Public Sector Workers have expressed shock at the impending increase in the toll rates on the Portmore leg of Highway 2000, located in the central parish of St. Catherine.
O'Niel Grant, President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) says Civil Servants who have to use the Toll road will be adversely affected by the increase, as are already making sacrifices under a wage freeze.
"As you know public sector wages have not increased in recent memory and will not be increased over the coming two years, this increase in the toll for my constituents who live in that section of the island and as far as Mandeville, (they) are going to experience increased costs coming to and from the Corporate Area. If t hey choose not to use the toll , they will have to face the cost in fuel usage, this is something that we are very disappointed about."
He said JCSA will have to put forward its position to the government regarding this increase which takes effect on Saturday.
For a class one vehicle using the Portmore Leg the toll will move from J$130 to J$150 , the new rate for class two vehicles will be J$230 up from J$200 dollars .
Meanwhile, there's an urgent call from residents of Portmore for the Government to put a hold on the upcoming increase.
The Greater Portmore Joint Council says the adjustment will place a major strain on residents of the municipality especially those facing wage freezes. Howard Hamilton, Chairman of the Greater Portmore Joint Council, says the impending increase is not going down well with residents and has urged the Simpson-Miller administration to take heed of the negative reactions to the toll increase
"So I would advise the Government to do what they can to hold the increase, because this will be the straw that breaks the back of the Portmore people…." he said.
According to a source at the Minister of Transport the toll increases are in keeping with the agreement signed with Jamaica Infrastructure Operator Limited - operators of Highway 2000. It was explained that the toll operator applied to the toll regulator who then reviewed the application.
Recommendations were subsequently made to the Transport Minister. It's understood that If the increases had not been granted the gap in revenue incurred by the toll operator would have had to be filled by the Government.