The Economics of the newest leg of Highway 2000

Administrator on September 20, 2014, 10:51 am 1764 3
The Economics of the newest leg of Highway 2000

During Jamaica's celebration of the Emancipendence season, the newest leg of Highway 2000, the Linstead to Moneague leg, was officially opened. This US $600 million intervention promises to make travelling to the North Coast much easier, open the country for increased development in housing and commercial production, lower the cost of energy consumption, and improve the country's productivity. This 66 kilometre stretch of class one highway bypasses the winding and steep Mount Rosser and now allows motorists to move between Kingston and Ocho Rios within an hour or less. This segment is part of the North-South component of Highway 2000 which is being implemented through a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Government of Jamaica and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The Linstead to Moneague segment is one of three sections of this part of the Highway 2000 project with the other two, Caymanas to Linstead, and Moneague to Ocho Rios are currently being worked on by China Harbour. Each of these three segments will attract a toll to motorists until the expiration of the multi-year lease agreement with the Government of Jamaica and the toll authorities. The expected economic impact of this leg of Highway 2000 is said to be tremendous. Some 52,000 Jamaicans were expected to be employed during highway construction and persons living in communities impacted by the highway would be among the preferred workers. The latest information was that approximately 1,600 Jamaicans were employed on the Linstead to Moneague leg of the highway.

Broader economic impacts of this leg of Highway 2000 include the improvement in the movement of goods and services over land as it will take a shorter time to move these from south to north and back again. People will also have a greater choice about where they will live and work since commuting will be much easier between these sections of the island and time would not be significantly wasted in traffic. It will become much easier for persons to choose to reside in one end of the island and work in the other end. The long term impact also would see an improvement in the country's GDP figures as more industries are developed to meet the changing landscape. In addition, the opportunities that will spin off from the completion of the North to South Coast leg of Highway 2000 and the completion of the Logistics Hub will mean tremendous increases in the country's output and income in the formal economy. This highway will also spell great news for tourism as it will become much easier to connect between the north coast resort experience and the south coast cultural and heritage experiences as well.

The economic outlook once the Highway 2000 programme is completed is mostly positive as there will be greater opportunities for investment in the formal economy across the island. Already there are great expectations from the completion of the Logistics Hub to coincide with the completion of the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015. The Jamaican road network has seen great improvement over the last ten years and the latest addition of toll highways in the north to south corridors of the island will add to this enhanced road network. All that is now required is the enabling environment that will be the catalyst for economic growth in a country where economic growth has been delayed for too long.

Comments

Anonymous wrote on September 26, 2014, 2:36 pm:
As it relates to the economic impact of this leg of the highway, there has been much controversy on the efficient movements of goods via the highway. Drivers of heavy-duty vehicles complained that the highway is too steep for them to traverse and expressed their disappointments after waiting so long for an alternative to Mt Rozser.