With a toll booth here
and a toll booth there
everywhere also got toll booths
[to be sung to the tune of Old MacDonald had a Farm]
recently there has been a lot of outrage over the toll increases.
The sad thing is that as much as we want these increases to go away, they are here to stay. Dr.M and his cronies signed lopsided contracts due to reasons they know best. Ownership of these highways can be likened to running a casino as they are guaranteed profits, and the government does show compassion to you and buy over your loss-making highways like they did for the Seremban-Port Dickson highway. Very much risk free. Not a question of whether you make money or not. It's how much money you can make, and that depends on how well you run the company.
Lulu would like to look at 2 aspects of the issue.
1. Current Concessionaires
semi-value has said, [and Pak Lah has parroted] that under the toll concession agreements approved in the 1990s [to be read as PakLah is to be absolved from all blame as he was not the PM then], the Government has to reimburse the operators if traffic volumes and revenues fall short of the projections. They have no choice but to increase the rate as the burden to subsidise the toll is too heavy for the government to bear. As it is, the Government has to fork out RM2.06bil each year until 2010 to keep toll rates affordable to users.
Lim Guan Eng suggested the Government buy over the five highway concessionaires by paying back the accumulated construction costs.
He may have a good suggestion there. Maybe it is worthwhile for the government to study how much it would cost to buy back some of these highways. If they are as unprofitable to run as some quaters claim, then the owners would be most glad to offload them.
2. Future Concessionaires
This issue has so far been made easier for Bapa Mertua cos he can blame it on the previous administration.
Going forward, what is the Bapa Mertua doing?
Just the other day, semi-value announced RM600mil highway plan to link the Kesas Kota Kemuning Interchange with the Federal Highway.
sad to say, BM's scorecard on this up to this point, based on what little Lulu knows :They have not even started building the highway, and BM's scorecard is already in the red.
Bearing in mind that this is based on the little that Lulu knows, there are still a lot of terms which Lulu and the Joe Public does not know.
how much and how often with regard to the toll and the frequency of the increase
is the Government required to reimburse the operators if traffic volumes and revenues fall short of the projections
Wonder whether would BM's terms score better than those "appoved in the 1990s" or not