Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Bureau warns about costs of toll-free roads

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

If drivers on the east-west national freeways remained exempt from paying toll fees, the Freeway Construction Fund (國道建設基金) would suffer a shortage of NT$2 billion, the National Freeway Bureau said yesterday.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) announced on Monday that the ministry would give each driver on the north-south national freeways a toll-free distance of 20km, adding that those driving on the east-west freeways would not have to pay fees for now.

However, the question of tolls on the east-west freeways would be re-examined after the measure has been in effect for between two and three years, Yeh said.

The nation collects about NT$22 billion in freeway toll fees every year, bureau chief engineer Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said yesterday. To make up the shortage, the bureau may have to review its proposed rates and the number of toll-free kilometers each driver would be allowed, Wu added.

“If the drivers on the east-west freeways do not need to pay tolls, it could affect the construction of National Freeways No. 4 and No. 7 and two short connecting freeway routes from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport,” Wu said.

Last year, the bureau proposed three possible toll options. The first would not allow freeway users any toll-free concession, with each car being charged NT$0.82 per kilometer traveled. The second would give each driver a toll-free distance of 10km per day, with a NT$1 toll for each kilometer traveled thereafter.

The third would increase the daily toll-free distance to 20km, but also push the toll up to NT$1.20 per kilometer if a person drives between 20km and 200km. The rate would drop to NT$0.9 once drivers pass the 200km mark

The rate would drop to NT$0.9 once drivers pass the 200km mark.

Results from the latest poll conducted by the bureau showed that about 40 percent of the population supported the plan for a 20km toll-free concession.

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