The Transportation Department said an increase in road toll is unlikely in the next two years.
“I hope and I’m praying that there would be no toll increase in the next two years,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters.
The operators of North Luzon Expressway, Cavite Expressway, South Luzon Expressway and Skyway earlier filed separate petitions to increase toll, but the previous administration did not act on their requests.
Manila North Tollways Corp. as a result filed an arbitration case against the government in Geneva after the Toll Regulatory Board froze toll along North Luzon Expressway, despite an existing agreement that provided for periodic adjustments.
MNTC on April 4 issued a notice of arbitration and statement of claim to the government through TRB, consistent with the dispute resolution procedures under the existing supplemental toll operation agreement.
The operator of NLEx is seeking a P3-billion compensation as of end-2015 for TRB’s alleged inaction on lawful toll adjustments, which were due since Jan. 1, 2013.
MNTC filed a petition with TRB in September 2014 for bi-annual toll adjustment that was supposed to start on Jan. 1, 2015, as stipulated under the concession.
The new petition is on top of the previous one filed by the company in 2012 for a toll increase scheduled in January 2013. This would bring the cumulative toll adjustment to 15 percent, of which 12 percent was long overdue.
Toll at NLEx from Mindanao Avenue to Sta. Ines currently amounts to P218 for Class 1 vehicles (cars, jeepneys, pickup trucks and vans), P544 for Class 2 vehicles (two-axle trucks, buses and vans) and P652 for Class 3 vehicles (trucks and trailers with three or more axles).
Cavitex Infrastructure Corp., operator of Manila-Cavite Expressway, also filed an arbitration case against the government, requesting an P800-million compensation for failure to increase toll.
Cavitex also proposed a toll hike for Class 1 vehicles to P27 from P22; Class 2 vehicles to P54 from P44; and Class 3 vehicles to P81 from P66.
The two companies said the periodic toll rate adjustment was a contractual right the toll operators were entitled to under the toll operation agreement.