Wednesday, June 4, 2008

RM168 million to build a toll plaza?

New toll plaza for Seremban

THE government will build a new toll plaza in Seremban to ease the traffic congestion into town and the surrounding areas.
The total cost for land acquisition and the construction of the toll plaza and an access road is RM168mil.

Rasah MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook said, however, that the project should be the responsibility of the highway concessionaire, instead of the government using public funds for it.

Peak-hour jams: Cars which exit the highway have to turn left into the road leading to Seremban 2 to make a U-turn to get to town. This stretch experiences massive traffic jam during peak hours.
“I was shocked when told by the Works Ministry that it will cost the government RM168mil to build the new toll plaza. The amount is almost as much as the state’s annual income of RM180mil,” he said.

Loke said this when visiting the existing toll plaza yesterday, accompanied by Senawang assemblyman P. Gunasekaren, Mambau assemblyman Wong May May, Bukit Kepayang assemblyman Cha Kee Chin and Temiang assemblyman Ng Chin Tsai.
According to Loke, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad told him about the project and its cost in a written reply to a question he posed in Parliament last week.

Zin had said in his reply that the allocation would be sought during the mid-term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan.
Loke, who is also the Lobak assemblyman, said it was absurd to ask taxpayers to pay for the construction of a new toll plaza and then to pay again for driving on the highway.
“It is like going to the coffee shop and paying for your drink and then made to contribute towards the shop's rental or renovation. How can taxpayers' money be used to fund the building of infrastructure for a private company?” he asked.

Loke wondered whether such provisions were stated in the agreement signed between the concessionaire and government.
Cause of congestion: There are only two north-bound lanes at the Seremban toll plaza, and motorists do not even have the SmartTag privilege although thousands of motorists commute to Kuala Lumpur from here daily.

“It is illogical to have the agreement classified. If the government declassifies it, the people will know if such provisions were in the agreement,” he said.

Loke said that since Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Bhd (Plus) had registered massive profits by operating the highway, it was only proper for it to pay for the construction of the new toll plaza.
He said the government should discuss the matter with the concessionaire before proceeding with the project.
“No one seems to know who should foot the bill for the project because the agreement is classified. We hope someone can enlighten the public on it,” he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had said during an earlier interview that the existing toll plaza would not be closed after the new one was built.
Hasan said this was to allow for a smoother traffic flow as the new link would also eventually be connected to the Seremban Outer Ring Road.
Loke said, however, that the existing toll plaza had to be closed as it was the main cause of the massive traffic congestion into the new townships of Seremban 2 and Rasah Kemayan.
“The present toll plaza has to be closed as the road cannot accommodate the traffic volume. I hope the authorities would consider this as there is only one road leading into the Seremban 2 and Rasah Kemayan townships,” he said.
Several residents said they agreed with Loke that the toll plaza should be relocated.
Bank officer Gurbachan Singh, 42, said several accidents had been reported near the existing toll plaza as motorists coming from Seremban 2 had to cut across a busy stretch to enter the highway.
“A few people have died because of this. There is no traffic light to allow motorists heading north to turn safely to the toll plaza,” he said.
Motorist Syed Idris Syed Ibrahim said it was ridiculous that there were only two toll booths for traffic heading north and south.
“We don't even have a SmartTag lane here. This is rather strange,” he said.
Loke also proposed that the government abolish toll collection for the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur stretch.
“This stretch was the first to be built and it has been in use for more than 30 years. I think the road users have paid more than enough in the form of toll and it is time the stretch be made toll-free,” he said.


Woon Fei said...

Better stop toll collection between Seremban-PD-Senawang...

LKCYC said...

That's a BIG wastage!
Here is a SMALL wastage but nearer at YB's service centre.
What happen to the Taman Bukit Jed's basketball court? The court is there but the poles aand rings are gone. It saddens me to see youths not able to play anymore.
Let us know what happen.

Loke Siew Fook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loke Siew Fook said...

Dear lkcyc,

Thanks for the response. I am aware of your complaint and already fwd it to MPS. My office will follow up on it.


Anonymous said...

If you could recall sometimes back that previous Perak's MB disagreed to close the Jelapang Plaza Toll for commercial reason. This has forced PLUS to divert the route at the same time ensure free stretch in between the town area. Can we adobt the same to abolish toll before entering seremban exit till senawang. There's another free stretch in Penang