Relief for motorists as State suspends road toll levies

The Ministry of Transport on Thursday announced the suspension of plans to implement toll stations along major highways

Thursday February 25 2016

A billboard erected by the Kenya National Highway Authority (Kenha) on February 10, 2016 along the Southern Bypass near Lang'ata road overpass indicating the planned toll station on the highway. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

By BRIAN NGUGI
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The Ministry of Transport Thursday announced the suspension of plans to implement toll stations along major highways in the short term as earlier announced by a roads agency.

Motorists travelling on major highways in Kenya can sigh with relief as the new measures would have seen them spend more on transport.

Kenya National Highways Authority, (Kenha) has been running advertising campaigns on the impending tolls project.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said while the Government has proposed to develop and maintain some roads in the country through road tolls, it is yet to adopt “an elaborate policy” on road tolling.

“The attention of the ministry is drawn to recent media coverage on proposed tolling of some key roads in the country. This was occasioned by the erection of billboards along the Nairobi Southern bypass announcing road tolls were to be introduced soon on the road,” said Mr Macharia in a statement.

READ: Stand-off looms over road toll stations proposal

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“Whereas the government has proposed to develop and maintain some roads in the country through road tolls, the said billboards were premature and unauthorized, as the government is yet to adopt an elaborate policy on road tolling," said Mr Macharia.

He directed Kenha to halt the publicisation of the programme pending a proper study on its roll out.

REMOVE BILLBOARDS

“The ministry has directed the various implementing partners to remove the said billboards pending conclusion of the infrastructure funding policy study, review and adoption of the same as well as wide consultations on all key stakeholders along the said roads,” he said.

He said Kenha’s “premature action” has the potential of tainting “an otherwise noble and strategic” infrastructure development program, which aims at raising more resources for accelerated modernization in the country.

The Government had earlier engaged a consultant to advise the Government on an infrastructure funding policy.

The consultant concluded this study and made policy recommendations, which are under consideration for adoption by the Government, said the CS.

Under the toll levy programme, the funds collected would be used for road maintenance as Kenya embarks on an ambitious plan to construct 10,000 kilometers of roads by 2017.