JAKARTA

Vietnam is considering charging tolls on state-funded expressways to generate much-needed funding for improving roads.

“If it is approved, three expressways would collect tolls of VNĐ1,500-2,000 (US$0.06-0.08) per kilometer once they go into operation in 2023,” said Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong, referring to the Mai Son-National Highway 45, Vinh Hao-Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet-Dau Giay expressways, which are component projects of the North-South Expressway

The ministries of transportation and finance will submit the plan to the government and the National Assembly Standing Committee for approval.

The deputy minister said tolls on state-funded expressways had sparked controversy in many countries such as the UK and Japan.

Based on the Road Traffic Law of Vietnam, drivers do not have to pay tolls on state-funded expressways and only need to pay road maintenance fees at automobile registration centers.

However, extra funding is needed to invest in high-quality expressways.

“Expressways are safe and convenient, so drivers should pay fees. Otherwise, they could use free roads like National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road,” he added.

Some state-funded expressways like HCM City-Trung Luong and Ha Noi-Thai Nguyen are already collecting tolls but still lack funding for maintenance work, resulting in downgraded roads.

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