Toll hike in lieu of EDL takeover

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Toll hike in lieu of EDL takeover

Postby admin » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:30 am

KUALA LUMPUR: New toll rates at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex in Johor Baru were imposed because it is not viable for the Government to pay RM2.13bil to take over the Eastern Dis­persal Link (EDL), said Malaysian Highway Authority director-general Datuk Ismail Md Salleh.

This was the asking rate by the concessionaire, which spent RM1.26bil to build the highway, he explained.

“The amount is too much to pay for a local project, meaning just for a specific area, so the Government proceeded with the toll increase,” he told a media briefing yesterday.

Ismail said toll collection was supposed to begin a month after the EDL was completed in April 2012, but deferred to enable the Go­­vernment to conduct a study, adding that RM297mil was paid as compensation to the concessionaire for the period May 1, 2012 to July 31.

Apart from the 8.62km highway, which connects the end of the North-South Expressway in Pandan to the CIQ, the concessionaire is also responsible to maintain roads inside the complex.

There was a slight drop in traffic volume for the first five days after the toll was increased but Ismail pointed out that this was a normal trend for any highway that was just starting to implement toll charges, expressing confidence that the figure would “stabilise”.

Between Aug 1 and 5, authorities recorded an average of 22,499 inbound vehicles daily while five days prior to the increase - from July 27 till 31 - the daily figure was 23,909 vehicles.

Ismail said despite the hike, some 180,000 motorists were still enjoying free use of the highway, adding that EDL was created to improve traffic dispersal and provide a respite to city dwellers from traffic jams, particularly along Jalan Tebrau.

“We will work with the concessionaire to introduce a loyalty programme so that frequent users can enjoy discounts and rebates.”

MRCB group chief operating officer Imran Salim said the toll was collected at the Causeway, which was the “lowest traffic catchment point” of the EDL.

He said the majority of motorists were still enjoying the use of the highway for free, adding that those who commute to Singapore on motorcycles need not pay outbound or inbound toll.

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