CLARK FREEPORT – The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) yesterday formally took over the management and operation of the 93.77-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) amid pending petition to increase toll rates to P4 per kilometer.
Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman and President Arnel Paciano Casanova said the petition, filed by his office as owner of the SCTEx, would increase current toll rates by 40 centavos, increasing the toll fee to P4 per kilometer.
MNTC and BCDA officials led yesterday a motorcade and turn over rites at the ramp of the SCTEx that links it to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in Mabalacat City in this province, amid plans to remove toll plazas along the two expressways except at end points.
Casanova said that the toll rate petition filed before the Tollways Regulatory Board is expected to be favorably acted upon by next year.
While the BCDA officials maintained that the proposed toll fee increase along the SCTEx would still be among the lowest tollway rates in the country, rates at the NLEx is lower at an average of P3 per kilometer.
Casanova said, however, that the computation of toll rates is based on many “variables,” including patronage of toll roads.
He cited estimates that currently, some 35,000 motorists ply the SCTEx daily, as compared to about 200,000 motorists daily at the NLEx.
The SCTEx business agreement between the BCDA and the MNTC was actually signed way back last February during the visit of French Pres. Francois Hollande, as the French firm EGIS Projects SA owns 10 percent of MNTC and is part of a consortium that will provide toll equipment for the upgrading of SCTEx systems.
In a ceremony held in Malacanang then, the MNTC turned over a check worth P3.5 billion to the BCDA.
MNTC President Rodrigo Franco said “the management, operation and maintenance of the road and its facilities, the brand of customer service available, and the world class technology used in NLEx will all be extended to the SCTEx.”
Ramoncito Fernandez, president of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), said that “the acquisition of SCTEx is only the beginning of MPTC’s plan to link the countryside and Metro Manila and boost socio-economic development in the regions.”
MNTC is a subsidiary of MPTC.
Under the SCTEx business agreement, MNTC shall be responsible for the management services, toll collection, traffic safety and security management, toll road and facilities maintenance, including greening and landscaping, public relations and marketing, and all necessary support services.
The agreement also includes the payment of concession fees equivalent to 50 percent of SCTEx gross toll revenues.
Casanova said the contract period will be for 33 years.
Earlier, the BCDA and MNTC also signed the NLEx-SCTEx toll integration agreement that involves the conversion of separate NLEx and SCTEx toll collection systems into a single system that should allow for more efficient toll collection and faster movement of traffic for motorists.
The toll integration, which is expected to cost some P600 million and will be shouldered by MNTC, will improve lane throughput to 800 transactions per hour from 200 transactions.
Source: Nov 5 Punto