The general rule on toll charges is that it has a sunset clause, meaning that at some stage, after the cost and profit have been recovered, the road becomes toll-free.
In other words, the toll is purely to recover the financial outlay in the highway’s development, its maintenance and with a reasonable profit for the investor. The maintenance then falls under the government routine maintenance budget, to be recovered from the highway users through car registration fees or petrol taxes.
In fact, another normal feature of a road toll is for the charges to be reduced, or indirectly, not increased as inflation rises through the years.
The amount of a toll levy is based on expected traffic flow. In some Malaysian roads, the word is that the surveyed traffic has actually tripled, meaning jolly good news for the toll collectors.
Why then have the tolls for five Malaysian highways been raised by as much as 60%? Especially in a time when every damn thing has gone up.
But as usual, our government is non-transparent, so there’s no way of knowing how much has actually been collected?
It seems that it is treating the toll collection as a convenient cash cow, to be milked for extra cash. I wonder whether it is being used to subsidize stuff like:
(1) the questionable RM600 million for UMNO constituencies, which AAB demands that must be used up in three months!
(2) the RM400 million Istana project
(3) the RM220 million Agricultural Expo project
(4) the RM3 billion Penang bridge project
(5) the RM500 contribution to Cambridge university
(6) the sports complex in UK,
(7) ........ (fill in the blanks)
What is going on?