E-tolling no 'holy cow'
Technology must be better utilised to make Gauteng roads and public transport modes safer, says Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT) will make use of user-pay principles and tolling to fund key initiatives within the province's transport network.
The department launched a draft five-year Gauteng Transport Implementation Plan (GTIP5), which will address urgent, short-term measures to be implemented by the GDRT.
It acts as a precursor for the 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan, which will be finalised by June 2013.
The GTIP5 will begin the process of refashioning the transport system, according to MEC Ismail Vadi.
“Obviously, a short-term report of this kind will not be wide-ranging and comprehensive. Notwithstanding this point, the GTIP5 is an important starting point for a meaning dialogue between the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and the public at large on the shape, form and design of a transport system for a globally competitive city-region that Gauteng aspires to become over time.”
The GTIP5 document is open for public comment until 31 August. These will be considered and a final report will be given to the MEC by the end of September. In November, a technical task team will be established to implement the recommendations.
The document says the levying of tolls on road networks should be part of the holistic approach to funding.
“Continual pressure would be required to ensure fair and equitable delivery of services through 'user pay' policies.”
However, “it's not that e-tolling is a holy cow”, says chairperson of the committee that developed the GTIP5, Jack Van der Merwe. “We're looking at all types of funding. There is no magic in funding. It must come from somewhere.”
Inadequate funding to overcome the current backlog and expected future requirements for transport has always been a major challenge, says Vadi.
He adds that apart from funding from the public purse, the GTIP5 suggests that other sources of funding such as toll fees, the issuing of bonds, borrowing, and private sector investment should be considered.
“It is our intention to host a Gauteng transport investor conference shortly to crystallise the investment opportunities in the transport sector. Gauteng authorities should be more receptive to private sector involvement in transport infrastructure projects and set out simple and clear-cut procedures for this to materialise.”