Belfast Telegraph

Toll roads may be introduced in Northern Ireland, hints Sinn Fein minister Hazzard

Poll: Do you support introduction on toll roads? Scroll down to cast your vote

By Jonny Bell

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has hinted that toll roads could be introduced in Northern Ireland.

The Sinn Fein MLA said he was willing to consider the measure, to pay for new roads, as well as other alternatives to address projects his department hopes to deliver. Roads projects across Europe have been funded through the introduction of tolls. In the Republic of Ireland motorists can travel the length of the country on one continuous motorway, provided they pay the toll.

In Northern Ireland tolls could help to fund the £130m York Street interchange project.

It aims to replace the existing signal-operated junction at York Street with direct links between the Westlink/M1, M2 and M3 - the three busiest roads in Northern Ireland.

However, funding for the project has thrown it into uncertainty.

More: Green light for £130m York Street Interchange roads plan, but doubt remains over funding

In response to a Belfast Telegraph opinion piece on the introduction of tolls, the minister said he would not rule out the possibility.

A Department for Infrastructure spokeswoman told the BBC Stephen Nolan show: “The minister has made clear his willingness to consider alternative possibilities to enable him to address his capital priorities.

"He will be discussing how best to meet these with the Finance Minister and the Executive in the coming days in the context of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement later this week.”

More: Opinion: Executive should lift barrier on tolls and upgrade roads in Northern Ireland

But would you be in favour of paying for roads, if it meant better and improved journeys?

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