Vietnam gov't considers proposal to reduce southern highway toll

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Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has instructed relevant ministries to consider petitions by the Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang transport associations to reduce toll on the HCMC-Trung Luong Highway.

The Ministry of Transport has been asked to coordinate with the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to deal with the issue, according to a recent statement on the government website.

The HCMC Trung Luong Highway is a section of the North-South highway designed to allow maximum speeds of 120 kilometer per hour (74.5 mph).

The highway, which bans motorbikes and bicycles, was opened in February 2010 without toll and has been used by around 50,000 vehicles a day.

Vehicles using the highway take only half an hour to go between HCMC and Tien Giang Province instead of 90 minutes by the National Highway 1A.

On February 25, the highway began to collect toll, of about VND1,000 per kilometer for seven-seaters and smaller cars. The toll is higher for other vehicles with the highest of VND320,000 per turn for trucks.

Soon after the toll stations opened, many vehicles returned to using the National Highway 1A and the government approved a plan to build another toll gate on this highway.  It was said the move would help avoid traffic congestion on National Highway 1A .

Meanwhile, the HCMC and An Giang transportation associations have said their business has been hurt due to high toll fees, saying these would, in turn, increase commodity prices and the consumers will suffer the most.

In its petition to the government, the HCMC Transport Association proposed to halve the current toll fees on the HCMC - Trung Luong Highway and cancel a plan to build a toll station on the National Highway 1A.

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