After receiving strong opposition from car owners, the Minister of the Interior has rejected the idea of setting up toll booths in Iceland.
Toll booths are not exactly ubiquitous in Iceland. Only one exists – at one end of the Hvalfjörður tunnel – and even this did not exist before 1998. But as Iceland has a great deal of car drivers and very little mass transit outside of the capital area, the cost of maintaining the country’s roads has put a strain on the budget.
As the Grapevine previously reported, the idea of setting up a toll booth in south Iceland was strongly opposed, and has sat on the back burner ever since.
The Icelandic Automobile Association, Vísir reports, submitted to the Ministry of the Interior a petition bearing over 41,000 signatures from voting-aged Icelanders opposing the idea of setting up any more toll booths in Iceland.
For his part, Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson is also against the idea.
“Since this discussion began over two years ago, a great opposition to such toll booths has arisen,” he said. “I received over 40,000 signatures from the Icelandic Automobile Association in just a few days. This represents about 20% of the voting-aged public in this country.”
Where the money for repair and upkeep of the roads will come from as the number of Iceland’s car drivers increases was not discussed, but when asked for his personal position on toll booths, Ögmundur responded, “My position is to listen to the people in this country. Those who are paying the bill have to have a say.”