The countdown that counts: two more days!

Come 1 January 2018, toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau stops. But government will still need to compensate PLUS…

Toll 1

Klang Valley drivers, particularly those who live in Klang, Shah Alam, Subang, and Petaling Jaya, are perhaps looking forward to 1 Jan 2018. This is the day when toll collection for Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau plazas are stopped as stated by the prime minister during Budget 2018 announcement.

Some are rightfully sceptical about this as the highway concessionaire, PLUS, did issue a press release regarding this, saying that based on the 2011 Concession Agreement, toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau (a stretch of road with code FHR2) are only scheduled to end on 31 December 2038.

The announcement in Budget 2018 actually meant that toll abolishment at the two plazas are realised twenty years earlier than scheduled.

Just to be safe we got in touch with PLUS, and indeed, as said during Budget 2018, toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau on the Federal Highway, as well as at Bukit Kayu Hitam (Kedah) and Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL, in Johor), will cease. This will mean that motorist will have a direct toll-free route option if choosing not to use the NKVE travelling between Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam, for instance.

Toll 3

At what price?
Just because road users are not paying the highway concessionaire directly, it doesn’t mean the company is not getting money. Based on a report by FMT, the government will pay PLUS RM2.2 billion in compensation for ceasing toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau. The amount will come from annual payments of RM102 million annually for twenty years.

Another RM8 million yearly is paid out for compensation for removal of tolls at the Bukit Kayu Hitam plaza.

Finance Minister II, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani was quoted saying, “We are negotiating with PLUS for discounts because the RM102 million is based on estimated revenue loss for removing the tolls.”

Toll 2

A brief story of the Federal Highway
The Federal Highway started its life as a two-lane federal road connecting KL and Klang. Once traffic became heavier, mostly due to the numerous traffic light junctions that dispersed traffic into Petaling Jaya, construction started for a six-lane highway that includes on- and off-ramps to replace those junctions, not unlike what you see today. Fund for the build was from a loan by the World Bank; work started in 1974 and ended in 1977.

But the six-lane Federal Highway you see today is the result of a major upgrade by PLUS which started in 1992 and finished a year later. This was also the time when the Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau toll plazas came into the picture.

So, no toll at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau. Can we hear some Yayys!

Ahmad Zulizwan
Author: Ahmad Zulizwan
Take it to the track, please.