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Road tolls: A pain or a pleasure?

Road tolls Yellow vest"Listen to the people - Enough is Enough". Photo: Roar Randeberg / Nok er Nok

Road tolls: A pain in the neck or a pleasure ride?

There is something virus-like spreading on Jæren called road tolls. Road tolls have been invented as a solution to save the climate, build better roads that most inhabitants ought not to use. In short, ensure that most of us travel only by bicycle, bus or the Apostle’s Horses.


This applies regardless of whether your errand by car is transporting your child to kindergarten, school, sports club or you are visiting any of your relatives in hospitals, nursing homes or just shopping for a sofa at Ikea.

The road tolls will finance infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, buses in addition to accommodating a climate target of zero growth in car traffic. The latter disregarding the fact that emissions are decreasing despite a growing population.

As our political decision-making authorities have been in the transport store and bought more infrastructure than they have means to, the credit bill is forwarded to you and me in the form of road tolls.

It doesn’t matter what you and I have available to pay for this. Our dear politicians have decided that we should all pay equally for the purchased projects. If you cannot afford to pay, then that will be a bonus, as it will help to reach their Nirvana (aka adopted climate goals).

What does this entail for you and me?

Those of us travelling in Stavanger, Sandnes, Sola and Randaberg without an auto-pass, must fork out NOK 44 for each passing through a gate in the toll walls during peak hours (07-09 and 15-17) regardless of which type of errand we are on. Outside those hours (24/7), the fee is «merely» NOK 22 for a private car.

If you manage to pass through two toll stations within an hour, you, theoretically, «only» pay for the first of them. If you do not manage to do so, you will have to fork out again. If you have a valid auto-pass agreement, you get a discount on your passages.

Rich or poor, the toll fee is the same

Do you have many children attending several different activities? Do you have relatives in hospital or want to visit relatives and friends? Do you have other errands where you need to use a car? You and your neighbour pay the same – no matter what.

The anti-social profile in today’s toll system does not at all take into account that the income level is not equal for all and sundry.

The difference is that the person who isn’t affected by the financial burden is provided with fewer queues on the road, better roads to drive on, faster access etc. Meanwhile, you and I may have to say farewell to the car and realize that our future everyday life is to walk, cycle or rely on erratic bus or train services to meet our transportation needs.

 


 

What are we getting, for whose needs?

The municipalities of Stavanger, Sandnes, Sola and Randaberg (North Jæren) have adopted the urban environment package after a visit to the transport shop. They have purchased a centred bus lane, bike highway and more roads. The credit card is already charged and the repayment bill is charged to you and me through the expensive credit company Ferde.

The busway «must» be 30.9 meters wide at Lura, entailing that several companies consider foreclosure due to expected income failure. Lura Turisthjem, Shell, and Burgercompagniet have already voiced their concern about the commercial consequences of the planned bus route in the media. Last out is the CEO of Bertel O Steen, who advocates halting the intolerable waste of communal funds. This, in an article in Sandnesposten, dated May 6th, 2019.

There are a number of megalomanic transport projects underway in every corner of our infrastructure, characterized by an unlimited purchasing frenzy using your and my private money.

While our politicians know what is best for us regarding how we need to adapt to environmentally friendly public transport solutions – wipe the cobwebs off our old DBS bicycle in the basement (alternatively invest half a month’s salary in an electric bicycle) – climate targets do not apply when it comes to cruise calls to the Port of Stavanger.

Nor does it apply to our politicians, who have to use a car to get to and from meetings organized by their office. It is you and I who must foot the bill for the infrastructure that we – heavens forbid – cannot make use of ourselves.

Those who have enough money not to notice the expense are, however, more than welcome to enjoy a better and more efficient mobile everyday life.

Road tolls virus spreads southwards

The road toll virus spread to Klepp on Monday the 6th of May. The municipality of Klepp contracted it. On Tuesday, May 7th, it was the Municipality of Time’s turn to vote for or against the road tolls vaccine.

The Municipal Council meetings were both faced with demonstrations against the spread. Both Klepp and Time adopted road tolls, regardless.

Jærbuen has always been a little bit more down to earth than the city slickers in Sandnes and Stavanger.

In the Time Municipality, the Conservative Mayor summed it up – straightforward and to the point: “we do not get a walkway, bike path and a new road without road tolls”.

So that’s how it has become. You are left pondering about where the funding of pavements, bike paths, roads, public buses etc. came from in a world where there were no road tolls.

A warning hereby goes out to southern Jæren and far into Southern Norway: 

Beware, a contagious road toll fever is spreading in your direction.

This chronicle is penned by Roar Randeberg. Roar is a front figure of «Enough is Enough» (Bomfritt Jæren – Nok er Nok)


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