ROAD TAX

Don't bring road tolls, just increase fuel levy

MPs should reject the suggestion. It has been tried many times in the past and failed. It will not succeed in future.

In Summary

• The Finance Bill proposes bringing back 15 toll stations on major highways in Kenya

• Road tolls have been tried repeatedly in Kenya and have always failed

A section of Thika Superhighway.
A section of Thika Superhighway.

Parliament will soon consider whether to endorse a proposal in the Finance Bill to re-introduce 15 toll stations on major highways.

MPs should reject the suggestion. It has been tried many times in the past and failed. It will not succeed in future.

There are already regular traffic jams on roads like the Thika superhighway and the Naivasha-Nairobi road. These jams will only become longer if road tolls are introduced. 

Some countries do operate road tolls successfully. In the US, you can drive past the toll station without stopping and an automatic payment is deducted from your credit card. Or you turn into the toll station which is built beside the highway and pay cash. It would be costly to build such toll stations here although it might be technically possible.

The simplest way forward is to increase the fuel levy. This is more equitable than a road toll since it taxes road users according to how much fuel they consume and therefore how much they use the roads. It avoids the risk of corruption at the toll stations. And it costs nothing to implement.

Quote of the day: "We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free."

Jiddu Krishnamurti
The Indian philosopher was born on May 12, 1895