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Toll hikes concern transport operators

Update: December, 13/2013 - 09:23

HA NOI (VNS) — Transport operators are concerned that road toll-gate charges will leap up to two-and-a-half times the present rates on January 1.

This was announced in a circular promulgated earlier this month by the Ministry of Finance.

The document, Circular 159/2013/TT-BTC, aims to enable the Government to get a return on investment in road construction under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) system.

The new fees, which are related to the types of vehicles and their load capacity, range from VND15,000 (US cents 70) to VND200,000 ($9.50) per vehicle passing through each toll station.

Motorbikes, and vehicles used for national defence, public security and emergencies, such as ambulances and fire-engines will be exempt.

Routes under the BOT system will not be allowed to collect the new fees until their investors complete construction.

"We carefully considered the current condition of the economy and the cost of living. So, the new fees specified in the new circular are acceptable," Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong told Giao Thong Van Tai (Transport) newspaper.

However, most transport firms think the higher toll fees are unreasonable, according to Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of the Viet Nam Automobile Transportation Association.

"Investors were mobilis-ed to fund road construction and upgrade under the BOT system because the Government cannot afford the cost. The tolls collected will repay the investors, which must be managed and supervised by the Government," Thanh told Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper.

Thanh added that if transport firms had to pay more fees, they would pass the cost on to customers, which was not good under current economic conditions where people are living with the pressure of inflation. — VNS

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