Fianna Fáil’s Transport Spokesperson, Robert Troy TD, has said that the financial ability of road users, especially commuters and road hauliers, has to be taken into account before any attempt is made to impose VAT on toll charges on the M50 or Dublin Port Tunnel.

“The recent opinion by the European Court of Justice which would force toll operators charge 23% VAT on state-owned tolls, including the M50 and Port Tunnel, would put an excessive burden on motorists and commercial users, especially those who use the motorways for work.

“Based on the costs of a round trip commute on the M50, a regular commuter can be paying upwards of €1000 per year on mid-week tolls for getting to work. Most of these commuters have no realistic alternative but to use the M50 for getting to work.

“If the ruling is final, the Departments of Transport and Finance have to work together to mitigate any additional cost to regular commuters.

“A toll rebate scheme for hauliers and other commercial users on the Port Tunnel and M50 also has to be looked by both Departments, to maintain competitive transport costs for business.

“It is also incumbent upon Minister Ross to ensure that any costs of this ruling do not further decimate the general roads budget

“While this matter has been under consideration since 2010, TII has been taking €17 million per year from the annual allocated roads budget, to cover the cost of paying the VAT to revenue. This has occurred without any additional support from the exchequer.

“Given the perilous state of the roads budget, this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

“Since 2012, the investment made in regional, local and national roads is well under the level required to keep up with maintenance repair costs, and again this year the government will be under-spending by an estimated €400 to €500 million, or roughly 50%, below what is required.

“This level of under-investment in maintaining the roads network of the last five years is irresponsible in the extreme and cannot continue.

“We have to ensure that a greater level of exchequer funding given to the TII to better fund our ailing roads network,” concluded Troy.