THE government will build a new toll plaza in Seremban to ease the traffic congestion into town and the surrounding areas.
The total cost for land acquisition and the construction of the toll plaza and an access road is RM168mil.
Rasah MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook said, however, that the project should be the responsibility of the highway concessionaire, instead of the government using public funds for it.
Peak-hour jams: Cars which exit the highway have to turn left into the road leading to Seremban 2 to make a U-turn to get to town. This stretch experiences massive traffic jam during peak hours.
“I was shocked when told by the Works Ministry that it will cost the government RM168mil to build the new toll plaza. The amount is almost as much as the state’s annual income of RM180mil,” he said.
Loke said this when visiting the existing toll plaza yesterday, accompanied by Senawang assemblyman P. Gunasekaren, Mambau assemblyman Wong May May, Bukit Kepayang assemblyman Cha Kee Chin and Temiang assemblyman Ng Chin Tsai.
According to Loke, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad told him about the project and its cost in a written reply to a question he posed in Parliament last week.
Zin had said in his reply that the allocation would be sought during the mid-term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan.
Loke, who is also the Lobak assemblyman, said it was absurd to ask taxpayers to pay for the construction of a new toll plaza and then to pay again for driving on the highway.
“It is like going to the coffee shop and paying for your drink and then made to contribute towards the shop's rental or renovation. How can taxpayers' money be used to fund the building of infrastructure for a private company?” he asked.
Loke wondered whether such provisions were stated in the agreement signed between the concessionaire and government.
“It is illogical to have the agreement classified. If the government declassifies it, the people will know if such provisions were in the agreement,” he said.
Loke said that since Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Bhd (Plus) had registered massive profits by operating the highway, it was only proper for it to pay for the construction of the new toll plaza.
He said the government should discuss the matter with the concessionaire before proceeding with the project.
“No one seems to know who should foot the bill for the project because the agreement is classified. We hope someone can enlighten the public on it,” he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had said during an earlier interview that the existing toll plaza would not be closed after the new one was built.
Hasan said this was to allow for a smoother traffic flow as the new link would also eventually be connected to the Seremban Outer Ring Road.
Loke said, however, that the existing toll plaza had to be closed as it was the main cause of the massive traffic congestion into the new townships of Seremban 2 and Rasah Kemayan.
“The present toll plaza has to be closed as the road cannot accommodate the traffic volume. I hope the authorities would consider this as there is only one road leading into the Seremban 2 and Rasah Kemayan townships,” he said.
Several residents said they agreed with Loke that the toll plaza should be relocated.
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