Summary: Definitive Timeline for Highway Toll Reform is set to complete by the end of next year.
There is a definitive timeline for highway toll reform. “The Special Action Proposal on Cost-cutting and Efficiency Improvement of Logistics (2016-2018)” put forward urgent revision of “Regulations on Toll-charging highway Management” so as to readjust and improve policies in highway toll collection, and set scientific and rational toll standards, requiring the job to be completed by the end of 2017.
Specific Timeline for highway toll reform
Highway toll reform has received wide public attention. On July 21 last year, the Ministry of Transportation released for public comment “Regulations on Highway Toll Management (Revised version for public comment)” with the deadline for public hearing ending on August 20th, 2015.
More than a year has past since the end of public hearing, there has been wide speculation as to when the “Regulation on Highway Toll Reform” is to be released.
Now a clear timeline for reform is finally set. Professor Jian Zhao, School of Economics and Management at Beijing Jiaotong University, told China News Network, the clear timeline for highway toll reform shows the determination of the authorities for highway toll reform. But the reform is still faced with the dilemma: how to repay the debt if we stop collecting tolls? Or if we continue toll collection, how to meet the needs of companies to cut logistics cost? The resolution of the dilemma requires scientific decision-making by the authorities.
￥300 Billion Shortfalls in Revenues from Highway Tolls
At present, the overall finance of China’s toll-charging highway is in default. The recently published “Statistics on National Toll-charging highways” by the Ministry of Transportation shows that the net shortfall of the national toll-charging highways was over ￥318 billion in 2015, ￥161.62 billion more than 2014. At the same time, debt size was also increasing. The national toll-charging highways had a net increase in debt balance of over￥600 billion, an increase of 15.7%.
On the one hand, losses and debt size in toll-charging highways are increasing, on the other hand, there is greater demand by companies for cutting logistics cost and public doubt on and misunderstanding of where the money is going. With such multiple pressure and demand, many believe that tolls should be cancelled. It is truly a dilemma for the authorities to decide which way to go in the reform of national highway toll collections.