Shane Ross


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NTR: You know the ‘T’ Stands for Tolls!

Posted on: January 24th, 2007

Last week, National Toll Roads released their interim results. The statement was full of the language of “Bioverda, biofuels, Greenstar, Airtricity, ethanol and global warming.” Buried at the bottom, on page four, was a brief reference to the infamous West-Link toll bridge. A footnote. The toll road company is brushing the toll bridge out of its history!

Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that National Toll Roads owned the East-Link toll bridge over the Liffey as well as the more catastrophic West-Link? Perhaps I am wrong, but surely NTR will operate the North-Link (Drogheda by-pass) from now until 2030? Perhaps I am wrong, but is NTR not the operator on the Waterford N25 now under construction? And why is it tendering for the Portlaoise bypass? Will its staff be sowing brown rice on the roadside?

Profits galore are still being pillaged from the motorist, months before NTR finally runs away with the big snatch of over half a billion when the West-Link is bought out.

Nearly all newspapers took the same line from the National Toll Roads’ press release: NTR was a green machine. One referred to it as an “energy group”, another headlined the “biofuel venture”. The Irish Times, in its long piece, included just a single line about tolls. It read: “NTR also operates toll roads.” Full stop. As if the tolls were just a nixer for NTR.

Let’s put the record straight: NTR fleeces motorists and causes pollution by keeping cars and their passengers on the roads for hours of agony.

Even if they reinvest in green projects for PR spin, traffic congestion is NTR’s utopia.