Maharashtra hikes toll tax for commercial vehicles only

The state cabinet on Thursday decided to continue the toll waiver for small vehicles, school buses and state transport (ST) buses, but hiked the toll tax for commercial vehicles on 15 state highway projects. The move is expected to reduce the burden on the state — the public works department (PWD) shells out nearly ₹400 crore annually to compensate for the waiver.

The state PWD has now increased the category of vehicles from the earlier four to five, by separating three-axle vehicles and multi-axle (truck-trailer) vehicles as two different categories, where the latter will pay the highest toll tax.

According to the proposed hike for the Sion-Panvel Highway, the increase in toll tax is from ₹75 to ₹85 (13.33% ) for minibus and tempos, ₹160 to ₹175 (9.75%) for buses and trucks, ₹250 to ₹275 (10%) for three-axle vehicles, and ₹340 to ₹420 (23.52% increase) for multi-axle vehicles.

Similarly, the hike has been passed on various highways under PWD in the state.

PWD officials said that the move was to reduce the burden of the state. “Instead of giving this compensation in cash to the toll operator, the government decided to increase the toll tax for heavy vehicles,” an official said. With the hike in toll tax for different categories, the concession period on each of the project has decreased.

At present, these vehicles are exempted from paying on 15 PWD roads where private contractors collect toll tax. Because of the exemption, the government has to pay ₹350crore-₹400 crore as compensation to these contractors every year, a statement from the state government said. The statement added that the hike is lower than what National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) levies on its roads.

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