By Eoin Ryan
Over €6 million has been paid towards the M3 toll road operator by taxpayers in traffic guarantee payments over the past two years, According to Meath East TD Darren O’Rourke.
O’Rourke received figures from Transport Infrastructure Ireland showing €6,207,477 of taxpayers money have been received from Transport Infrastructure Ireland for the M3 motorway in 2020 and 2021.
“The proposed increase in tolls is just the latest part of a highway robbery that is being carried out by the private operators in this country,” Deputy Paul Murphy said at a Dail Eireann debate. This sentiment was repeated by several other politicians present, including Meath TDs Darren O’Rourke and Peadar Tóibín.
The M3 toll contract expires in 2052 with payments expected to increase significantly over the next few decades as people move to more sustainable modes of transport and leave their cars at home,” Meath East TD Darren O’Rourke said.
The toll company received €2,695,495 and €3,605,888 from the Government in 2020 for 2021 respectively due to the reduction of motorway usage and toll payments.
“These traffic guarantee clauses are also now in direct conflict with the ambition to reduce the number of car kilometres travelled on our roads and the desire to get more people onto public transport to help reduce emissions,” O’Rourke said.
“In Meath we hope to have the train line re-established within the decade, which will take thousands more cars off the M3 motorway.”
Tolls at the two M3 plazas in Meath were expected to increase by 10c for cars, while the toll on the M4 will rise by 20c and on the M1 by 10c at the start of this year. This is being delayed by six months but at the cost of €12.5 million for the state to cover lost revenue for Transport Infrastructure Ireland and toll road operators.