SMC, TRB had ‘misunderstanding’ on closure order of Skyway Stage 3 — Ramon Ang
MANILA, Philippines —The order to close the Skyway Stage 3 until all ramps are completed was the result of a “misunderstanding” between the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Infrastructure and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), SMC president Ramon Ang said Tuesday.
In a statement, Ang said he relayed the commitment to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade that the 18.3-kilometer tollway would “remain open.”
“Basically, TRB is insisting that Skyway 3 cannot start full operations and collect toll until all ramps are 100 percent complete,” Ang said. “Our supplemental toll operation agreement states that we can start collecting at 95 percent completion—we are now 97 percent complete.”
The SMC president also said that it needs “sufficient funds” for the toll road maintenance, as well as to keep the tollway safe for motorists.
“As Skyway 3’s losses have been mounting because TRB keeps delaying the start of toll collection, the quickest way for our infrastructure unit to speed up 100 percent completion of the ramps would have been to close Skyway 3,” he said, adding that Tugade “understands their predicament.”
It was earlier announced that the Skyway Stage 3 will be closed indefinitely starting this Tuesday following a directive from the TRB.
Proposed toll rates lowered
Ang, meanwhile, said that SMC made “a lot of concessions—which includes lowering toll rates— for the interest of the public.”
“Also, Skyway 3 is new, but heavy everyday use causes it to deteriorate if not maintained properly. We spend a lot for its upkeep, and at the same time lose a lot in foregone revenues. We cannot operate this and serve people if the project is not generating revenues,” he added.
He also said that SMC revised its original proposed fare matrix “to significantly lower toll rates, to make it more equitable for motorists, especially during this pandemic.”
Back in January, news broke that the proposed toll for the Skyway Stage 3 would range from P110 to P274.
SMC was supposed to charge motorists starting Feb. 1, but was later waived as the TRB said that SMC Infrastructure could not collect toll unless the skyway is finished and unless the fees are approved.
“In good faith, during our earlier discussions with TRB, we lowered the proposed toll rates significantly. Basically, we took out and deferred the collection of most of the cost of right-of-way acquisition. After that, we lowered the rates even further, so that people traveling short distances would pay much less,” he said.
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