Transparency for Cai Lay Tollgate is a must: expert

04-Oct-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Discussing the controversial Cai Lay Tollgate in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, an expert has noted that if an extra tollgate is built on the bypass alongside the current one on National Highway 1A to collect toll fees, it is vital to publish the relevant information in a transparent manner.

The operator of Cai Lay Tollgate, National Highway No.1 Tien Giang Investment Co., Ltd, built a 12-kilometer road bypassing Cai Lay Town and gave a facelift to a 26.5-kilometer section of National Highway 1, which runs through Cai Lay Town in Tien Giang, under the build-operate-transfer format.

The company set up a tollgate on National Highway 1 to recover capital of roughly VND1.7 trillion, but since toll collection started, in August 2017, drivers have staged strong protests, repeatedly paralysing the tollgate’s operation.

Drivers reasoned that the investor had only built the bypass, so it only had the right to collect tolls on vehicles that use this road section. They considered it unreasonable to charge vehicles running elsewhere on National Highway 1A and found the toll fee too high, as it is almost the same as the fee for using the 40-kilometer HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway.

In December 2017, following more protests, prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the suspension of the tollgate operation and called on the transport ministry to seek solutions.

Deputy minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong stated at a government press conference on Monday that his ministry was weighing the pros and cons of two solutions.

The first solution is to keep the tollgate at the current site and offer special discounts for vehicles with fewer than 12 seats, trucks weighing less than two tonnes and commuter buses, with a fee reduction from VND35,000 to VND15,000 per trip.

The second solution is to build another tollgate on the bypass alongside the current one on National Highway 1A. The current fares will be applied to both tollgates.

These two solutions include fare reductions and exemptions for households living within 10 kilometers of the tollgate.

Following a recent meeting with the People’s Committee of Tien Giang, the local government was in favour of the second option to ensure more fairness, according to deputy minister Dong.

He said that the ministry will continue to improve these options and further assesses their effects, as well as work with the relevant agencies such as the Ministries of Public Security and Information and Communications to have the final solution based on the instructions of the prime minister.

A transport expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, told The Saigon Times that the main issue is to make relevant information available to the public.

He pointed out that investment capital should be made public for all construction work, including the construction of the new bypass and the facelift of the national highway. Besides this, the directorate for Roads of Vietnam should present solutions to update data on the number of vehicles travelling through the two tollgates.

These steps will act as the basis for determining capital recovery and the toll collection period at each tollgate.

Nguyen Van Phuong, a truck driver transporting goods between the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and HCM City, echoed the same views as the expert. He noted that the second option could be optimal. “It is necessary to publicise information on investment capital for each construction component and traffic circulation volume,” he said.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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