Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has stated that new figures supplied to him, which reveal a 10% hike in the tax take from motorists in 2016, raise questions as to the fair treatment of drivers across the country.
Deputy McGrath commented, “Motorists in Ireland are hit by a raft of taxes, ranging from excise duty on petrol and diesel, to vehicle registration tax, annual motor tax and the carbon levy. The total tax take from motorists has been rising steadily in recent years, increasing by over 20% since 2012. It now stands at over €5.4 billion per annum.
“It is, of course, appropriate that motorists make a significant contribution towards funding public services, especially transport infrastructure. However, too often the motoring sector is seen as an easy target for a Government looking to raise extra cash with little offered in return.
“What is missing from the tax system is a sense of fair treatment for motorists in terms of the expenditure on the infrastructure motorists depend on, including the national motorway network and local roads.
“Motorists rightly feel that they are getting nothing back in return for the large number of taxes levied on them.
“In November, Transport Infrastructure Ireland said the State’s motorway network, estimated to be worth €30 billion, is deteriorating due to lack of maintenance not to mind being improved. The failure to proceed with the Cork-Limerick motorway is just one example of the short-sighted nature of the government’s approach to transport spending. This is galling for motorists who are paying record amount of taxes. It is also likely to be extremely short sighted as in the longer term the costs of remediation are estimated at being double the cost of maintenance.
“Local roads are also not being maintained at an acceptable rate. Ultimately this will lead to increased congestion, longer journey times, reduced road safety and a loss of economic activity.
“Taxes should be levied in as fair a manner as possible. In the case of motor taxes, this implies some guarantee that a rising tax take will result in improvements in the road network and road safety. To date it would appear that this is not a priority for the current government,” concluded McGrath