Press Release
July 22, 2010

Recto wants TRB, SLEX operator to justify 250-percent toll fee hike

Sen. Ralph G. Recto demands answers on how the operator of South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) came up with the 250-percent increase in toll rates and why the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) cave in to the rate hike petition without much public consultations.

"It is important that the people be informed of the justifications for the high increase in the SLEX toll fees, especially if the amount appears to be exorbitant and confiscatory," Recto said in Senate Resolution calling for an investigation on the toll fee increase in SLEX.

Recto said the TRB seemed to have approved the toll increase "without adequate consultations, in consonance with the people's right to information on matters that affect public interest."

He said he has asked the Senate committee on public services to look into this and shed light on the decision-making process of the TRB and likewise on the "computing process" of the SLEX operator.

Recto said the SLEX company and the TRB should explain to the public how the new toll rates were arrived at and if such were indeed justified.

"The more the people become enlightened on this, the lesser public resistance there will be," he said.

He added: "This is an unprecedented increase in toll that would consequently jack up the costs of agricultural produce, bus fares, and basic goods being transported through SLEX from the provinces."

Recto stressed forcing the motoring public and other affected sectors to bear the impact of a toll increase bereft of justification and public acceptance would only "aggravate the already poor conditions of a majority of the people."

The senator said he supports calls for the TRB and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to reverse the approval of the toll fee adjustment, restart the approval process and expand its consultations to include also stakeholders in provinces who will be affected.

"The issue at hand is impressed with public interest as it will not only affect the hundreds of thousands of motorists who directly use SLEX but potentially millions who will be indirectly affected by the huge increase in toll fees," Recto maintained.

The TRB has approved the petition of the South Luzon Toll Corporation (SLTC) to increase the toll fee for the P30-kilometer stretch from Alabang, Muntinlupa City to Calamba City in Laguna from P0.82 per kilometer to P2.70 per kilometer, representing a 250-percent increase, starting June but was deferred to July and recently to August.

Because of the increase, Class 1 vehicles would have to pay P77 from the previous rate of P22, while Class 2 vehicles like light trucks and buses would pay P155 from the current P43 and Class 3 vehicles, or the heavy, multi-wheeler trucks, would pay P232 from P65, from Alabang to Calamba.

The current SLEX operator earns at least P2.6 billion a year from the 250,000 vehicles using the toll road daily based on the old toll rate and would earn P9.8 billion annually under the new toll schedule.

The SLEX operator has reported spending P8.5 billion in improving the toll road.

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