The scheduled toll hike will give concessionaires the flexibility to better absorb financing and rising maintenance costs as well as service charges, the Association of Highway Concessionaires Malaysia (PSKLM) said.
PSKLM said the consideration to increase toll rates was not solely based on the agreement between the government and toll operators, but also took into consideration the agreements made between the concessionaires and the financers.
The association argued that the hike was necessary as the concessionaires had borrowed and spent hundreds of millions of Ringgit on highway development and facilities that needed to be maintained and upgraded for user’s convenience.
Also, new facilities and infrastructure need to be built, and toll collections allow the concessionaires to fund these expenses.
PSKLM’s statement came in response to a report by a Malay daily on a possible toll hike, which implied that toll operators were cash cows.
Don’t they get enough from current toll rates?
Citing a Malaysian Highway Authority’s study, PSKLM said about 75% of the tolls collected went towards debt servicing, while about 20% was spent on maintenance and overheads.
“PLUS, for instance, with toll collection amounting to RM3 billion, spends a substantial sum on loan repayment (50%). The rest of its revenue is redistributed to pay for management costs (13%), scheduled maintenance costs (12%), return to shareholders (10%), maintenance costs (8%) and upgrading costs (7%).”
On the North-South Expressway alone, PSKLM said that PLUS spent more than RM20bil on construction, operations and maintenance since its inception.
PSKLM added that the association and the Government are now in talks to find the best solution for the upcoming scheduled increase.
It also said that the talks will take into consideration issues like the rising cost of living, their members’ own financial obligations and the need to continuously provide the best services and facilities for a convenient, comfortable and safe journey for everyone.