Major Kenyan roads with huge traffic to attract toll fee
The public finance management (Natural Road Toll Funds) Regulation 2021 currently before Parliament seeks to introduce national roads toll fund which will see Kenyan motorists pay for using highways that have been constructed using their own taxes.
The regulations, should they be passed by legislators, would see Kenyans pay for roads and bridges that attract huge traffic across the country.
MPs aim to put the Public Roads Toll Act, Cap 407, into effect, which governs the imposition of toll levies on important national highways.
This law will give the Transport Cabinet Secretary the authority to declare any road or portion of a road as a toll road, including bridges tunnels and public routes.
According to the Treasury, this move will be implemented on roads that have major traffic to help generate adequate fee
The Motorists Association of Kenya (MAK) had opposed the rule in 2020 saying there is no reason or justification to turn key existing Kenyans’ highways into toll roads.
They said the targeted roads were built by Kenyan taxpayers and its evil of the private beneficiaries who want to take advantage of COVID-19 crisis to covertly sneak parliament legislation short of mandatory provisions of a proper public participation and the house quorum.
Peter Murima Chair MAK Executive Council said such exercise must not be allowed.
The Kenyan government is bypassing a direct order to specify roads that would attract charges by introducing a bill in Parliament.
In September last year, the United States’ construction firm Bechtel, which was contracted to build the Ksh.300 billion Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway rejected a request by the Kenyan Government to have it construct the highway and charge Kenyans toll fees.
Bechtel settled on a model where the State pays it for building the road instead of recovering its money directly from Kenyans.
This forces the government to borrow the billions of shillings, jerking public debt whose rapid growth has triggered warnings.
Motorists were expected pay toll fees for using the Expressway, amidst an outcry over ever-rising cost of living.
Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) quoted a study by Inter-America Development Bank showing the road is likely to be a viable candidate for construction through the toll model if it has a flow exceeding 5,000 vehicles per day unless the government offers a substantial subsidy to the contractor.
“This limits the number of roads that can be undertaken by the model in Kenya to a few sections of the main transport corridors. Along the A8 (Malaba – Eldoret – Nakuru – Nairobi – Voi – Mombasa) road, the Nairobi Expressway has so far proved to be a viable section for tolling while the Mombasa – Nairobi Expressway has proved difficult,” PBO said.