Road toll takes a heavy toll

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-21 08:10
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Comment on "Highway fees set to decrease nationwide" (China Daily, Jan 19)

I was shocked to read that Shi Jianfeng, a farmer in Henan province, was convicted of "evading" 3.68 million yuan ($558,664) in highway toll in only eight months.

Can any one person run up that huge an amount in toll in just eight months? Are highway tolls that high?

What is equally shocking is that Shi earned about 200,000 yuan during those eight months. Can a person who earns 200,000 yuan run up a toll bill of 3.68 million yuan?

I am glad to know that the Ministry of Transport has taken note of the unusual incident and decided to reduce highway tolls.

It's necessary to reduce tolls to levels that people can afford to pay, or else we will hear about more Shi Jianfeng-like cases.

As Vice-Minister of Transport Weng Mengyong said recently, it is important to make new policies transparent. The public has the right to participate in the policymaking process and supervise related authorities to get work done properly and preempt the misuse of power.

As the report says, the Ministry of Transport will launch pilot projects of new policies during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). I hope the new policies benefit the public.

Xie, via e-mail

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(China Daily 01/21/2011 page10)