Cape Town - 101027 - Pravin Gordhan, minister of finance, delivered the Mid Term Budget report today at Parliament in Cape Town - Photo: Matthew Jordaan

The Gauteng toll fees should be absorbed by the increase in the fuel levy, the Automobile Association said on Wednesday.

“We are convinced that despite the latest offering from government the cost to the consumer, as far as the Gauteng tolls are concerned, is going to hit home hard when commodity prices increase as well as transport costs,” said spokesman Gary Ronald in a statement.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a cap of R550 per month on Gauteng toll road users in his budget speech earlier.

A special R5.8 billion appropriation has been included in the 2011/12 budget to ease the toll burden in Gauteng, the minister said.

The new fees will see drivers of ordinary vehicles pay 30 cents a kilometre, instead of 66 cents as originally planned.

But Ronald said that instead of the toll fees, a road fund should be established for transport, road safety and transport infrastructure projects.

Otherwise, a portion of funds derived from the fuel levy should be “ring-fenced” to be dedicated to these projects.

Ronald said it was important for road users, who bore the brunt of fuel levies and tolls, to see the benefits of additional investment in infrastructure “within a very short period of time”.

Gordhan announced that taxes on fuel would rise to 28 cents per litre from April 1, eight cents of which would go to the Road Accident Fund.

He also said that the SA National Roads Agency Ltd would receive R5.75 billion to help cover debt relating to the Gauteng toll roads. - Sapa