In yet another addition to the list of “things to expect in 2017”, Junior Minister of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, earlier today announced that with effect from January 1, 2017, the Demerara Harbour Bridge tolls for most categories of vehicles will be increased.
According to the minister, if this is not done, the bridge will be operating at a “drastic shortfall and would be unable to sustain its capital projects”.
The changes are as follows: Motorcycles – from $20 to $40; motor cars – from $100 to $200; motor cars (hire) – from $100 to $200; motor tractors – from $200 to $300; one-axle trailers – from $200 to $300; hearses – from $100 to $300; motor lorries (class 1) – from $500 to $700; motor lorries (class 3) – from $600 to $700; goods vehicles (up to 2200 pounds) – from $100 to $400, and goods vehicles (up to 4400 pounds) – from $200 to $400.”
However, Minister Ferguson noted that there will be no increase in tolls for four-wheel drive jeeps and minibuses, as they are currently charged $200. This applies to vehicles with double-axle trailers as well, since they are currently being charged $300.
The public became aware of an increase in toll at the DHB on Wednesday last during the consideration of the 2017 Estimates for the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
At the time, Opposition Member of Parliament, Komal Chand had queried as to if the Demerara Harbour Bridge would be financing itself for 2017 since only $2 million subvention was allocated to the DHB for 2017. This saw Opposition members kicking up a storm, describing it as “another broadside from the Government.”
The Opposition has severely criticised the Government for the increase in tolls at the DHD stating that such increase will be an additional burden on citizens who are already finding it a huge challenge to deal with their daily expenses.
Meanwhile, Ferguson today also stated that based on the present traffic trends, it is projected that the Harbour Bridge will be raking in approximately $550M by the end of 2016 with its present toll structure in place. She noted that this was a significant loss since the structure’s expenditure stands at a projected $600M.
She asserted that come 2017, with the new toll structure in place, and with the same traffic trend, it is expected that the total income will amount to approximately $861M. (Ramona Luthi)