Legislators reject city proposal on higher toll fees, sidewalk rents

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Ho Chi Minh City legislators on Tuesday turned down its executive body's proposal to increase toll fees on certain roads and charge money for sidewalks and streets being used for parking vehicles.

The city People's Committee was looking to raise by 1.5-1.7 times the toll fees on Hanoi Highway, Kinh Duong Vuong Street, and Binh Trieu 2 Street and Bridge. It also wanted to charge fees for sidewalks and streets used as parking lots.

But Pham Van Dong, head of the city People's Council's Economy and Budget Department, said a council meeting on Tuesday concluded that the requests were not convincing enough.

Deputy Pham Minh Tri said the People's Committee has not clarified for how long the toll fees would be raised and sidewalk fees charged, what the money would be used for and who would supervise its collection and spending.

The city is facing severe shortage of public space and the sidewalks are parts of the little that remained, noted deputy Truong Trong Nghia.

By charging money from shops using parts of the sidewalk or cars parked on the streets, the city would legalize the use of sidewalks for commercial purposes and narrow down the space for pedestrians, he added.

The city People's Committee had suggested fees of VND450,000 (US$22.5) each time a car parked on 73 streets in 11 districts. Shops using parts of the sidewalks and streets on 112 streets in 16 districts would be charged between VND1,700 and VND150,000 a square meter a month, the committee had proposed.

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