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More highway projects to be funded with state money

Although many people think there is no regulation about toll collections used for expressways invested by the state, the Government says there is a legal basis for this.

The ongoing National Assembly is planning to consider several large transport projects.

These include three highways with total investment capital of VND84 trillion, namely Khanh Hoa – Buon Ma Thuot, Bien Hoa – Vung Tau, and Chau Doc – Can Tho – Soc Trang (phase 1). In addition, there are projects on building the Ring Road No3 in HCM City (VND75.3 trillion) and Ring Road No4 in the Hanoi capital region (VND85.813 trillion).

Transport projects awaiting the National Assembly’s approval alone have huge total investment capital of VND245 trillion and most of them are developed with state money.

Many projects have shifted from the investment mode of PPP (private public partnership) to state funding. Explaining this, the government said that some PPP projects have had problems which cannot ensure the success of the projects. 

The government has thus proposed that transport projects be developed under the mode of public investments. When construction finishes, tolls will be collected to pay money back to the state budget. The investment mode will both ensure the progress of projects and be in line with the policy on mobilizing social resources for infrastructure development.

Explaining the need to collect tolls for highway use, the government says the demand for investment in infrastructure items to serve socio-economic development is very high, as the state budget is limited. The maintenance fee collection from vehicle owners each year cannot provide enough capital to operate and maintain road works.

Therefore, collecting service fees from using the highways funded by the state is a necessity, which obtains expenditures for highway operation and maintenance, and capital for reinvestment in infrastructure.

State to set up toll collection stations?

The National Assembly’s Economics Committee, when considering highway projects, is not sure about the legal basis of the mechanism and asks to clarify the mechanism of reimbursement to the state and local budgets. There has been no regulation on concessions and toll collection for the highways invested by the State. Therefore, the committee asks to check and perfect the legal framework to pave the way for toll collection.

The State Audit of Vietnam said the government needs to build up a specific toll collection mechanism, as well as set a reasonable mechanism to share revenue between the central and local budgets.

Meanwhile, the government, citing the laws on the management and use of public assets, the regulations on investment under PPP mode, affirmed that there is a legal basis for the toll collection.

Luong Bang

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