VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Transport's draft decree for a road maintenance fund has met opposition from motorists, who say it's unfair to demand extra fees for the fund from car and motorbike owners.
The draft decree is scheduled to be submitted to the Government by March.
People travelling on the only road to Mien Dong Bus Station in HCM City. Motorists disagree with the Ministry of Transport's draft decree establishing a road maintenance fund. (Photo: VNS)
According to the draft decree, motorbike owners would have to pay between VND80,000 (US$4) to VND150,000 ($7) per vehicle every year, while cars and lorry owners would pay VND100,000 to VND207,000 ($5-10.3) a month depending on their vehicle's capacity.
The fund aims to improve traffic infrastructure by creating a new source of funding for upgrade and maintenance work.
Deputy director of the ministry's Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam Nguyen Van Quyen said toll booths at roads and bridges would continue operating if the new fund is given the go-ahead. This has caused concern among many motorists, who say they are already paying enough fees for road maintenance.
Associate professor Pham Xuan Mai, a lecturer from the HCM City University of Technology, said motorbikes owners should be excluded from any extra fees related to the new fund.
"Overloaded lorries and cars result in more wear and tear on roads, while motorbikes are a lot lighter and have a smaller impact," he said.
In addition, many roads were filled with pot holes and in such a poor state that motorists didn't want to pay any new fees until the situation improves, he added.
Director of the Sai Gon Travel and Service Transport Co-operative Nguyen Van Dung said the fees would become a burden for vehicle owners.
"A coach running from HCM City to Ha Noi must pass nearly 20 toll stations, so any extra fee would be a burden," said Dung.
HCM City Goods Transport Association General Secretary Thai Van Chung said transport fees for goods in Viet Nam were already among the highest in the world.
"If the Ministry of Transport starts taking in new road maintenance fees, it will cost even more to transport goods around the country - which means prices will soar, said Chung."
Road maintenance proposed in the draft for lorries are at about VND17 million (US$850) a year, said Chung, and this would result in significantly higher costs for the transport enterprises.
"Competent offices should scrap the plan so transport enterprises do not suffer from the great burden of a wide range of different fees," said Chung.
Ordinary residents have also voiced concerns over the proposal.
Nguyen Thi Dung, a teacher living in HCM City's District 9, said she already spent VND50,000 ($2.5) a month on petrol.
"An additional VND100,000 ($5) a month for road maintenance fees would be unreasonable," said Dung.
"The ministry should set up more suitable fee levels for owners of different types of vehicles and according to how many kilometres they drive," she said.
Luu Anh Quang, from Ha Noi's Dong Da District, said he spent more than VND200,000 ($10) a month on petrol, and on his salary, an extra fee of $5 a month would be far too costly.
"If the ministry collects road maintenance fees, my family, with has four people who each use a motorbike, may face financial hardship, especially with the prices of goods going up as well," said Quang.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News