Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow has urged the federal government to study the financial impact of abolishing toll on the Penang Bridge. According to The Sun, Chow said “the federal government must study the implications of paying compensation to the concessionaire and maintenance costs based on the concession contract which still has 20 years to go.”

That was a response to a question posed by Lee Khai Loon (PKR-Machang Bubuk) during the first sitting of the Penang State Assembly since the 14th general elections (GE14). Chow said the state government was taking measures to alleviate congestion on the bridge, among which was to provide the Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (BEST) that was first introduced in 2011.

Prior to winning GE14, the Pakatan Harapan coalition promised to waive all toll charges for motorists who use the Penang Bridge. It also announced in its manifesto that it will abolish toll collection if it won GE14, but has recently announced that the move will cost over RM400 billion.

Meanwhile, Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, which is the concessionaire for the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah or the Second Penang Bridge, has been urged to consider providing toll discounts to attract more users. It has been deemed as a financially unstable company despite the increase in traffic volume in 2017. Motorists tend to use the first bridge more, simply because the second bridge is some 30 minutes’ drive from main towns.

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