This just in. The government’s plan to takeover four highways in the Klang Valley has been given the green light during the tabling of Budget 2020. The move, which was initially put on hold since July, will see motorists enjoy toll savings of up to 30% during near-peak hours and free during off-peak hours. Exactly how this system will be implemented, as well as the cut-off times, will be announced soon.

The highways are Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Sprint Expressway (SPRINT) and SMART Tunnel (SMART). Finance minister Lim Guan Eng says the move will help those who use the highway save nearly RM180 million a year, or RM2 billion over the respective concession periods (between nine and 23 years).

During the initial announcement in July, Lim said the takeover would cost RM6.2 billion, but it will be financed through bond issuance, with congestion charges used to pay off the debt. The new congestion charge system is expected to be implemented on January 1, 2020.

He also said the government hopes to abolish the toll system altogether as promised in its manifesto, but added that nominal toll charges may still be imposed to cover operational and maintenance costs.

Similarly, PLUS Malaysia will offer a discount of 18% on toll charges beginning from 2020, potentially helping highway users save up to RM1.13 billon in 2020, and RM42 billion over the concession period which ends in 2038. Thoughts, guys?