JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, is to meet with the Toll Authority between Thursday (September 10) and Friday (September 11), to discuss the possibility of a discount for a specific period of time, for motorists.
This has resulted from the public outcry over the implementation of toll increases overnight, on the weekend of September 4.
Addressing the post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, today (September 9), Mr. Henry disclosed that the Authority has also agreed to issue a public apology in the two main newspapers this week.
The Minister pointed out that the tolling policy on the concession agreement, and the Toll Road Act are to be reviewed immediately, with a view to ensuring that there is a reasonable time frame between a gazetted Order for a toll increase, and the actual implementation of the new rates.
“They must recognise that a weekend cannot be the time in which you really implement that Order, unless you are insensitive to the needs of people. I will discuss with them (the Toll Authority) their offer of rolling back (the increase) or crediting it…We will seek to see if there are any other areas we may want to look at for us to extend our own sincere position on this matter and hopefully they do not act in this way in the future,” Mr. Henry said.
Outlining the lead up to the toll increase, Mr. Henry explained that as set out by law, the notice of the increase was issued on August 27 for the public to respond. This received 19 responses within the stipulated 7-day period, which the Authority then responded to in writing, and reported to the Minister. The Order for the increase was signed, published, and gazetted on Friday, September 4.
In a statement released on Saturday, September 5, Mr. Henry took issue with the fact that the Authority had placed a notice of the increase in the papers on the same day, at which time the toll increases had already been effected.
The Minister argued that because the Order had been gazetted, this did not mean that the Authority had to immediately effect the increases, especially as he had made a request that the increases be delayed for a few days to allow the public time to adjust to the changes.
Mr. Henry said the delay would not have affected the Authority’s revenues, as the shortfall would have been taken up by the Government, based on the contract governing the operation of the toll highways. Toll rates are reviewed on July 4 of each year.

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