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Ministries ponder reducing toll fees on expressway

Update: March, 02/2012 - 09:57

HCM CITY — The ministries of Finance and Transport are considering a reduction in toll rates on the HCM City–Trung Luong Expressway, following a request from the HCM City Association of Goods Transport.

The toll-station manager, the Cuu Long Infrastructure Investment Development and Management (CIPM) company, had proposed the rates, according to Ngo Huu Loi, head of the Ministry of Finance's Department of Tax Policy.

The ministries of Finance and Transport were responsible for setting the toll fees, basing the rate on expenses, including investment and operation costs, as well as time of capital recovery for the project.

In a letter sent early this week, the HCM City Association of Goods Transport called on the Government to cut the rates by half "to limit the impact on the price of goods and services amid an ongoing economic recession."

Most HCM City-based transport companies use either heavy trucks of more than 10 tonnes or container-trucks to deliver goods to the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

With a toll fee of VND8,000 per kilometre, each truck has to pay about VND640,000 (US$30.4) for a return trip.

Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Viet Nam Automobile Transportation Association, said the current toll rates were too high for many transport businesses.

Higher transport fees have also added pressure on customers because of an increase in prices of many products, according to Hung.

Because of these added costs, many container trucks continue to travel on National Highway No.1A to escape the high toll rates on the expressway.

Hung has asked the ministries of Finance and Transport to reduce the toll rates on the expressway, particularly at a time when the government is trying to reduce inflation.

Hung also asked the ministries to extend the time of capital recovery for the project, which would also help reduce toll rates.

He pointed out that if rates were cut by half, the number of vehicles travelling on the expressway would double.

Most of the tolls go toward the State Budget, with 7 per cent used for toll-collection expenses and road maintenance.

The 61.9-km six-lane expressway, built at a cost of nearly $10 trillion (476 million), is one of the country's most modern expressways, allowing vehicles to travel at 120km per hour. — VNS

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