Road fee hike raises complaints

Update: March, 16/2015 - 08:39
A section of the HCM City–Trung Luong Expressway. The Ministry of Transport's decision to hike toll rates on the expressway by 50 per cent from June 1 has drawn opposition from transport enterprises. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai

HCM CITY (VNS) — Transport enterprises oppose the Ministry of Transport's decision to raise fees on the HCM City–Trung Luong Highway by 50 per cent from June 1.

Two flyovers on the highway have not been built due to a lack of capital. One flyover would run from provincial road No 10B and another from Tran Dai Nghia road to Tan Tao–Cho Dem.

The new fees would be applied from June 1 to August 31, 2018.

Fees for cars with less than 12 seats will increase from VND40,000 (US$2) to VND60,000 ($2.5). For 12-seat to 30-seat buses, the fee will rise from VND60,000 ($3) – VND90,000 ($4.5).

Fees for trucks over 18 tonnes with 40-feet containers will increase from VND240,000 ($12) to VND360,000 ($18).

According to estimates from the Ministry of Transport, the increased fee would bring VND620 billion ($30 million), along with VND325 billion ($15.5 million) from selling fee collection rights to the Yen Khanh Trade–Production–Service Ltd company.

That would be enough to pay for the two flyovers' construction.

The ministry has already approved and selected bidders for the construction to begin at the end of the month.

After the suggestion was announced, transport enterprises said there were too many problems that had not been resolved.

"It is called a highway but the quality of the road's surface is not good enough for drivers travelling at high speed," Vo Van Ba, owner of Thao Chau Transport Enterprise, was quoted as saying in Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times).

"We won't use these two flyovers, so why do we have to pay for that?" said Nguyen Manh Duy, a representative for a HCM City-based transport company.

He said that by June 2015, these two flyovers would not be completed. However, the ministry had asked transport companies to pay in advance.

"It is irrational," he added.

Lawyer Thai Van Chung, vice chairman of the HCM City Cargo Transportation Association, said the Ministry of Transport's requirement to increase the fee was not proper under the current Fee Ordinance.

The ministry suggested building the two flyovers as one independent project under the Build-Operate-Transfer model. This means the investor must complete construction and have approval from authorities before investors have a right to collect fees.

In addition, investors only have a right to collect fees from any organisation or individual who use the facilities.

The lawyer also said the 50 per cent increase would affect transportation prices.

Meanwhile, in an official letter in mid-2012, the ministry suggested that the Government Decree increase fees by 25-30 per cent for over 18-tonne truck and 40-feet containers.

"The ministry should find another solution for these two flyovers and should not increase fees on one work to build another," Chung said. — VNS