|File photo of a highway toll booth on the border of Beijing and Hebei province. [Photo: qq.com]|
China's transport authorities plan to extend the charging period on all highways across the country.
The toll period for government-financed highways will not be expired until the local governments totally pay back the debt.
The revised draft to the highway toll administration regulations says the toll-charging period for commercial roads should be limited to a maximum of 30 years.
But for other highway projects that had required a large investment and therefore need a longer period to recuperate their investments, the toll period could be extended over 30 years if permitted by the authorities.
According to the current regulations to the commercial highway tolls collection, the toll period shall not be extended and the accumulative toll period shall not exceed 25 years.
The draft also says that when the debt-paying period and toll period expires, a new charging standard could be set for road maintenance.
According to a report released by China's transport authorities, China had a deficit in road toll collection of around 157 billion yuan last year.
The report says the loss was mainly due to the debt-payment, road maintenance and management costs.
In 2011 transport authorities had pledged to turn 96 percent of the roads in China into toll-free roads.
But most roads are now likely to extend the toll period to pay debts, due to the rapid increase in road construction costs in the past years.
The public have expressed their dissatisfaction towards the extension of the toll-charging period.
Netizens say that the losses made by local authorities after constructing roads should not be paid by the drivers.
They say that since the annual income from highway tolls surpass the 400 billion yuan mark and since some commercial highways have already made huge profits, it is unfair to extend the toll period of all the roads across the country.