Penang’s second bridge toll to cost more

Once it is ready in 2013, users of Penang’s second bridge – especially those using vehicles categorised under class two – would have to fork out an extra RM2.40.

Cars, taxis and vans except multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) would be charged RM9.40 when using the new bridge, compared to the RM7 for taking the existing Penang bridge.

According to the table on the toll rates given, the charges listed are:

Class 1: Motorcycle – RM1.90
Class 2: Car, taxi, two axle van except MPV – RM9.40
Class 3: Two axle and four wheeled lorry including pickup trucks and SUV (sport utility vehicles) – RM16.20
Class 4: Two axle and six wheeled lorry, vans and buses – RM33.60
Class 5: Three axle lorry – RM60.60
Class 6: Four axle lorry – RM80.80
Class 7: Five axle lorry – RM100.90

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in his written reply to Bukit Bendera DAP parliamentarian Liew Chin Tong’s question on toll rates for the second bridge, said they are set to be in line with that of the first bridge until the end of its concession agreement.

Due to the amount invested which was RM4,500 million (or RM4.5 billion) and a 45-year concession period, toll will be charged on the second bridge even after the end of the concession period of the first bridge (right),” he said.

Responding to this, Liew explained that at a briefing before the construction of the second bridge two years ago, he was told that the toll rates for the new bridge will be similar to those at the existing bridge.

“Instead, once the new bridge is finished they will increase the toll rates on the first bridge,” said Liew, adding that the measure would prevent road users from accessing the second bridge.

“The whole concept behind the construction of the second bridge was to ease the heavy traffic flow on the Penang bridge… and now the whole thing defeats the purpose,” Liew told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

Why RM4.5 billion for the project?

Yesterday, Liew (left) had questioned the premier on the progress of the second bridge and why the cost had escalated to RM4.5 billion and whether the amount included the ‘casting yard’.

In another written reply, the prime minister said that as of April 23, 13.39 percent of the first package and 16.51 percent of the second package of physical works on the second bridge had been completed.

Meanwhile, for the third package, evaluation had begun on March 19 with the tender process still ongoing.

Furthermore, he said that the RM4.5 billion included the cost of constructing the ‘casting yard’ and CHEH Construction (M) Sdn Bhd and UEM Builders Berhad had been awarded the contract for the project.

Liew pointed out that the amount indicated was set two year ago when the price of petrol and other raw materials were at a record high.

“Therefore, why can’t the government bring down the cost? They should try to keep the toll rates low because the bridges are the main access routes for the people of Penang,”

Moreover, the amount stated by the prime minister is much more than the cost projected by a consultancy firm in 2008 which estimated that the bridge would cost only about RM4.3 billion, said Liew.

 

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