• Tollway firm may defer proposed projects


    THE Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) said it may slow down on its proposed projects pending resolution of its toll fare adjustment petition.

    “If the situation continues to not be resolved, then obviously we will be forced to at least slow down on the projects that have not yet started,” MPTC President Rodrigo Franco told reporters in a chance interview in Pampanga on Monday.

    “That is why we are hoping we will have some clarity on the toll rate,” he added.

    Among MPTC’s unsolicited proposals are the North Luzon Expressway-Cavite-Manila Expressway (NLEX-CAVITEX) and the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway projects.

    MPTC, operator of NLEX, filed a notice of arbitration against the government in 2016 to seek compensation totaling P3 billion, saying the government failed to grant its petition for a toll hike.

    According to Franco, MPTC’s proposed projects are still under review by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

    “It is difficult to make additional investments if we have no clarity on what is happening on the toll rate,” Franco said.

    “The arbitration is not withdrawn so it continues. At the same time we are in discussion with the Toll Regulatory Board on what to do with the toll rates,” she added.

    TRP spokesperson Bert Suansing said that the Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority were deliberating on the toll issue.

    “During the last administration, they were not granted any increase so they are seeking them right now,” Suansing said.

    A provisional increase is currently being implemented at NLEX, Manila-Cavite Expressway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway.

    Suansing said the agency is looking at implementing a gradual increase, considering its impact on the motoring public.

    “What we are looking at is a gradual increase, staggered. Nothing’s final. So the effect will be cushioned,” Suansing said.

    Franco said MPTC will wait for the formal proposal from TRB before it considers the implementation of a gradual increase.


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