Abolish tolls for Penang bridges but charge levy on outstation cars, says rep

Kebun Bunga assemblymen Jason Ong Khan Lee speaks during a press conference in Georgetown November 15, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Kebun Bunga assemblymen Jason Ong Khan Lee speaks during a press conference in Georgetown November 15, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 15 — The Penang government can fulfil its promise to abolish tolls for its two bridges by charging a levy on outstation cars entering the island, a state assemblyman proposed today.

Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong Khan Lee said his proposal will enable the state to cover the maintenance costs of both bridges.

“By charging this levy, it is a way for Penang to justify the abolishment of toll for both bridges,” he told a press conference.

He clarified that his proposal, which was made at the state legislative assembly on Tuesday, was meant for the Pakatan Harapan government to fulfil its promises in its manifesto.

He said technology such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) can be used to give exemptions to those who work on the island or have cars with outstation plate numbers.

“We can use technology to give exemptions to all Penangites and those working here and the charges are only on cars of visitors from other states,” he said.

He is certain that such a measure will not deter visitors from entering the island just like Langkawi.

He said visitors to Langkawi use taxi, Grab or rented cars to travel around.

“This step to charge a levy is just a start to stop influx of vehicles into the island,” he said.

He added that building more highways is not a solution but reducing the number of cars coming into the island can be one of the solutions to reduce congestion on the island.

“Now we can collate feedback from the public and carry out feasibility studies,” he said.

He said exemptions can also be given to tour buses as the levy can only be for single passenger vehicles.

“We hope that more people can carpool. Without proper studies, the car levy proposal will remain just a suggestion,” he said.

He said this proposal complements the state’s park and ride programme and also its congestion alleviation transit (CAT) buses.

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