All roads must lead to joined-up thinking
PAYMENTS to the operators of the Limerick Tunnel between September and December last year amounted to €1.24m. Payments for the M3 Clonee-Kells motorway cost the National Roads Authority €547,000 between October and December. This works out at €111,000 a day.
Innocent road-users will doubtless wonder how it can be. Surely our spanking new toll roads are meant to make money for the State, not lose it? After all, operators of other motorways turn a handsome profit for themselves and a more modest profit for the State, to which they handed over €1.47m last year.
There is a simple answer. Revenue from tolls varies with the volume of traffic, and the inevitable fall in traffic in the recession has triggered the state guarantee to the operators.