Regulation on Toll Road: Stopping the abuse of illegal toll/ 2004-10-22
 

As public commonweal facilities, road shall be provided by the government without any charge. However, Due to insufficient financial resources, it is hard for the government to provide the tremendous funds required for the road construction. Under such circumstances, the government has promulgated many policies on road construction with loan and repayment with toll. Nevertheless, there are some problems that can no longer be neglected in the development of toll road, for example: the unreasonable layout and excessive number of tollgates affect the traffic efficiency; high toll rate increases the transportation cost of enterprises; some tollgates continue to exist when they should be revoked and the toll period is unreasonably extended, and thus increase the burden of the society ,cause the nonstandard transfer of rights and interests of toll road and make the national assets run off.

 

In order to rectify the road toll and to ensure that the road may truly belong to the public, the Regulation on Toll Road (Decree No 417 of the State Council), which shall go into force in November 1st, make an explicit provision on the construction of toll road, establishment of tollgates, transfer of rights and interests of toll road, business management of toll road, legal responsibilities and so on.

 

Insisting the principle of focusing on the construction of toll free road while developing toll road within a proper scale.

 

The investment pattern of road construction with loan and repayment with charges is an expediential policy adopted by the government facing insufficient financial resources and huge pressure in road construction. According to relevant persons of the Ministry of Communications, generally speaking, the pattern of multi-investment road construction being implemented is so far successful, and it is impossible for China to abolish the road toll within a short time. However, with the enhancement of financial ability of the government and the improvement of road network, the government will be able to control the development scale of toll road and to implement the policy of focusing on the construction of toll free road while developing toll road within a proper scale.

 

As the road is characterized by its strong nature of public good, the development of road shall only abide by the principle of main-body of toll free road with supplementary of toll road. If it is extending the scope of toll road at will, it will affect the social benefits brought by the road, and this will be unfavorable for the healthy development of toll road, and will also give rise to restrictive effect to the development of socialist economy. Therefore, it is an important guideline for the Regulation on Toll Road to insist on the principle of focusing on the construction of toll free road while developing toll road within a proper scale.

 

No toll is allowed to be levied for roads constructed with all investment provided by the government or donated by social organization and individuals.

 

According to the Road Law, there are two kinds of toll roads in China: one is the road constructed by the government with loan, and the other is the road for profit. With the quick development of cities, a great many of funds are invested into the road construction. In particular, various business modes appear in rural and urban roads, and the establishment of tollgates has a high-sounding "reason"----- loan repayment. Therefore, it forms a strange phenomenon in China that innumerable tollgates have been set up.

 

So, the Regulation stipulates that, no toll is allowed to impose for roads constructed with all investment provided by the government or donated by social organization and individuals ; for actions of illegal establishment of tollgate (toll station), illegally charge or use of traffic toll, illegal transfer of rights and interests of toll road or illegal extension of the toll period, any unit or individual shall have right to report to the competent authorities of Communications, Pricing, Finance and so on, and also have right to refuse to make payment.

 

Furthermore, the Regulation prohibits such acts as toll is charged while the road is under construction. The Regulation stipulate that the toll road shall be inspected for acceptance according to relevant provisions of the State after being completed; only passes the highway inspection, it may charge the traffic toll.

 

50 kilometers of minimal space between two tollgates.

 

The disorder of road toll is most obviously reflected by the large number of the tollgates and the narrow space between them ., the toll is even charged on the designated "Green Channels" for various materials, ; not to say the national and provincial roads or highways. Massive establishment of tollgates has become a common phenomenon at some local places and has greatly reduced the traffic efficiency of the road.

 

Therefore, the Regulation stipulates clearly that for the highways and other expressway with fully controlled access, the tollgates may not be set up on the main line except the entry and exit accesses; for non-controlled access toll road, the space between two tollgates must be at least 50 kilometers on the same main line. In order to decrease the number of the tollgates and improve the traffic efficiency, the Regulation stipulates that the expressways and other toll roads with fully controlled access shall employ computer network toll system.

 

Up to 500 thousand Yuan can be fined for tolling without invoice.

 

At present, many tollgates change the toll management principal at will, formulate all kinds of toll standards, or even do not issue invoice after tolling. Therefore, the Regulation requests that the operator and manager of the toll road shall issue legal instruments to the users, and that they may not raise the toll standard at will, nor charge any extra expenses beyond the toll charge standard or on behalf, and nor mandatorily charge or charge the traffic toll with other illegal means in some period. When charging toll, if the operator fails to issue any instruments, or issues the instruments that are not printed uniformly or are overdue, it shall be imposed a fine of more than 100 thousand and less than 500 thousand Yuan, as the case may be, besides being ordered to correct the wrongs.

 

The Regulation also stipulates that for the road constructed under the government's loan, all the incomes charged from the toll by the manager shall be deposited into the special accounts of finance, and that the policy of separating revenue from expenditures must be followed strictly. Except for the necessary expenses for management and maintenance that may be covered in the toll budget with the approval of the financial authorities, the toll charged by the road constructed under the government's loan must not be used for purposes other than repaying the loan and onerous funds raised. These requirements have effectively prevented the overspreading of indiscriminate toll from another aspect.

 

Confirming the tolling period of road constructed under the government's loan and operative road.

 

To construct road by loan and to use by charges; yet, all things will come to its end. The life of the tollgate depends on the period of loan repayment, which may be a short time in theory. However, more tollgates are set up while fewer are revoked for a long term. Especially in some places, the road loans have been repaid but the toll is still charged: the tollgates look like permanent castles. The reason is that the charge period of operative road is calculated based on the investment recovery period mainly, that is to say, as long as the investment of the toll road has not been recovered, it may be approved to extend the charge period for a number of times; however, all of such tolled money is not used for repayment actually. Recently, a media discovered that in some southern provinces the monthly salary of a common employee of tollgate could reach 8,000 Yuan, some may exceed 10,000 Yuan.

 

In order to truly eliminate the "permanent castle", the Regulation stipulates that the charge period of toll road shall be examined and approved by the government of the province, the autonomous region and the municipality directly under the Central Government in accordance with the following standard: the charge period of road constructed by the government's loan shall be fixed according to the principle that the period of repaying loans and funds raising with interests by use of toll shall be no more than 15 years; the charge period of road constructed by the government of the province, the autonomous region and the municipality directly under the Central Government in the center and west of China may not beyond 20 years; the charge period of operative road shall be fixed based on the principle of recovery of investment and reasonable rewards and shall be no more than 25 years; and the charge period of operative highway of the government of the province, the autonomous region and the municipality directly under the Central Government in the center and west of China that fixed by the Central Government may not beyond 30 years. (The end)



 
 
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