East Link Tolls to Remain?

p.4 Council Could Keep East Link Toll 1

Dublin City Council (DCC) could continue to charge motorists for using the East Link Toll Bridge (pictured) after the 30-year contract expires at the end of 2015.

The East Link Toll Bridge has been operating since 1984 under an agreement by DCC, East Link Limited and the Dublin Port Company. Under the agreement, the arrangement is to remain in place until December 2015. Currently the bridge makes an annual profit of €4.2 million which is divided throughout the different partners, with €1.3 million going to DCC.

The proposal to retain the toll is one of two suggestions outlined by DCC. Due to the contract expiring, all profits made by the toll would go directly to DCC. The council would also become liable for the maintenance costs of the facility.

The second option is the removal of the toll facility, which could cost DCC €850,000. €200,000 a year in maintenance costs would still be the responsibility of DCC. The removal of the toll could also mean a projected loss of jobs and the discontinuation of the annual fund by the East Link Toll Scheme of €123,900 distributed to local community groups.

“It’s a ridiculous report,” said Fine Gael Councillor Kieran Binchy. “It’s written by somebody who hasn’t given the matter proper consideration. It’s in the interest of good traffic flow that we get rid of the toll.”

Traffic levels using the toll have also fallen 30% since 2008 attributed largely to the opening of the Samuel Beckett Bridge.
“There has to be a rational basis for charging the public for things,” said Wayne Flanagan Tobin an Independent candidate for Pembroke South Dock. “The East Link Toll Bridge should be available for the public to use free of charge.”

According to council sources, there has been no decision made about the report or what to do once the contract expires. Local councillors have been told to keep discussions ongoing about the matter.

By Liam Cahill