This morning the Jamaica Gleaner carried a story about the Portmore Toll issue being revisited. Now let me just say that when this 9 day wonder emerged, I was one of those who did not think the people of Portmore were reasonable. I didn’t know the time would come when I could blog about this…but here is my take on the matter.
This is a typical case of crying AFTER the milk has spilt. When the residents saw the concrete structure being erected, why didn’t they go to court from the smashing of the first stone, to protest about this monstrosity in their midst? This is because, according to many a news report, the majority of citizens only got involved when the horse had already gone through the gate. So, the toll road opened, offering residents an alternate route via Mandela Highway. The residents decided upon themselves that this was way too inconvenient. Plain economics I say! Comfort and ease has a price tag! That is how it is in the US. Want a free road in Miami? You better get on that I-95! Want to drive with ease and comfort? Then you pay to jump on the turnpike! Simple! But no…..in typical Jamaican style, the freeness mentality reigns supreme. I have had many arguments with people about this issue and they always say that because I don’t live there I don’t know how people feel. Well, it is exactly for THAT reason why I take great offence to being asked to foot that bill further, when I don’t even live in Portmore. In fact I would get lost in Portmore if I were to get on that highway! Currently, taxpayers subsidise the toll road and for all of those who are taking up for the residents who are huffing and puffing, you need to bear this in mind:
1. The road is currently subsidised by YOU the taxpayer
2. The Portmore residents are asking YOU the taxpayer to subsidise further, through the increase of the subsidy.
3. Do YOU the taxpayer think it is fair that you should be pulled into this when you are an already stretched taxpayer?!
These are the arguments I have always voiced when the issue raises its ugly head. Portmore residents have been rising from as early as 3am daily just to get to work in Kingston from the devil was a boy. When I spoke to a few friends (who oppose the cost of the toll road), they say they can catch a few more Zs with the opening of the highway and they welcomed the extra snooze. Up to now, Portmore residents have yet to tell the rest of the country how much petrol they are saving by driving on the highway. There are just some things that cannot be measured in dollars and cents and these people don’t seem to understand that.
I am fully aware that I may get a lot of flack for my opinion, but this is just what it is…MY OPINION!! Development comes at a cost and you can’t want free roads and expect the rest of the country to pay for it for you! Taxpayers currently subsidise Highway 2000. This highway brings economic benefits to rural citizens and I have no problem with that. Any day I am going to use it I know I have to PAY! If I don’t wish to pay, I have to pay for it with the bumper to bumper traffic in Old Harbour. Plain and simple! Besides, when I look at the cars and SUVs pushing out of Portmore daily (on the TV), it would seem to suggest that the “Portmorians” have their priorities all wrong! Some of those vehicles rival the size of the predominantly “matches box” accommodation! You need to set your priorities straight and stop forcing the rest of Jamaica to pay your bills! Nonsense I say!