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Minister bemoans media bias on new traffic fees

Update: April, 05/2012 - 10:19

HA NOI — Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has called for more balanced reporting from the media on the measures being taken by his ministry to reduce traffic congestion and accidents.

Speaking at a press conference in Ha Noi on Tuesday, Thang said that the proposed extra fees for vehicles in congested cities were just one among co-ordinated measures, along with infrastructure development, reviewing transport planning, revising the regulatory system and otherwise limiting the increase in the number of personal vehicles on the road.

"All these measures must be carried out simultaneously to develop the transportation system," he said. "But lately many news reports have only focused on fee collections and forgotten about other efforts in the transportation sector."

Thang admitted to some weaknesses in his ministry's provision of public information but said incomplete media reports had engendered unnecessary controversy.

The minister also promised transparency and publicity in the use of fee revenues, which were intended to be invested in infrastructure projects. He refirmed that all fee proposals followed instructions and guidelines set by the Government and the National Assembly and had not been initiated by his ministry.

Proposed fees on personal vehicles, peak-hour fees for cars in city centres and road maintenance fees have caused public concern in recent weeks since the ministry first proposed them to the Government and the Government passed the proposal to the National Assembly for discussion late last year.

Once applied, the new fees could cost each car owner an additional VND20-50 million (US$950-$2,380) per year.

At the regular Government meeting last weekend, Thang said that the proposals for the new fees for cars in city centres were unlikely to be collected this year due to the country's credit crunch. — VNS

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