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China's transport minister calls for better regulation of toll ways

(Xinhua)

14:43, October 06, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's transport minister has called for better regulation and more transparent operation of the country's toll ways as high road tolls fueled public complaints and raised logistics costs.

"The scale of the development of toll ways must be strictly controlled and the toll pricing system must be improved," Minister of Transport Li Shenglin wrote in the latest issue of Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, the Communist Party of China Central Committee's flagship magazine.

The fee collection and operation of those highways must be made public regularly, Li said in the article.

The minister mentioned public dissatisfaction with too many tollbooths, high charges and poor services on some highways.

Increasingly high tolls and rampant illegal tolling stations have long been criticized by the Chinese public and weighed on logistics costs to contribute to the country's inflation.

In August, the State Council, or China's Cabinet, issued new guidelines to promote the healthy development of the country's logistics industry and pledged to gradually eliminate tolls on secondary roads, reduce toll gates and restrict the number of toll ways.

Road tolls account for nearly one third of the operational costs of logistics enterprises, according to statistics from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

Five central government departments launched a campaign in June to eliminate unauthorized tollbooths, as well as legal tollbooths that are continuing to operate beyond their authorization period.

China's regulation stipulates a maximum of 15 years of toll collection after a highway opens.

At the end of 2008, there were 60,300 km of expressways in China, the second-largest amount in the world after the United States, which has nearly 100,000 km.

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