Berbice Bridge refuses to budge on proposed toll increase- Minister Patterson

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The Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) is still refusing to budge on its position to significantly increase its tolls, according to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson.

As such, the Government’s takeover of the Berbice Bridge is still in effect.

“I’ve said to them I have no desire to continue the takeover if we remove it as you are in court, will you not impose the fees? They said no, if I remove the order, the fees will be imposed immediately so the order remains,” the Minister told the News Room during an interview recently.

The BBCI moved to the court to reverse the takeover which the Government initiated on November 12, 2018, after the company attempted to increase tolls by 100%.

The Government took over the management and operations of the Berbice Bridge for what was supposed to be for a temporary period but seven months later, it is still in effect.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson

Minister Patterson said he received a summon on Wednesday last to appear in Court soon.

He noted that currently, the Ministry, using $120M allocated in the National Budget to repair the bridge, will begin works next month.

“We’re waiting on them to have their system in place whereby we can go and take out the pontoons to repair them… hopefully, by next month we can start taking out the worse of the pontoons and repairing them,” Minister Patterson said.

The Minister said it the Company from all appearance never had any system in place to conduct repairs, causing a delay in the start of the works.

“They don’t have their systems in place, they don’t have a spare pontoon, they obviously never contemplated doing any repairs but we have committed to doing the repairs,” he said.

BBCI wants to increase the tolls for cars from $2200 to $8040; minibuses from $2200 to $8040; pickups from $4000 to $14600; 4WD from $4000 to $14600; small trucks from $4000 to $14600; medium trucks from $7600 to $27720; large trucks from $13600 to $49600; articulated trucks from $32,000 to $116,680 and boats from $110,000 to $401,040.

The bridge company argued that it is nearing bankruptcy and was qualified to apply for a toll increase in 2014 but several applications to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure were ignored.

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