Editorials

Heed road toll warning

expressway

The ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway along Mombasa road. FILE PHOTO | NMG

BDgeneric_logo

Summary

  • The government needs to heed the parliamentary advisory on the Nairobi Expressway that warns of public resistance to road toll by the Chinese contractor.
  • The Budget Office said there is a concern by the public that tolls will be a double tax on many motorists who currently are paying for road maintenance through the fuel levy.

The government needs to heed the parliamentary advisory on the Nairobi Expressway that warns of public resistance to road toll by the Chinese contractor.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has asked the government to seek public support or risk the case of Nigeria where the tolling collection was cancelled on the Lekki Toll Road after community riots broke out.

The government has run out of headroom to borrow for infrastructure and is opting for public-private partnership deals that will see contractors build roads and recover their costs by charging users over a period of time.

The Nairobi Expressway is meant to be the poster child of this new model but its success will depend on how the government navigates the cost to users, makes contract details public and explains the fall back strategy where user fees are insufficient to pay back the contractors.

The Budget Office said there is a concern by the public that tolls will be a double tax on many motorists who currently are paying for road maintenance through the fuel levy.

The advisory calls on the government to make comprehensive disclosure and remove other ambiguities especially on assumptions behind the 30 years’ period given to the investor and the risk mitigation measures.