PMO: In future, peak-period congestion fees instead of highway tolls

The government has commenced talks with Gamuda Berhad to negotiate the acquisition of highway concession on four highways. ― Picture taken from Facebook/SMART Tunnel
The government has commenced talks with Gamuda Berhad to negotiate the acquisition of highway concession on four highways. ― Picture taken from Facebook/SMART Tunnel

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — The federal government plans to replace the current system of collecting tolls for highway use with congestion charge system, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said today.

The PMO said the new system with variable fees based on peak period and non-peak hours would be introduced once the federal government succeeds in taking over the operations of four highways.

Under the proposed congestion charge system, highway users will not have to pay anything during “off-peak” hours, but will have to pay a fee during peak hours when there is more traffic.

“With the success of those takeovers, the Government plans to abolish the existing toll collection mechanism.

“A ‘congestion charge’ will instead be introduced where highway users will be charged a ‘congestion charge’ that is same as the existing toll rates for the peak period for six hours daily,” it said in a statement today.

“Toll rates will be abolished completely during ‘off-peak’ hours between 11pm and 5am, where the use of the highway will be free,” it added.

For those using the highway outside of the peak period and off-peak hours, they will have to pay a fee that is at a 30 per cent discount of the existing toll rates, the statement said.

The PMO explained that the collections of the congestion charge would be used to pay for the cost of operating and maintaining the highways and loan repayments.

It said the excess collections would be channelled into a public transport fund to be used to improve the quality of public transport nation-wide.

Earlier in the statement, the PMO also said the Pakatan Harapan-led government has initiated steps to fulfil the coalition’s promise in its electoral manifesto last year to take over highway concessions and gradually reduce toll rates according to the terms in concession agreements.

“As a first step, the Government has started the process of negotiations with Gamuda Berhad to take over the highway concessions where the company has majority stake,” it said.

These highways are the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel.

The PMO concluded its statement on its proposal by saying that the Finance Ministry would announce further details at the appropriate time.