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“Investing in our Transport Future – A Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport” is the title of a major policy document just published by the Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the reading of which for me ‘as a road freight operator, raises major questions.
The document speaks often of rail and even more often of cyclists. Freight on the other hand along with commercial vehicles are mentioned once each. As someone involved in the road freight industry for 40-plus years you would think I would no longer be surprised.
For example a road, co-funded by the Irish State, that travels from one part of the Republic to another, via Northern Ireland, is tolled by the UK Government. It charges £10 per day to Irish trucks. This is not discussed.
Britain’s and other nation’s trucks travel our roads everyday without paying a cent. Putting a charge on the thousands of trucks using our roads is an obvious source of funding yet it was ignored.
Out-of-state trucks are ignoring tolls or alternatively using non-tolled infrastructure such as the Slane Bridge.
Where was the discussion on preferred or mandated freight routes? Where was the discussion of the damage being inflicted on our less than primary road network by such trucks avoiding charges?
The steering group for this document is chaired by the Department of Transport and composed of seven serving or retired civil servants from the department and one consultant.
This document smacks of a culture in the department of Transport of dealing with the “big issues” of CIE, Aer Lingus and B and I.
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