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Monday March 19, 2012

Johor Baru Eastern Dispersal Link users want toll rates reduced

JOHOR BARU: Majority of the motorists here had welcomed the Government’s decision for not forcing them to use the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).

They hoped that the government would also review the toll rates for those who intend to use the link to travel into Singapore.

Many felt that the exhorbitant charges at RM6.20 would deter motorists from using the link, turning it into a “White Elephant”.

This, they said, would eventually cost the government billions to bail out the concessionaire.

All set: The 8.5km Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) which is expected to open to public in the coming weeks. – Pic by ABDULR AHMAN EMBONG/ThSet ar.

Some even felt that the government should immediately buy over the project from its concessionaire MRCB Bhd if they refuse to reduce the toll rates.

Retiree Johar Alias, 73, said that while he welcomed the government’s decision, the RM6.20 toll rate for the highway was too high.

“I gave up my Singapore citizenship to become a Malaysian a few years ago. My children still reside in Singapore and every week they return to Johor Baru to spend time with their family.

“If the toll rates are going to increase from RM2.90 to RM15.30 in future using the link, they may spend less time visiting us,” he said.

Malaysian Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar said the government should buy over the highway and charge a token sum to maintain the highway.

“It is the government’s duty to provide good roads for the people to commute. Anyway if the toll rates are too high, who is going to use the link anyway and people will instead start using Jalan Tebrau and Jalan Skudai instead,” he added.

Marketing executive Shukor Abdullah, 45, said the proposed toll rates are too high and would burden the people in the long run if they went ahead to collect RM15.30 to and from Singapore using the causeway and the EDL.

“Maybe the government can consider imposing a maximum toll of RM5 for the causeway and the link and charge S$5 (RM11.50) to Singaporeans,” he said.

Engineer S. Vinodtheran, 26, said that the government should come out and explain the entire toll system soon as there was a lot of confusion about the project.

“Some say they have to pay while other say that the rates have increased from RM2.90,” he said.

Account manager Amir Abdullah, 25, said that the government should impose lower toll charges at the EDL to make sure that the newly built highway did not become a white elephant project.

“The Government should reduce the toll charges to at least one-third of the proposed toll charge to encourage motorists using the EDL, if not, they would use the old route,” he said.

Singaporean Mohd Fahmie Rahman, 29, said that his fellow Singaporeans also welcomed the announcement made by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on the EDL saying that only those who used the link would have to pay toll.

“It is unfair to charge all motorists who did not use the EDL to pay full toll charges,” he said.

Private sector employee Ahmad Fais Ishak, 26, said that it was better if no toll charges be charged to motorists that did not use the EDL to travel to Singapore through the Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

“We live in tough economic times and hopefully the Prime Minister will announce another good news in the next two weeks on the toll charges,” he said.

Najib announced recently that those who do not use the EDL need not pay toll.

It was previously reported that the 8.1KM EDL, which is almost completed, would force motorists travelling to Singapore via the Johor Causeway to pay about five times more than the present rate at RM2.90.

Motorists would have to pay the proposed RM6.20 toll charge if they enter the CIQ Complex using routes other than the EDL, since the toll collection is done inside the complex.

The 8.1km link costing RM1.1bil, connects the North-South Expressway to the Johor CIQ.

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