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Lawmakers urge delay of mileage-based ETC

Both ruling and opposition party lawmakers yesterday called for the government to postpone the implementation of the across-the-board electronic toll collection (ETC) system.

The lawmakers said more time is needed to deal with strong opposition from short-distance freeway users who will no longer be able to enjoy toll-free driving after the ETC is fully enforced.

The lawmakers issued the call at the Transportation Committee meeting of the Legislature yesterday morning, when Transportation and Communications Minister Mao Chi-kuo revealed three major proposals on how to calculate freeway tolls after the ETC system is in full swing.

Mao told lawmakers that, based on proposals worked out by the Taiwan Area National Expressway Bureau, those who currently enjoy toll-free short-distance freeway use will have to pay a toll of NT$10.2 to NT$18.6 per trip, based on the toll-free mileage of 0-20 kilometers set in the three proposals. The tolls would kick in when all vehicles using national freeways are subject to tolls based on their mileage, which is slated to begin in the first half of 2013.

By contrast, Mao continued, those who currently pay freeway tolls will be able to save NT$20.1 to NT$47.9 per trip after the ETC system is fully implemented.

Maximum Toll-free Mileage Set at 20 km

Under the system, drivers will no longer be allowed to enjoy toll-free use of two east-west freeways, namely National Freeway No. 6 linking the Wufeng District of Taichung and Puli Township of Nantou County, and No. 10 linking Tsoying District in the west of Kaohisung and Chishan District in the city's east. These two freeways are much longer than the maximum toll-free mileage of 20 km. No. 6 is 37.6 km and No. 10 is 33.8 km.

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Traffic on National Freeway No. 10 across south city of Kaohsiung, as seen in this file photo, will be subject to tolls after the ETC system is fully implemented. (CMA)

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