Ministry proposes toll hike on low-traffic BOT roads

By Anh Duy   June 8, 2019 | 01:47 am PT
Ministry proposes toll hike on low-traffic BOT roads
Deo Ca Tunnel in the central Phu Yen Province is one of 37 BOT projects due for a toll hike. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.
The Ministry of Transport has proposed a toll hike for 37 build-operate-transfer projects that are receiving lower traffic than contract estimates.

The proposal for a 12-18 percent increase in toll fees is being made because 25 of the 37 BOT projects are experiencing lower traffic than what was estimated in their contracts.

Some examples of these projects are the Deo Ca Tunnel, which links the two central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa; and the Hanoi-Bac Giang Expressway which connects the capital city with the northern province.

If tolls are not raised, investors might have to declare bankruptcy and trillions of dong (VND1 trillion = $43 million) borrowed from banks will become bad debt, the ministry (MoT) said.

The MoT plans to gradually increase the tolls in the 37 projects from now until 2021 to avoid sudden steep hikes that can inconvenience the public, with this year’s focus on projects with major losses.

If the tolls are not raised by 2021, the government will have to allocate VND3 trillion ($129 million) to cover the losses for nine major projects, the ministry estimates.

Vietnamese regulations allow a toll hike every three years, and the MoT has not raised tolls since May 2016.

The country has 59 BOT projects in operation and two under construction. 

Some of them have drawn protests by local citizens who argue that the BOT toll booths are located so that anyone using the highway but not the bypass would also have to pay toll fees, meaning they have to pay just to travel around in their neighborhood.

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