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The Elephant in the room is the continued Toll on Limerick’s Tunnel

Cllr. Quinlivan said: “Whilst the Government is looking to build the Northern Distributor Road it seems more sensible to buy out the Public Private Partnership (PPP) which was used to build the Limerick Tunnel.”

“When the tunnel was planned I pointed out that it wouldn’t reach its full potential because it was being tolled and stressed it would be far more effective at easing traffic congestion in South-East Clare and Limerick City, if the toll was removed. I also pointed out that taxpayers could end up paying millions of Euro in penalties during the lifetime of the contract because the tunnel wouldn't be able to meet its baseline daily target of 17,000 vehicles and unfortunately this has come to pass. I understand that the average daily usage of the Shannon Tunnel since it opened in 2010 has been in the region of 13,000 plus.”

Sinn Féin constantly warned that the tunnel would be a missed opportunity as it would unfortunately not reach its full potential. The tunnel, albeit an excellent piece of infrastructure, was built far too close to the City Centre and the toll is too high for many motorists to enable it to reach its maximum potential of removing traffic from the streets of Limerick City. When the Government and the NRA signed the PPP contract to build the Shannon tunnel they agreed a penalty fee to be paid by the taxpayer if a certain number of vehicles failed to use the Shannon Tunnel on a daily basis. Now we see that the NRA had paid and will continue to pay the private operator millions in penalties

A continued toll will also mean that the Northern distributor road will be built not in the best interests of people, or reach its full potential, but will be built to safeguard the Tunnel and the revenue it is supposed to collect for private companies.”