Guangdong to scrap highway tolls

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am

Guangdong is planning to abolish tolls on government-owned roads by the end of 2019, according to mainland media.

The government scrapped a third of the province's tolls from 2001 to last year and is working on a timetable for scrapping the remaining tolls, believed to be more than 100, the Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday.

After 2019, all highway tolls, except those at the Guangdong-Hong Kong border and the provincial boundaries, would be abolished, the report said.

Wang Zhirong, spokesman for the Guangdong Communication Department, said officials were still working on the plan and declined to provide further details.

A source with the Communication Department said implementing the plan was complicated because it involved other departments, such as the Development and Reform Commission and the Price Bureau.

'We are not the single department responsible for the plan and the joint research will be given to the provincial leaders for approval,' the source said, adding she could not confirm the details mentioned in the Yangcheng Evening News report.

Wang Zechu, a Guangdong Political People's Consultative Conference delegate, said any further delay in abolishing tolls on government-owned roads was just a government strategy to earn more money. He said there were still hundreds of tolls on privately owned roads in the province and, according to the State Council's order, they could continue until the end of 2028.

'The government even transfers its road projects, such as the collapsed Jiujiang Bridge, to the private sector, which continues to collect fees for another decade,' Mr Wang said. 'They are not providing public facilities of quality, but only regarding these as money machines.'

Drivers say 12 years is too long to wait for their abolition. 'I am 35 years old and might have retired when they stop collecting the fees,' said Guangzhou taxi driver Lei Shufang .