Southern link: The EDL is an elevated highway that connects the North-South Expressway to the CIQ complex in Johor Baru.
JOHOR BARU: A two-year study concluded that there will be no economic benefit or advantage to the Government if it took over the RM1.4bil Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).
Therefore, the Government decided not to acquire the highway, government sources said.
“It is not fair to all Malaysian taxpayers if a large sum of their funds is used to acquire the EDL highway in order to benefit a small number of EDL users,” said the sources.
The sources said the Government had been compensating the EDL concessionaire about RM11mil per month for the past two years.
According to the sources, the concessionaire spends an estimated RM12mil each month on operations and maintenance of the highway, which includes repair works, landscaping and utilities.
The sources added that there was round-the-clock monitoring via a closed-circuit television system and patrol teams.
An average of 220,000 motorists use the EDL daily. Despite the implementation of the toll beginning tomorrow at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex, at least 180,000 motorists will still continue to enjoy the highway for free.
“Only about 40,000 to 50,000 EDL users travel to Singapore and will thus pay toll at the CIQ complex,” the sources said, adding that the EDL was built and financed by sukuk (Islamic bonds) as well as term loan facilities, without any soft loan or grants from the Government.
The EDL is a 8.6km-long expressway in Johor Baru that connects the North-South Expressway Southern Route in Pandan to the CIQ complex in the city centre.
It is regarded as a toll-free expressway to the CIQ complex, allowing users to bypass Jalan Tebrau.
A highway official pointed out that before the EDL, “travelling around JB, Pandan and Tebrau took 45 minutes to one hour with massive traffic congestion.
“Motorists have to start their journey as early as 4am. Now, with the EDL, the travelling time is reduced to just 10 minutes at optimum level and it is free.”
Another industry source queried why “motorists travelling to Singapore never complained when the Singapore government raised the VEP from S$20 (RM52) to S$35 (RM91).”
The Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee is applicable to all foreign-registered cars while motorcycles are charged S$4 (RM10.40).