Viet Nam News
HẢI PHÒNG — Drivers using National Highway No 5 in the northern Hải Phòng City are asking for the removal of two toll stations on the route to avoid paying double road fees.
Chairman of the city’s Transportation Association Lê Văn Tiến said the highway was developed with funds from the State budget, and according to current regulations, drivers were paying a road maintenance fee.
Toll is usually required to be paid by vehicles travelling on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) road projects.
At present, drivers on National Highway No 5 are paying both road-related fees.
A representative from a local transportation firm said his company had to pay VNĐ1.7 million per month, or over VNĐ600 million (US$26,400) per year, as road maintenance fee for its 30 container trucks.
“Transportation firms suffer from a double burden because of the overlapping fees,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Công explained that drivers currently paid both fees because the Road Maintenance Fund had failed to meet funding for regular maintenance of national highways.
The toll fees collected from vehicles travelling on National Highway No 5 was actually aimed at helping the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway investor get back his investment.
This was one of the special mechanisms granted by the Prime Minister to express investor Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Joint Stock Company (VIDIFI) since the express route required huge investment.
Lê Hoàng Minh, chief of the Office of the Central Road Maintenance Fund, said since 2013, the fund increased by some VNĐ6 trillion ($264 million) yearly because the number of vehicles increased 5-10 per cent every year.
As much as 65 per cent of the fund was spent on maintenance of over 20,000km of national highways in the country while the remaining 35 per cent was spent on provincial or district roads.
“However, the road maintenance fund is currently able to cover 25 per cent of required funding,” Minh said, adding that road maintenance work still required more funding from the State budget.
For example, last year, the Road Maintenance Fund collected over VNĐ6.3 trillion; however the Government must provide an additional VNĐ3.5 trillion to maintain roads nationwide.
Minh said since Việt Nam was tightening its belt, it was difficult to allot more money for road maintenance. Therefore, at this time, the Road Maintenance Fund could not be removed. — VNS