Deluxe roads, bridges promise huge toll revenues

Toll policy upgrade matching rates with investments

| Updated: February 14, 2023 17:50:41

- Focus Bangla file photo - Focus Bangla file photo

Upgrading the old toll policy is underway as government avenue collection from tolls on roads, highways and bridges is increasing for building newer costly communications infrastructures.

The latest tolls have been imposed based on the toll policy 2014, when high-tech bridges, expressways and so were a rarity.

Officials have said the road transport and highways division under the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has already formed a committee headed by an additional secretary to review the current toll policy and recommend its upgrading.

Preliminary discussion on the urgency of the revision has also started, they added Costs of most roads and highways, including expressway, have been increasing and the move is to match the toll rates to investments.

The toll policy would also address the rates of tolls fixed for the infrastructures built under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has recently introduced high tolls for its costly Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga highway on grounds of it being an expressway.

Besides, it collects tolls at 12 bridges built below 1.5 kilometres. Bangladesh Bridges Authority has also toll bridges over 1.5 kms. The costly Padma Multipurpose Bridge has also introduced high-rated tolls to repay the huge loans to the Ministry of Finance as it is built with government-owned funds.

Additional Secretary Neelima Akhter said the committee would work to review the existing toll policy as definition of the toll roads does not differ from the definition in the Road Transport Act 2018 as well as the Highway Act in the new toll policy.

"Initiative just been started and it needs studies to update it," she told the FE.

However, sources said the committee sat Sunday and also discussed the issues of redefining the categories of roads and vehicles to new toll rates. Besides, as the current toll policy assesses only the length

of road and bridge, the new policy may assess both length and width in calculating the rates.

Categorical infrastructures like flyover, underpass, overpass and expressway will also be incorporated into the new policy for fixing integrated toll rates.

According to the Toll Policy 2014, roads are divided into prime road, national highway, regional highway, district road, toll road, and PPP-based road.

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