Last week, netizens reacted over the proposal of turning EDSA into a toll road. To say that many weren't pleased was an understatement, saying that it's practically double taxation of that major road.
The Department of Transport has since clarified the supposed proposal, saying that “it is only an idea proposed by various stakeholders.”
So how did all this talk come about? And who does, and doesn't, want EDSA to become a toll road?
Since it was DOTr Road Sector consultant Asec. Bert Suansing who brought it up, we can put him in favor of adding tolls along EDSA. Suansing even went as far as saying that the DOTr is studying it and possibly even implement it during peak hours. Here's the kicker: He said that the DOTr is looking to put the whole scheme into action by next year. The assistant secretary said that he has something like Singapore in mind with “congestion charging”.
Another one mulling the possibility of adding tolls on EDSA isn't a person, but a company. That company is San Miguel Corporation (SMC), and they have a different approach in mind. Unlike Suansing, SMC was thinking of building an elevated road above EDSA. They even submitted a proposal back in September 2019 with a planned budget of over Php 500 billion. For now, though, there hasn't been much news about it.
Then there are some netizens who are in favor of the EDSA toll suggestion. They argue that, if it's a way for traffic volume to be reduced on the busy thoroughfare, then it would be a good thing. However, there are seems to be a lot more saying that adding tolls along EDSA isn't ideal, especially given the current health and economic situation.
...Or not to toll
Those against it say that the public's taxes are already paying for the maintenance of EDSA. They say adding tolls means that those who use it will be taxed twice if this is implemented. The other argument against the toll is inner-road congestion. While less will drive along EDSA due to the added fee, the side roads might see more traffic since there will be motorists who would want to avoid getting charged for driving along EDSA.
Then there's the DOTr themselves who seem to have shut down any ideas of implementing the EDSA toll next year. For now, at least, the proposal isn't on the cards and was quick to mention that “the matter has not been formally discussed by its current administration”. If that's the case, then the DOTr doesn't seem too keen on the idea. If they were, it would be the agency themselves coming up with the scheme.
Curbing congestion along EDSA has been a hot topic for decades now. As more and more cars enter the roads, the infrastructure isn't catching up with the motoring wave. In 2019 alone, over 400,000 vehicles rolled off dealership lots, and those cars, trucks, SUVs, and other wheeled vehicles, are plying our ever-tightening streets. Perhaps the solution isn't congestion charging or 'coding', but what will work? Well, the DOTr says they are “open to suggestions” from the public.
So, if you were the DOTr, how would you “fix” EDSA?