Toll rates to burn pockets - Gov't looks to review deal
The Government is moving to review several aspects of the agreement which dictates the manner in which toll rates will be charged on the North-South Highway.
"Following the public's outcry, we will be meeting with the toll regulators and the administrators of the highway to discuss it with them," Transport Minister Mike Henry said last night.
Motorists using the entire 66-kilometre highway, which runs from Caymanas in St Catherine to Ocho Rios/Mammee Bay, St Ann, could pay up to $3,700 if the Toll Authority approves an application from the operators of the highway.
"We are actively perusing it because the rates were discussed at a Cabinet meeting overall, and I was instructed by the leader of the Cabinet to meet with the toll regulator and to discuss many issues while we await the public's response," Henry said.
The developers of the highway, Chinese Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), has been given a 50-year concession for the operations of the highway. It has also been given 1,200 acres of land on which to do development.
Meanwhile, Henry told THE STAR that there is no feeling of animosity as it relates to the agreement between the Government and CHEC.
"It's an investment by the Chinese," he said. "It is a respected investment in many ways. We must recognise that when we are doing the comparatives. We will be doing the comparatives with what is being charged on other toll roads. You must remember that that road is done in sections. Not everybody is going to drive the full stretch. You have to equate that with the cost of transport. These are the issues that are being examined now to seek to ensure that the public is being protected in the best possible way."
Representatives of CHEC were not immediately available for comment.