Fulfilling its pre-election promise, the Maharashtra government on Friday announced its decision to exempt light motor vehicles, including cars, SUVs and state transport buses, from toll tax — a move that will cost the government Rs 800 crore. However, you will still have to pay toll at the plazas in Mumbai and along the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
The government has also promised to come up with a formula for similar waivers on the remaining toll plazas by the end of July.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the legislative assembly that his government has decided to make 53 plazas toll-free for smaller vehicles from the intervening night of May 31 and June 1. Of these, 27 are controlled by the public works department, while 26 are maintained by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
The CM said the government plans to buy back 11 toll plazas controlled by the public works department and one owned by the MSRDC, which are nearing completion of their tenure or will expire in 3-4 years, at a cost of Rs 394.51 crore.
While the government will have to pay Rs 4.29-44.30crore to buy back each of the 11 toll plazas, it will pay Rs 168 crore for the toll plaza from Chandrapur —the hometown of finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar — that was included at the last minute.
HT had, on April 8, reported on the state’s decision to exempt smaller vehicles from the tax.
Fadnavis said his government was positive about waiving off the toll tax for smaller vehicles at the entry points to Mumbai and along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
“We have appointed a committee under additional chief secretary Anand Kulkarni to look into the financial and legal aspects of the issue. Once the committee submits its report by the end of July, a decision will be taken,” he said.
The CM also told the assembly that the committee appointed under PWD minister Eknath Shinde to decide on the controversial Kolhapur toll plaza will submit its report by July-end, after which a decision will be taken.
The waiver for smaller vehicles will cost at least Rs 405 crore to the state exchequer every year, as the government does not plan to pass on the burden to heavy motor vehicles by increasing their tax or extending the concession period of the existing toll plazas.
Of the Rs 405 crore, Rs 255 crore will be paid to the MSRDC for the waiver of the remaining concession period of five years. The remaining amount will be paid to the PWD.