Driving on high-speed, access controlled expressways across India might get more expensive with the road ministry considering higher toll — 1.3 times more than the prevailing toll on national highways.
The new rate would be applicable on all greenfield expressways the road ministry has proposed to build across the country.
During the 12th plan period (2012-2017), the ministry envisaged the building of 1,000 km access controlled expressways along high density corridors on new alignments at an estimated cost of Rs. 16,000 crore.
“The rationale for charging higher toll is the cost of developing greenfield expressways which is much higher compared to highways,” a ministry official said.
According to rough estimates of the road ministry, the per km cost of constructing an expressway will vary between R14 crore and Rs. 20 crore depending on the number of lanes. The per km cost of building a highway is comparatively much lower, Rs. 10 crore.
“We will soon move a cabinet note to amend the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008,” the official added.
This, however, is not the first time that the ministry has proposed a higher toll for expressways. Earlier this year, it had mooted a proposal to levy 50% more toll on new expressways as compared to national highways. But, the proposal came under flak from several quarters, including the finance ministry, after which it was withdrawn and redrafted.
Recently, the ministry had also given the green signal to set up a new company — National Expressways and Connectivity Corporation — to expedite construction of expressways. The government has set an ambitious target to build around 20,000 km of brand new expressways by 2022. These will be either four or six-laned.
According to ministry officials, presently, India has only 200 km of expressway which accounts for just 0.2% of the entire national highway network.