By Ayen Infante
11/03/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]
The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), operator of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTex), has sought an increase in toll rates before the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) of P2 per kilometer for Class A vehicles.
SCTex spokesman and program manager for operational support services Robert Gervacio said the proposed toll rate increase would fund the repayment of the principal and interest of the loan granted by the government of Japan through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) that will start in 2011. The JBIC loan mainly bankrolled the construction of the SCTex.
Gervacio said that while the TRB granted BCDA an authorized toll rate of P2.49 per kilometer for Class A vehicles, BCDA has implemented an effective toll rate of only P2 per kilometer.
He also said that since the SCTex started partial commercial operations on April 28, 2008, motorists plying the SCTex have been enjoying a savings of 49 centavos per kilometer.
The Toll Operation Agreement (TOA) provides for a toll rate adjustment based on a parametric formula that takes into consideration the following elements: debt service, peso-yen BSP reference rate, operations and maintenance cost, annual growth rate per financial projects, actual annual traffic volume and length of expressway, authorized toll rates per vehicle class, JICA interest, and Department of Finance (DoF) guarantee.
According to Gervacio, the proposed toll fee filed before the TRB is P2.87 per kilometer for Class A vehicles. “The increase is a fair amount that will allow us to fulfill and sustain our obligations to both our creditors and motorists.” However, the toll rate adjustment is still not final pending TRB review and approval.
BCDA also assured that the increase would enable the BCDA to sustain the high level of service efficiency at the SCTex. Motorists using the country’s most modern toll road enjoy the following benefits: savings on time and fuel, less vehicle wear and tear, less spoilage for produce, and stress-free and safe driving.
“The increased toll fee will be worth every centavo,” Gervacio said. The SCTex is a brand new expressway designed to facilitate the speedy transfer of people, goods and services in the region.
When approved, the proposed new toll rate matrix will be implemented starting Jan. 1, 2011. “We believe that our petition is justifiable, but we will abide by the decision of the TRB,” Gervacio said.