Cabinet to decide on proposed toll increase for Berbice Bridge

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Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson Thursday afternoon said he will be bringing Cabinet’s attention the proposal by the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. (BBCI) for an increase in tolls for all categories of vehicles.

Minister Patterson’s remarks come two days after his Ministry issued a statement rejecting the proposed increases, saying that the coalition Government will stand by its campaign promise to make the fees more affordable.

“I am actually going to be approaching Cabinet next week Tuesday for directions on the Berbice Bridge,” Patterson told reporters as he arrived at Parliament Building.

The Minister explained that he personally does not support the request for increases but he will let the caucus of ministers decide on the appropriate action.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Wednesday afternoon suggested that the Government increase the subsidies or buy more shares in the BBCI.

Jagdeo, under whose presidency the Public-Private-Partnership arrangement for the Berbice Bridge was conceptualized, said it is critical that the BBCI turns a profit.

The BBCI contended that the increases are necessary so it can make enough money to operate, conduct maintenance works and pay dividends to shareholders.

Minister Patterson argued that the model which was used for the Berbice Bridge is not sustainable.

“Obviously I wouldn’t consider (the increases) …Why would we be increasing the subsidy? Cabinet would guide me but I am trying to figure out the rationale in increasing the subsidy,” he stated.

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