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Toll roads suffer heavy losses

19 October 2011
Most toll roads in China suffered losses last year according to traffic authorities in 16 provinces that have released financial reports on their tollways, reported China Daily.

All mainland provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have been asked to investigate toll roads and publicise their findings as part of a year-long campaign targeting illegal toll collections. Zhang Zhuting, a member of the Ministry of Transport’s legal consulting committee, said the information would help the central government formulate policies.

The 16 provincial authorities that have so far reported owe a total of Rmb1,268bn for construction of the toll roads, but they earned only Rmb170bn from toll collections last year. Guangdong province alone owes Rmb227bn. Only four provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, recorded profits.

Most of the revenue generated from toll roads goes to cover the interest on debts. The size of the debts has raised concerns that the tolling period for those roads might have to be extended, even though regulations say toll roads can charge for a maximum of between 15 and 30 years.

China has 74,000km of highways and 95 per cent of them are toll roads.

Once all 31 province-level regions have released their reports, provincial governments will be required to take action on illegal toll charges.

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