Toll road operators would have to be compensated if planned price increases are deferred, the Minister for the Environment has said.
It comes after Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) announced last week that it will increase tolls on nine out of ten roads from 1 January to their “maximum level”.
The price hikes are linked to the current rate of inflation, which has increased by 8.6% between August 2021 and August 2022.
The tolls cannot be increased beyond this rate.
Yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that he would like to see a reduction or deferral of the planned increases.
Responding this morning, Eamon Ryan said that the increases are “contracted under law”.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Ryan said that if price deferrals or reductions were to happen, the toll operators would have to be compensated, saying that “they are entitled to it”.
“If that was the case, what I would be very reluctant to do is to take money from what we are spending on, which is increasing public transport, increasing road maintenance,” he said.
“So, I will sit down and talk to him [Mr Varadkar] and look at what other mechanisms there might be.
“Most of the tolling operators are independent. They are not owned or directed by the Government. They have the right to see an index linking, which is what this is, a 10 cent increase in most cases.”
Minister Eamon Ryan has said tolling companies would have to be compensated if planned increases were deferred.
He said he would not support this if it meant reducing spending for public transport and road maintenance Read more political coverage: https://t.co/jZge7Mgwdy pic.twitter.com/9NaTk2E7RZ
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 21, 2022
There are ten toll roads on the national road network.
Eight are operated under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, while two – the M50 and Dublin Port Tunnel – are operated directly on behalf of TII.
The Dublin Port Tunnel is the only route that will not be affected by price increases.
TII said revenue is used for purposes including motorway maintenance, toll collection and operations, and for the maintenance of the wider national road network.