THE East Link is to remain a toll bridge even when Dublin City Council gain control of it at the end of next year.
Dublin commuters' hopes that the council would waive the charge after a 30-year agreement with Dublin Port and National Toll Roads comes to an end were dealt a blow when councillors voted to back a plan to keep charging to cross the bridge.
It was built in 1984 and reverts back to the city on December 31 next year.
Although the bridge generated €4.2 million in profits last year, the council only received a small fraction of it.
But councillors decided in a vote last night to keep the tolling operation in place when the arrangement comes to an end, to keep a revenue stream from it. Several members spoke against the move, but other councillors raised concerns that ceasing the toll could lead to an increase in traffic in the Ringsend area.
Transport Committee member Paddy McCartan said the council needs the funding and shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. He added that any revenue from the bridge could be used for other projects or for transport schemes.
AA's Conor Faughnan described the move as "profiteering" and said it would cause frustration and anger.
"There is no justification for this move except to make money," Mr Faughnan told the Herald. "The council is not being honourable. Dubliners with long enough memories will remember the promises that were made that there would be a 30-year tolling agreement only," he added.
Commenting on the view that the council "shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth", Mr Faughnan said: "They can't look a stolen gift horse in the mouth. They would have as mush justification re-introducing a toll on the Ha'penny Bridge."