Multi-point tolling on Irish motorways would be a “terribly bad idea”, transport commentator Conor Faughnan has said.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has agreed to review a planned increase in tolls that is due to come into effect on 1st January next month.
However, the ERSI has said that more fundamental reform to the entire system is worth considering; in the years to come, revenue from excise duty is forecast to plummet due to the shift towards electric vehicles and the organisation believes the State will have to make up the difference with an alternative type of tax or charge.
“You can do that by shifting the tax burden away from excise duty of fuel - which effectively means that rural and off-peak drivers are overtaxed at the moment - and towards things like congestion charges,” ESRI economist Barra Roantree suggested to Newstalk Breakfast.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland is mulling the desirability of multi-point tolling - where drivers are charged by the amount of time they spend travelling - but Conor Faughnan believes this would be a mistake.
“To be clear, this is a terribly bad idea,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“This would be a terrible thing to do and would have all sorts of traffic consequences for the suburbs.
“It’s floated again because the Department of Transport have been talking to Transport Infrastructure Ireland about something called Project Bruce - it’s ‘better road users charging evaluation’.
“Essentially, it’s looking at how we tax cars and in the future there’ll be less fossil fuel revenues and one of the ideas is multipoint tolling.”
Mr Faughnan suspects it would cause more people to avoid the motorway and instead drive through more quieter residential areas.
“You might spread out the revenue,” he said.
“But Lord, the collateral damage you would do in places like Dundrum or Finglas where you would channel traffic off the motorway.”
Main image: A bilingual road sign for the M50. Picture by: Alamy.com