The Road Ahead: A Guide to Kenya’s Tolling Expansion and its Impact on Real Estate 


The development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Kenya hold significant implications for economic growth and societal advancement. In alignment with the government’s imperative to bolster infrastructure financing, the proposition to augment road tolling assumes a critical juncture in the nation’s developmental trajectory. Against this backdrop, the government’s proposal to expand road tolling as a means to finance infrastructure upkeep necessitates a thorough examination of the legal frameworks, potential impacts, and considerations for stakeholders, particularly those in the real estate and finance sectors. This article aims to elucidate the legal definitions of roads in Kenya, delineate the proposed tolling framework, and evaluate its ramifications on various stakeholders.  

Legal Framework: 

The legislative framework governing road tolling in Kenya is enshrined within a mosaic of statutes, prominently including the Public Roads Toll Act (Cap 407) and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 (No. 18 of 2012). These statutes endow the government with the prerogative to designate toll roads, establish toll collection mechanisms, and administer toll revenue. Supplementing these statutes are overarching frameworks provided by the Kenya National Highways Authority Act (2006) and the Roads Act 2007, which collectively underpin road development and maintenance endeavours in Kenya. 

Classification of roads in Kenya 

The classification of roads in Kenya, categorized into Class-S, Class-A, and Class-B roads, serves as the bedrock for infrastructure planning and management. The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), established pursuant to the Roads Act, 2007, assumes a pivotal role in the proposal and implementation of tolling initiatives across its jurisdictional ambit. 

The classes are defined as follows: 

1. Class-S Road: 

A Highway that connects two or more cities and carries safely a large volume of traffic at the highest speed of operation; Total – 40 Kilometers (All Paved) 

2. Class-A Road: 

A Highway that forms a strategic route and corridor connecting international boundaries at identified immigration entry and exit points and international terminals such as international air or sea ports; Total – 6,830 Kilometers (Paved 4,975 KMs, Unpaved 1,855 KMs) 

3. Class-B Road: 

A Highway that forms an important national route linking national trading or economic hubs, County Headquarters and other nationally important centers to each other and to the National Capital or to Class A roads. Total – 14,713 Kilometers (Paved 7,202 KMs, Unpaved 7,511 KMs) 

Proposed Tolling Framework: 

The government’s endeavour to expand road tolling underscores a strategic initiative aimed at augmenting revenue streams dedicated to the maintenance and enhancement of transportation infrastructure. Central to this initiative is the authority vested in the Cabinet Secretary responsible for roads to determine toll fees, coupled with the delegation of toll collection responsibilities to competent individuals through formally sanctioned agreements endorsed by pertinent authorities.  

Complementing this framework, the enactment of Toll Fund Regulations signifies a pivotal step towards institutionalizing a centralised mechanism for the administration of toll revenue. On November 3rd, 2021, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury enacted the Public Finance Management (National Roads Toll Fund) Regulations through Legal Notice No. 222, published in the Kenya Gazette. These regulations, authorized under Section 24(4) of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 18 of 2012, establish a national government public fund, subject to approval by the National Assembly. By establishing standardised protocols and stringent guidelines, these regulations were poised to imbue the tolling system with transparency, accountability, and efficiency, thereby bolstering public trust and confidence in revenue management practices. 

Potential Impacts and Considerations:  

The proposed expansion of road tolling heralds a myriad of potential impacts, traversing domains such as infrastructure development, real estate valuations, and financial logistics. Advocates of the initiative laud its potential to catalyse improvements in road infrastructure, stimulate private sector investment, and alleviate fiscal pressures on government budgets. However, legitimate concerns regarding public acceptance, equitable distribution of financial burdens, and the potential socioeconomic ramifications of tolling. Moreover, the imperative of ensuring transparency and accountability in toll revenue management looms large, necessitating the implementation of robust oversight mechanisms to mitigate the risk of malfeasance or misallocation of funds. As stakeholders navigate these complex dynamics, a balanced and informed approach is imperative to maximize the benefits of road tolling while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders and ensuring sustainable infrastructure development for the future. 


As Kenya navigates the trajectory of infrastructure development, stakeholders in the real estate and finance sectors find themselves at the nexus of pivotal policy decisions. In light of the proposed road tolling expansion, stakeholders are impelled to undertake a judicious appraisal of the attendant legal frameworks, potential impacts, and considerations. By fostering informed discourse and strategic decision-making, stakeholders can navigate this terrain with acumen and advocate for equitable and sustainable infrastructure development in Kenya. 


This information is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with qualified professionals for specific legal guidance. 

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