Guthrie, Lekas among 4 highways allowed to hike toll rates

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KUALA LUMPUR: Four highways are entitled to hike toll rates next year based on concession agreements, says Minister of Works, Fadillah Yusof.

He said they were the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), Kajang–Seremban Highway (Lekas), Senai–Desaru Expressway (SDE) and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE).

“The estimated amount of toll compensation that will have to be made for the four highways in 2017 in the absence of toll hikes is RM59.77 million,” he said in a written reply to a question from Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim had wanted to know the outcome of discussions with the highway concessionaires who will increase their rates and the amount of compensation required from the government if the tolls were not raised.

Lim also asked about the costs incurred for construction of the North-South Highway and collection of toll to date, and why the toll had not been scrapped yet.

Fadillah said the expressway involved was built in 1989 and completed in 1994 at a cost of RM5.9 billion, which was fully borne by the concessionaire, except for costs incurred in land acquisition that was covered by the government.

According to the original agreement in 1988, he said the highway concession was supposed to end in 2018 but following efforts made to minimise the impact of toll hikes, the government had to restructure the rates in 1999, 2002 and 2011.

“Under the last restructuring (2011), all expressway concessions under PLUS Berhad, including the North-South Expressway, had been standardised, that is ending on Dec 31, 2038,” he said.

Fadillah said until the end of 2015, the overall toll collected for the North-South highway alone was RM36.39 billion.

The total amount of compensation paid out to PLUS following the deferment in toll hikes until 2015 was RM917.1 million, he said.

Fadillah explained that although the concessionaire received a high amount in toll collection, it did not mean that they had gained big profits as they also had to shoulder various other commitments.

“On average, concessionaires are required to spend 45 to 50 per cent from their earnings for loan repayment, overheads and operation (20 per cent), as well as for repairs and upgrading (15 to 20 per cent),” he said.

According to Fadillah , an estimated 10 per cent of the profit from toll collection was disbursed to shareholders.