The State's budget is used as solutions
Suggesting solutions to the conflicts and disagreements between the drivers and the investor of the Cai Lay BOT project, Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), said that the State should use the budget to pay VND300 billion (US$13.2 million) to the investor for improvement of the old section of national highway (NH) No.01 running through Cai Lay town.
At the same time, it is necessary to re-audit and re-inspect the project to ensure proper cost and quality. This aims to turn the improved NH section running through Cai Lay town into the public goods.
In addition, Thanh suggested that Cai Lay toll station should be moved to the newly constructed bypass. The fees are basically decided by the investor.
In principle, the local authorities have the right to place a toll station at Cay Lay town. This station is independent of the bypass toll station, and the collected fees are transferred to the State budget.
The placement of station has two purposes of collecting the improvement and maintenance costs of the highway section (this must be agreed upon by the Government as a national asset) and regulating the number of vehicles traveling through Cai Lay town as required by the local authorities, Thanh added.
Argument about the location of toll station
On November 30, Cai Lay toll station resumed operation after a three-month halt. Drivers still continued opposing the toll station and used small change to pay toll forcing the investor to thrice open the gate for vehicles to travel through free.
Drivers complained that the location of the toll station was inappropriate. The station is located on NH1 but collects fees for a 12-km bypass of the Cai Lay town and many drivers only travel on the NH1 not the bypass.
Moreover, NH1 is the basic infrastructure which was funded from the State budget.
Previously, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) had presented two projects to Tien Giang provincial People’s Council, People’s Committee and National Assembly Delegation for review and selection.
According to project No.1, investors build the bypass and upgrade the section of NH1 running through Cai Lay town. This project ensures capital recovery time and financial efficiency. The highway surface improvement will reduce traffic jam and accidents in the stretch through Cai Lay town because vehicles will travel through both the highway and the bypass. Accordingly, the toll station will be placed on NH1.
In Project 2, the investor only builds the bypass and collects tolls on vehicles traveling through the bypass not the NH. However, it cannot limit the number of vehicles traveling through Cai Lay town because vehicles will avoid the toll station on the bypass.
In addition, if the NH1 is not improved, traffic jam and accident will increase in the stretch through the town. The second project does not ensure investment and financial efficiency and attract investors.