Manama: Kuwait could resort to charging fees for the use of some roads following recommendations put forward by “serious” studies to improve traffic network.
“All studies suggest that there should be a fee for the use of some roads,” Ahmad Al Hussan, the Assistant Undersecretary for Road Engineering at the Ministry of Public Works, said. “However, there should be alternatives for these roads so that the motorist has the choice of which road he or she wants to use,” he said quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Monday.
Al Hussan said that charging fees on the use of roads was becoming a necessity.
“All the serious studies carried out in this regard indicate the need to impose fees on the use of some roads, provided that it is imposed thoughtfully and not randomly. The purpose of these fees is not the collection of funds, but rather organising traffic and developing the road system,” he said.
Works Minister Abdul Rahman Al Mutawa in July presented a memo to the cabinet calling for imposing tolls for the use of Shaikh Jaber Causeway.
The causeway, one of the longest in the world, with a total length of 43.14km, is expected to be inaugurated by the end of 2018.
In his memo, Al Mutawa said that the ministry conducted studies that compared the under-construction causeway to other water links in the Arabian Gulf, Europe and Asia and found out that most of the countries imposed tolls on vehicles to help cover for operation and maintenance costs.
The fees on the roads and on the causeway will be imposed on all users, including Kuwaitis and expatriates.
MP Safa Al Hashem has been pushing for introducing taxes for expatriates, who make up two-thirds of the total population, on using roads.
The lawmaker, the only woman in the elected parliament, said her suggestion was aimed at addressing the demographic imbalance and reducing traffic congestion in the northern Arabian Gulf country.