Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The EDL Injustice and how to Eliminate the Tolls at the CIQ

The proposed compulsory tolls proposed at the CIQ is a grave injustice. Maybe it will go into the Guiness Book of World Records as the first toll whereby motorists who do not use the highway have to pay and those who use the 8.2km highway to get to the city centre do NOT have to pay. I guess they used "fuzzy logic" to come up with this toll rationale.
I don't expect Johorians who already have to bear with the higher cost of living in the city will accept this quietly, especially those who travel to Singapore frequently.
Since toll booths were not constructed anywhere along the highway, it is still possible to construct toll gantries similar to the ERP employed on Singapore's roads. This highway could be the front-runner in Malaysia with an advanced system of toll collections. Those ERP gantries do not require reduced vehicle speeds in order to collect tolls.
Consider the hour-long plus jams during the recent Chinese New Year holidays for "balik kampong", motorists have to spend hours just to pay tolls. Why spend hours in a jam because the toll companies have such an inefficient collection system?
Erecting such ERP gantries would take about 2 months during which the software etc can be tested. Seeing that Singapore already has been using the ERP system for many years, it is definitely a proven system.

How about removing the toll system altogether? My idea is that Johor state government will buy this project from MRCB after an audit of the project accounts. The price paid will be based on a reasonable cost basis for at more than RM1bil, this 8.2km highway is too expensive compared to other highway projects. With a proper tender process, the project would probably be about RM700mil. Since the highway benefits the people of Johor Baru,the state can recover the project costs with an increase in assessment for all properties within 5km of any access road to join the EDL. For example, RM150 per annum for residential properties and RM500per annum for commerical and industrial properties for the next 20 years only. The actual amounts may vary but it would be a transparent collection system to pay for the EDL.
Of course having a new highway for free would be nice but as the saying goes, "There ain't no FREE LUNCH!"

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