Proposals could include imposing urban traffic fees in the draft Law on Roads

May 22, 2024 - 06:37
Twenty-three deputies participated in the discussion, offering suggestions including parking cars under bridges and collecting fees from drivers using certain urban zones, during the draft Law on Roads.
Deputy Hà Phước Thắng from HCM City proposes using areas under bridges for much-needed parking spaces. VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên

HÀ NỘI — National Assembly deputies discussed various aspects of the draft Law on Roads, including the possibility of imposing fees on personal cars entering city areas during specific times, during a plenary session on Tuesday morning as part of the 15th legislature’s seventh sitting.

Twenty-three deputies participated in the discussion, offering suggestions on several pressing issues of the draft Law on Roads. The draft law contained 86 articles, six fewer than the version submitted by the Government and has undergone revisions on 82 articles and the removal of seven articles.

Deputy Nguyễn Phương Thủy from Hà Nội said that collecting fees could curb the excessive growth of personal vehicle use and help reduce traffic congestion in urban areas. It could also provide supplementary revenue for the State budget and could be used to pay for better road infrastructure and support public transport systems in cities.

The five centrally governed cities have been the authority to impose driving charges not previously defined by law. Both Hà Nội and HCM City have developed plans for urban traffic and possible congestion fees, however because the legal implications may be unclear, the implementation has been cautious.

According to Thủy, if the draft law officially includes this type of fee and delegates the authority to provincial People's Councils, defining where they might be applied and how much motorists might pay, the implementation in localities would be much more feasible.

Deputy Nguyễn Thị Huế from the northern mountainous province of Bắc Kạn suggested adding the act of illegally setting up toll stations to the list of crimes.

She explained that there have been numerous instances where individuals have arbitrarily set up toll stations, especially during road blockages caused by landslides.

Huế cited the Government’s Decree 100/2019 on penalties for administrative violations in the road and railway traffic, which includes provisions against constructing or establishing toll stations without the consent of State management agencies.

In terms of land allocations, Deputy Hà Phước Thắng from HCM City noted that the demand for parking in the city is exceptionally high. So he asked whether spaces under road bridges, which are currently unused due to regulatory constraints, could not be used.

A review of the 2008 Road Traffic Law and related decrees revealed that there are no provisions for the exploitation and use of spaces under road bridges and viaducts.

Therefore, the deputy recommended that these regulations be included in the draft which would then provide a legal framework for proper management and use.

Thắng also proposed that the provincial people's committees should have the authority to decide on the use of spaces under road bridges and viaducts managed and maintained by local authorities, which could then be used as parking lots or to store road maintenance equipment.

This should not compromise the structural safety of bridges and roads, he added, and needed to ensure fire and explosion preventions and maintain traffic order and safety.

Meanwhile, Deputy Nguyễn Văn Cảnh from the central province of Bình Định said he was focused on Article 10, which addresses road classifications.

He noted that high-speed roads differ from expressways in that they may lack central reservations and emergency lanes and have traffic patterns similar to national highways. High-speed roads also differ from national highways in that they do not have residential areas on either side.

Cảnh proposed that the NA consider adding high-speed roads to the draft law to ensure comprehensive coverage of all road types.

Deputy Huỳnh Thị Phúc from the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu pointed out the lack of regulations concerning decommissioned toll stations.

These abandoned toll stations cause traffic disruptions and inconvenience for commuters and in spite of numerous complaints from voters, the situation remains unchanged. He told the Assembly that there have been accidents around the abandoned toll booths due to the lack of regulations and people and commuters had been injured by falling debris.

Phúc recommended that the current draft law should include provisions mandating the dismantling and restoration of decommissioned toll stations to ensure traffic safety in the future. — VNS