Road tolls will be implemented on all major roads leading out of Reykjavík as well as all tunnels across the country, if a bill currently being reviewed by parliament is approved. Vísir reports the tolls are part of an amendment proposal to the government’s transportation plan, and could be approved by parliament before the end of the week.
Offset loss of income from fuel tax
The bill is currently being developed by the Parliamentary Environmental and Communications Committee in close consultation with Minister of Transportation Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson. The minister stated the planned tolls are meant to offset a loss of income from gas and diesel taxes, which are expected to fall rapidly over the next few years due to the government’s environmental action plan. “That income will not suffice for the road work we generally consider sufficient,” he stated.
The proposal suggests implementing road tolls on all major roads out of Reykjavík, including Reykjanesbraut (Route 41), Suðurlandsvegur (Route 1 South), and Vesturlandsvegur (Route 1 North). Tolls would also be established at all tunnels across the country and at additional locations to finance specific road infrastructure projects, such as a bridge across Hornafjörður, South Iceland.
Camera collection system
The tolls will not be collected via toll booths; rather cameras would be installed at toll points which would record licence plate numbers and charge drivers electronically. In this way, the committee hopes the new tolls would not disrupt the flow of traffic.
The tolls in question are expected to be relatively low, around ISK 150 ($1.22/€1.07) per passenger vehicle with a subscription discount, though single trip fees would be substantially higher. The tolls could yield as much as ISK 10 billion ($81.3m/€71.3m) per year, depending on the amount.
Toll free until 2020
The funds are expected to speed up road infrastructure projects across the country, particularly in rural areas. The proposed amendment is expected to be put to a vote before the end of the week. The implementation of tolls, however, would require a separate bill in the spring session and at least one and a half years to realise, meaning drivers can expect Icelandic roads to remain toll free until at least the fall of 2020.