Kenya Set to Introduce Toll Fees on Major Roads
Kenya plans to introduce toll roads on five major roads in the country in a bid to develop and maintain Kenyan roads better. This is according to the Kenyan government, which is targeting the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, Nairobi- Nakuru highway, Thika super highway, Nairobi’s Southern bypass and a second Nyali bridge in Mombasa. The move is expected to help raise funds for infrastructural development of roads in Kenya as well as boost the economy.Early this year the government had opposed the idea stating that the move had the potential of tainting an “otherwise noble and strategic infrastructure program.”
The introduction of toll roads will be done through a public- private partnership plan (PPP). The developers are expected to construct and maintain the roads through charging a certain fee. Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) during a stake holders meeting on Monday the 7th November 2016, director general Peter Mundinia stated that the Nairobi- Mombasa and Nairobi-Nakuru highways will be turned to dual carriage ways by private developers.
All the major roads that will constructed will be maintained by Kenha, however the construction of the Nyali bridge in Mombasa will be managed by Kenya Urban Roads Authority and is seen as a means to congest the island. The tolling is expected to be done through three forms, manual formats where one can stop and pay, an electronic system where one has prepaid cards that can be swiped or vehicles can be fitted with tags.
This is a move that has also been viewed as double taxation for motorists, Matatu Owners Association Chairperson Dickson Mbugua is opposed to tolling for the same reason. Initially roads have been maintained through tax revenues. It has also raised issues of equity and fairness in that the introduction of toll roads without the alternative of toll free roads will hinder free movement of citizens. While on the other hand choosing particular roads for the introduction of tolls may be viewed as discrimination.
Road tolls were first introduced in late 1980s then scrapped in mid 1990s to pave way for road maintenance levy, which is currently attached to the retail price of fuel.