Sinn Féin TD for Meath East Darren O’Rourke has said it is outrageous that the State is left to foot the bill to private toll operators, as a result of the drop in traffic volumes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Rourke said said;
“Today I received confirmation from Transport Infrastructure Ireland that the taxpayer is to be left on the hook for at least €9 million, for two toll roads that are obviously quieter during the ongoing pandemic.
“The bill for the M3 road in my own constituency of Meath East, will be in the region of €3 million from January to June of this year, while the operators of the Limerick Tunnel will receive a massive €6 million top-up from the State for the same period.
“These lucrative PPP contracts are a consequence of poor planning and financial incompetence on the part of consecutive Fianna Fáil era governments, and they have been a financial loser for the State year-on-year.
“It’s outrageous and it will really infuriate people. There are so many more important issues that need investment and prioritisation post-Covid-19, and toll road fees certainly aren’t one of them in my opinion.
“So, while this government is slashing the vital Pandemic Unemployment Payment for people with one hand, they are signing cheques with the other to keep private toll road companies well looked after.
“It is absolutely disgraceful and it should not happen. The Minister for Transport Shane Ross needs to challenge this given the extraordinary, once in a century, circumstances.”