AFTER two postponements, the much-awaited increase in the toll rates at South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) will finally push through on August 16, the toll regulator said Monday.

In an interview with Sun.Star, Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) spokesman Julius Corpuz confirmed the slated implementation, which has received opposition from various sectors earlier.

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“Yes, the South Luzon Tollways Corp. is set to impose the new SLEx toll fees on August 16 to which they voluntarily deferred last June 30 and July 7,” he reiterated.

The new rates on SLEx are P77 for light vehicles such as cars and vans, P155 for buses, and P232 for heavy trucks and trailers, a far cry from the current P22, P43 and P65, respectively.

SLTC spokesperson Alma Tuason, for her part, said the hike was due to the upgrades made at the 29-kilometer Alabang-Calamba expressway.

“It is justified because of the upgrades that the Malaysian investor MTD Capital Bhd., did. The rehabilitated highway now has lighting facilities, electronic message boards, close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and median barriers,” she said.

SLTC deferred the implementation last June 30 in respect to the inauguration of President Benigno Aquino III and on July 7, when it voluntarily deferred the hikes to allow more information campaign.

“The SLTC information campaign to explain the new basis of new toll fees is ongoing. They already met some transport groups, industrial locators, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and her Sangguniang Panlalawigan, among others," Corpuz explained,

Last July 10, the Star Infrastructure Development Corp. (SIDC) implemented a near 10-percent increase in the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) due to road improvements.

Tuason maintained that the investors need to recoup the P12-billion investment in the rehabilitated highway so that the government will not pay for the revenue lost by the investors. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)