Wednesday 27 July 2011

China to use tolls to do more than raise revenue

China's international radio service, China Radio International, reports a Chinese Ministry of Transport spokesman saying that China is considering building two road networks: the tolled expressways and untolled “common roads”. The expectation is that the government will pay for the latter, but tolls for the expressways. It is interesting that it noted tolls would not just be to pay for the roads, but to “regulate traffic flow” and “optimise modes”.

This implies some form of peak charging when congestion appear on the expressways, which is sensible. However with the statement “It's not reasonable to move large volumes of goods for long distances on roads” suggests the intention is to dis-incentivise heavy freight movement by long distance on roads. As much as China is using market mechanisms and private enterprise to build and manage expressways, it is still interested in central planning, presumably to maintain usage of railways for high volumes of freight.

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