Tehran, Aug. 21 (MNA) Basically, the wrong notion that tolls can be collected only from freeways has been behind many problems facing the transportation sector and the lack of logical development of road transportation infrastructures in the country.

Based on a logical way of thinking, short cut routes that shorten the distance between two points of origin and destination can be leased to the private sector through legal channels and their proceeds go to other projects for expansion of other routes. By adopting such a method, a network of vital communication routes will come on stream in the country in the near future through collection of tolls.

 

Therefore, from now on, making use of the investments made in the past two decades should be the basis of development projects. In other words, since the main roads constructed so far mostly were a lane of freeways designed before the Islamic Revolution, they can be considered as among the government's assets and thus put at the disposal of the private sector for construction of the second lane.

 

In that case, renovated old routes can be used by those motorists who are unwilling to pay tolls. It is to be noted that in the event construction of a whole freeway has no technical or economic justification, the building of two lanes and collection of tolls from vehicles traveling on the two-lane route is a common practice in the world and is not legally banned in our country.

 

To shed more light on the issue, a simple calculation shows that a credit of 11,000 billion rials (according to current price) has been spent on road building during 1989-2001 periods (an equivalent of 23,000 billion rials according to the fixed price of 2001). Had the private sector had made the same amount of investments or in other words invested 22,000 billion rials (46,000 billion rials according to the fixed price of 2001), 4,800 km of freeways should have been added to the country's road network.

 

Besides, the executive bylaw of the law on implementation of development projects through partnership in the transportation sector, approved in 1987, has a major defect that has plagued the parking lot of Mehr-Abad International Airport.

 

The bylaw has stipulated that the investor can get all profits he makes from duties that are levied on the infrastructure established through partnership from the beginning of operation until amortization of both capital and interest. So, by offering false reports, the investor can withhold handover of the infrastructure to the government even after exploitation period expires.

 

This holds true for freeways. In other words, it seems that the proceeds from freeways would not be higher than those of highways as is evident in billions of rials that are spent every year from the government's general budget on maintaining roads or paying compensations to investors for losses they incur.

 

Had we spent 11,000 billion rials on adding a lane to highways, main roads and side roads, 16,900 km of highways, main roads and side roads would have been added to the country's communication network?

 

This figure indicates one percent increase in the traffic index of Iranian roads, which compared to the country's total area is noticeable.

(Concluded)

 

 

News Code 7482

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