Limerick Tunnel users face increase in tolls

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The Limerick Tunnel has been a major burden on the taxpayer.

LIMERICK motorists are facing a ten cent hike in toll payments, the highest allowable price rise for using the Limerick Tunnel.

The rise is an across-the board decision from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) which says the hikes are being  ‘driven by the current rate of inflation,” and will apply to all toll roads in the country.

The rise in costs will likely add to the bill from the toll operator currently being footed by the taxpayer for any deficit in the number of vehicles using the road.

The DirectRoute firm which operates the tunnel, last year received ‘traffic guarantee’ payments of €8.4 million from TII.

The traffic guarantee payments are made when daily traffic volumes don’t exceed 23,000 and they were put in place at the outset of the project in order to attract bids to build the scheme.

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This was in a year when DirectRoute more than doubled operating profits to €16.44 million. Accounts show that DirectRoute (Limerick) Ltd last year saw revenues rise by 38 per cent from €22.55 million to €31.06 million.

Drivers using the M50 in Dublin will see tolls rise by 20 cent for cars that are tagged and 30 cent for unregistered vehicles.

Tolls for the eight public-private partnership companies, running the country’s other motorways will also rise – by either 10 or 20 cent depending on the route.

The cost of using the Limerick Tunnel will rise from €2 to €2.10 for cars and more for other types of vehicles.

The Dublin Port Tunnel is the only tolled road not facing an increase.