Turkey increases bridge, highway tolls 16 pct in 2016
ANKARABridge and highway toll prices in Turkey have been added to the new year’s price hikes for the first time since 2012, with an increase of 16 percent. The new prices were effective as of Jan. 3.
The toll prices had been between 4.25 Turkish Liras and 32.25 liras according to vehicle size on the two bridges over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul since 2012. The toll prices for highways were between 2.25 liras and 15 liras according to vehicle size. The General Directorate of Highways chose not to raise these toll prices for the last three years due to lower inflation rates.
However, rising costs, an increasing inflation rate and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates made the raise in toll prices a must, according to sources.
Civil servants originally asked for a 25 percent hike, but Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım found this high, sources said. After a number of calculations were made, the hike rate was set at 16 percent, which went into effect early Jan. 3.
The cost of cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and electricity will also lighten Turks’ wallets, as the government imposed price hikes on the goods and services with the advent of the new year.
The government increased special taxes on the goods two days after announcing a 30 percent hike in the minimum wage for workers.
Meanwhile, a deputy from the main opposition party has filed a parliamentary question regarding the planned toll prices on the İzmit Bay Bridge, which seeks to reduce the travel time between Turkey’s northwestern province of Gebze and the Aegean coastal city of İzmir to 3.5 hours, as reported by Cihan News Agency.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kocaeli deputy Tahsin Tarhan issued a parliamentary question to Yıldırım over the planned toll price of around 120 liras ($41), asking why the toll price was set on the dollar rather than the lira and whether this amount was high in a country where the minimum wage was lower than $500.
Yıldırım had said the toll price would be $35 plus value-added tax during the groundbreaking ceremony of the bridge in 2010, adding passengers would also pay 0.035 liras per kilometer for the remaining parts of the highway.
With the recent losses in the lira, which is now around 2.89 against the dollar, the price has risen to 120 liras, said Tarhan, who asked what number of vehicle passages had been promised to the companies which won the tender to build the bridge on a build-operate-transfer model and who will have the right to set the prices in the coming years.