The Works Ministry will review highway concessions which may result in lower toll rates.
Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said he would call for a detailed study to be carried out before reviewing the concession agreements.
Some of the important factors to be considered were the traffic volume forecasts, toll rates and period of the concession, he said.
“We will compare the toll collections, and maintenance and operational costs, as well as ‘heavy’ maintenance costs,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Heavy maintenance, he said, referred to scheduled maintenance to resurface the entire highway while normal maintenance involved patching up potholes.
Mohd Zin said there was a toll review mechanism clause in the concession agreements which prevented concessionaires from raising toll rates as they pleased.
This has led many to be hopeful that the toll review would bring lower toll charges without the government having to "compensate" the concessionaire.
However, looking at their track record,
PLUS was given a 30 year concession beginning 1988 for the building and running of the North-South expressway.
In 1999, they were given a 12 year extension in return for a renegotiation of the concession providing for a new toll structure, with increments every three to five years instead of annually in the original contract.
So, from 30 years, in became 42 years.
ahh.. you can trust the government to renegotiate it to a more rounded number.
In 2005, under a package to upgrade the expressway, adding two additional lanes in the Seremban-Ayer Keroh and Rawang-Tanjung Malim stretches and relocating the Jelapang toll booth in Ipoh, the government renegotiated the contract and gave PLUS an extension of eight years and seven months.
Now, we are stuck with PLUS, raising the toll every three years for up to 50 years and 7 months from the original 20 years.
Thanks to our fair minded, no vested interest government.
Lulu is going to be pessimistic on this as the government has not shown Lulu any reason to see it otherwise.
Lulu is additionally concerned as the current ruling party may be ruling no more in the very near future, and may choose to sacrifice the nation in return for sadistic revenge by locking in the most unfair and obviously lowsided deals with the "no vested interest" concessionaires.