M50 toll fines to reach 100 million in first 12 monthsTIM O'BRIEN
POTENTIAL INCOME from toll fees and fines on Dublins M50 is in the order of 180 million in the 12 months to August, the National Roads Authority (NRA) has confirmed.
The figures include a projected 100 million income from toll fines, the level of which has surprised the National Roads Authority.
The 100 million windfall is in addition to the expected 80 million a year revenue from tolls themselves.
The toll for a car that is not registered and does not have a toll tag is 3. Unregistered car drivers who dont pay the toll before 8pm on the day following travel face a penalty of 3, in addition to the original toll charge.
Those who fail to pay the toll and the 3 penalty within the next 14 days face a further penalty of 41.50.
Failure to pay the full amount within a further 56 days results in an additional 101.50 fine.
After this the matter is referred to solicitors.
NRA communications manager Seán ONeill last night confirmed the projected income for the first year of the operation of barrier-free tolling, which began in August 2008.
Mr ONeill said he believed people would switch very quickly to pre-paid accounts once it was realised the amount fines are costing. The authority was not in business to make such large sums from fines, he maintained.
An average week-day traffic of about 100,000 vehicles now use the former West-Link facility.
Of the 100,000 vehicles a day some 25,000 have not registered for either tag or video accounts with automatic payment facilities making them liable to pay at least 3 by 8pm on the evening following travel.
Just half, or 12,500 motorists, pay the 3 on time, leaving the other 12,500 motorists facing a fine of 3 in addition to the toll.
Excluding up to 3,000 journeys a day which are made by foreign- registered vehicles, this leaves about 9,500 vehicles a day which must pay a 3 fine.
However, 4,000 of these motorists fail to pay the fines within the 14-day period and they then have a further 56 days to pay an additional 41.50. The NRA says only 1,500, on average, choose to pay the fines. This leaves 2,500 motorists who face the next category of payment, a fine of 101.50.
The NRA did not supply figures for cases referred to solicitors and so any costs above the 101,50 fine category have not been included.
This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
............................................................................Saturday, August 1, 2009
Transport emissions rose during celtic tiger era - CSOTIM O'BRIEN
TRANSPORT WAS the worst-performing area in terms of the States efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the years of the celtic tiger, according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The report, Greenhouse Gas and Acid Rain Precursor Accounts for Ireland 1998 to 2007, found greenhouse gases from a range of sources, including industry and the combined sector of fuel power and water, largely peaked in about 2001.
Estimates of combined greenhouse gas emissions, defined as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, from agriculture fell consistently from 1998 to 2007, a factor attributed in part to fewer cattle.
Emissions from the residential and services sectors peaked in 2005. But the report estimated that the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector rose by 163 per cent throughout the 10 years from 1988 to 2007.
Transport was also the bad boy of the class in terms of measurements of gases which have the potential to cause acid rain.
These gases, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and ammonia, defined as precursors because of their potential to cause acid rain, declined by 33 per cent overall.
Precursors from the agricultural sector, which accounts for 60 per cent of current total precursors, fell by 17 per cent in the period.
Total emissions have also declined in virtually all other sectors of the economy.
However, the decline in the transport sector was halted, and levelled out in recent years.
Unlike comparatively straightforward measurements of air pollution undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Greenhouse Gas and Acid Rain Precursor Accounts attribute air emissions to sectors of economic activity.
According to the CSO, this makes it possible to assess the impact of greenhouse gas reduction strategies on economic activity.
For example, the statistics show that greenhouse gas emissions in the rubber and plastic production industry fell from a peak of 138,000 tonnes in the year 2000 to 94,000 tonnes in 2007. But the analysis also shows that the industry increased in value from 987.9 million to 1,228 million over the period.
A spokesman said the numbers of vehicles licensed between 1997 and 2007, which, according to a separate report, rose by more than 93,000, was the underlying reason for much of the emissions from the transport sector. The spokesman said it was clear that transport was the bad boy of the period.
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- Some sense at long last.CarmelThe Irish Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Varadkar to review road and rail projectsTIM O'BRIEN
A REVIEW of spending on new road and rail projects has been announced by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.
Mr Varadkar said he will review each new transport infrastructure project against the need to ensure existing roads and rail routes are properly maintained.
The review follows the publication by the National Roads Authority of a new report which found almost 3 billion is needed to make the States local regional and national secondary road network safe.
The Ministers review could potentially halt key transport investment programmes including Metro North, the reopening of the Navan Railway line and new road building schemes in Clare, Galway, Longford and Wicklow, which were being progressed under the last governments four-year plan.
In a statement last night Mr Varadkar told The Irish Times: If we stuck to the plan left to us by the last government, not only would we be unable to keep up with the backlog of repairs, but the situation would actually get worse.
The Minister who has in recent weeks been briefed by senior officials on key issues facing the department is understood to be concerned after the National Roads Authority put the cost of the backlog of urgent repairs to the non-primary routes at 2.7 billion. This figure was in advance of the severe weather conditions at the start of the year.
Before we start work on any new infrastructure projects, we have to ensure that existing infrastructure is properly maintained. That is why I am conducting a full review of capital spending with a view to prioritising the investments that we already have, Mr Varadkar said.
Last night a press spokesman for Mr Varadkar said he could not say which projects would categorically not proceed but emphasised there had been a change in priorities and that the thinking was moving towards maintenance of existing roads and railways.http://www.petitiononline.com/taraeire/petition.html
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