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Transport ministry urges PM to reduce NH5 tolls

Update: December, 13/2017 - 15:02
A driver pays toll in small notes at the tollbooth No 1 on the National Highway 5 on Monday. - VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên
Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has sent an urgent proposal to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to reduce tolls on National Highway 5, following a protest by drivers, the online newspaper Vietnamplus reported. 
 
Earlier on Monday, drivers intentionally paid fees at tollbooth No 1 using small notes, thus slowing down the cars passing the station and causing a traffic jam. 
 
The station in question is one of the two tollbooths built under the Build-Operation-Transfer (BOT) model by the Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Company (VIDIFI). 
 
VIDIFI “unreasonably” placed the stations on NH5 to recover their investment into the Hà Nội - Hải Phòng Expressway, the drivers argued. In response to the drivers’ protest, the transport ministry proposed two scenarios to reduce the tolls. 
 
In the first scenario, public buses, non-business light trucks and vehicles with less than 12 seats belonging to those who live close to the stations will be free to pass, while vehicles of organisations located in the area will be subject to a 20 per cent discount. 
 
VIDIFI will lose about VNĐ51 billion (US$2.26 million) a year if the fee reduction is applied to vehicles within a 3km diametre of the station, the ministry said, and up to VNĐ80 billion in the case of a 5km diametre. 
 
The second scenario involves a universal discount for all vehicles passing the station. The reduction ranges from VNĐ5,000 to VNĐ20,000, depending on the vehicle type. VIDIFI is expected to be short of some VNĐ5 trillion in toll, as compared to its original financial plan, according to the ministry.
 
The transport ministry said that in the second scenario, the government will have to pay VIDIFI the expected loss of VNĐ5 trillion from 2018 to 2025, which is hardly possible due to the already very strained State budget. The first scenario, meanwhile, will only cut the fee collection by roughly 10 per cent. 
 
The ministry asked PM Phúc to approve the fee reduction at the NH5 BOT tollbooths using the first scenario. — VNS 
 

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