The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday unveiled its new proposed rates for the freeway “pay as you go” policy, with long-distance travelers facing higher toll fees than what they pay now.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) and National Freeway Bureau Director-General Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁) presented the new rates during a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.
However, before Yeh could start briefing the committee, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀), representing Yilan County, occupied the podium and chided the ministry for mentioning nothing in its report about the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) that runs from Taipei to Yilan, adding that motorists in Yilan would end up paying higher toll fees under the ministry’s proposal.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Dissatisfied with the ministry’s rate plan, he shredded a copy of the report into pieces and threw them at ministry officials.
“You are bullying the people of Yilan. You never came and explained the new rates to people in the county,” Chen said.
The meeting resumed after Chen left the podium after the convener of the meeting, DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), promised Chen that he could question the ministry later about the proposed rates.
The bureau had previously offered three rate plans. The first one would not give freeway users any toll-free distance, with each person being charged NT$0.82 per kilometer traveled. The second plan would give drivers 10km of toll-free distance, after which they would have to pay NT$1 per kilometer traveled. The third plan would give drivers 20km of toll-free distance, after which they would be charged NT$1.2 per kilometer if the entire distance traveled is less than 200km. The rate would drop to NT$0.9 per kilometer if the entire distance traveled is 200km or more.
However, the bureau decided to readjust the rates after legislators demanded that travelers on the east-west freeways, including Freeway Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 not be asked to pay any toll fee at all.
As such, the three new sets of proposed rates were calculated based on the condition that motorists on the east-west freeways would not be asked to pay toll for two years. Under the first option, motorists will not enjoy any toll-free distance and will be charged NT$0.9 per kilometer. For the second option, motorists will enjoy 15km of toll-free distance and be charged NT$1.2 per kilometer if the total distance is less than 200km. The rate will drop to NT$0.9 per kilometer if the total distance exceeds 200km.
The third option will give motorists a toll-free distance of 20km, with the rate being set at NT$1.3 per kilometer if the distance traveled is less than 200km and NT$1 per kilometer if the distance is 200km and above.
If the third option is chosen, a motorist would have to pay NT$377 for driving from Taipei to Greater Kaohsiung, compared with NT$360 at present.
DPP legislators Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) also questioned the ministry over the use of eTags, which reports said leak users’ information to other businesses.
They said the ministry should not introduce new toll rates until it has come up with measures to regulate how Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection, the freeway toll-collection service contractor, manages personal information.
KMT Legislator Lin Ming-cheng (林明溱) suggested that the toll-free distance be set at 30km and the toll fee be set below NT$1 per kilometer.
A flustered Lin also slipped up when he said: “The ruling party will suffer a big loss in the next legislative election” if the ministry’s proposed rates are not changed.
The meeting ended without reaching a consensus.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported