Metro Pacific readies toll arbitration against govt

The tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said Monday it is ready to file an arbitration case against the government, if the Toll Regulatory Board will not act on its petition for a toll increase next week. 

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco said the TRB would decide until March 13 on the company’s petition for toll increase at North Luzon Expressway and Cavite Expressway. 

“It will depend on their feedback. We are ready for arbitration,” Franco said. 

Manila North Tollways Corp., a unit of MPTC which operates NLEx, filed a petition with TRB in September 2014 for the bi-annual toll adjustment that was supposed to start on Jan. 1, 2015, as provided for under its concession.

The new petition is on top of the petition the company filed in 2012, for the toll hike scheduled in January 2013. This would bring the cumulative toll adjustment to 15 percent, of which 12 percent was long overdue.

Tolls at NLEx from Mindanao Avenue to Sta. Ines currently amount 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).

MNTC was asking for a P2.4-billion compensation claim for failure to increase the toll in the last three years. 

Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. 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.

Operators of South Luzon Expressway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road also filed a doubt-digit increase in toll. 

TRB executive director Edmund Reyes earlier said extending the concession period was an option being considered as a compromise with the operators of NLEx, South Luzon Expressway, Cavitex and  Southern Tagalog Arterial Road after the government failed to approve their petition for higher charges. 

“There are options available, so we have to study. The most important is the legal basis. Hopefully, we’ll decide how to move forward and provide as many options as possible,” Reyes said.

Topics: Metro Pacific Investments Corp. , arbitration , Toll Regulatory Board
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