Road operator NLEx Corp. applies for toll adjustment

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THE TOLL Regulatory Board (TRB) said Monday that NLEx Corp., operator of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), applied to adjust toll rates.

In a bulletin published in a newspaper on Monday, the TRB said NLEx Corp. sought in a Jan. 22 petition to implement an add-on rate for all vehicle types using the toll road. According to the petition, the adjusted rates should have been effective starting Feb. 15. The publication of the petition in a newspaper triggers the start of the 90-day period during which the TRB welcomes any filing from NLEx users to review the concessionaire’s request, after which it can move to ruling on NLEx Corp.’s petition.

“Any interested expressway user shall have the right to file, within a period of ninety (90) days from the date of the publication of this Notice, a petition for review with the TRB,” it said.

The authorized toll rates in NLEx are currently P40.6 for Class 1 vehicles, P101.5 for Class 2 and P121.8 for Class 3. The adjusted toll rates would raise these fees to P47.4 for Class 1 vehicles, P118.6 for Class 2 and P142.3 for Class 3.

“NLEx Corp. most respectfully prays that this Honorable Board immediately issue an order ex parte granting NLEx Corp.’s prayer for provisional relief, i.e. an Order implementing the previously approved adjustment to the Authorized Toll Rates… and authorizing NLEx Corp. to collect the same,” according to the petition.

The concessionaire said the add-on toll is meant to help it recoup investments in Segments 9 and 10 of NLEx of P11.9 billion as of November 2014.

In August 2018, NLEx Corp. said it was willing to drop its arbitration case against the Department of Transportation (DoTr) over the long-overdue toll fee adjustments in the expressway.

NLEx was seeking compensation of P3 billion for adjustments originally due in January 2013 and January 2015. It also included some P877 million in what it claimed was the government’s failure to act on toll hike petitions for the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Its estimate of he claims as of June 2017 was P7.5 billion.

NLEx Corp. is a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollways arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez