A special R5.8-billion appropriation has been included in the 2011/12 budget to ease the toll burden in Gauteng, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Wednesday.
"I am mindful that the introduction of tolling to finance the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme has caused considerable public reaction," he told the National Assembly while tabling his 2012/13 budget.
"We have listened carefully to the various suggestions and appreciate the difficulties that might be faced," he said.
The total debt associated with the project was R20-billion. To contribute to a further reduction in the toll burden, a special appropriation of R5.8-billion was now proposed, to be included in 2011/12 spending.
This would reduce the debt to be repaid through the toll system, and make a steeper discount possible for regular road users.
Gordhan said it was important to remember that road-user charges also served an important demand management function on roads that were heavily congested.
Users benefited through lower vehicle operating costs, time savings, and improved safety.
In addition, improved maintenance of regional and provincial roads was made possible by the additional revenue that toll roads generated.
"Going forward, government will carefully evaluate future road infrastructure funding.
"In addition, the further development of efficient and cost-effective public transport systems will receive the urgent attention of the department of transport," he said.