15 November 1996 - Bridge Tolls Costing Skye Economy 2.5m A Year

The extortionate tolls on the Skye Bridge are costing the area 2,500,000 a year in lost income and its removal could create the equivalent of 208 full-time jobs and increase tourist visits by 10%, according to a Highland Council survey.

The economics study, carried out for the council, also estimates that residents and businesses in Skye spent 850,000 on tolls during the first year of the Bridge's operation.

The closure of the Redland quarry in Kyleakin, with the loss of several jobs, was symptomatic of the problems associated with the high tolls. It is cheaper for a mainland contractor to travel 85 miles to Inverness for aggregate than to cross the bridge to Kyleakin.

The study arrived at its conclusion by taking the 850,000 spent by locals and applied a 1.2 multiplier to calculate the impact a porportion of this extra spend would have on the local community. To the 1 million total, it added an additional 81,000 of tourist spending and 293,000 worth of savings for cheaper supplies. This gave an unrealised benefit of 1,374,000. On top of this it added 992,000 for generated tourist trade and 184,000 for income generated by other businesses.

This gave a total of 2,550,000 for the area if the bridge was toll-free.

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Copyright © Ray Shields, 1996.

Most recent revision, 15 November 1996.