THE TOLL REGULATORY BOARD (TRB) has approved new tolls for segments of a road project designed to help decongest Metro Manila’s southern roads, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. announced in two disclosures to the stock exchange on Monday.

These resulted from petitions filed by joint venture partners Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. and Philippine Reclamation Authority.

The new rates will come into effect upon issuance by TRB of notice to start collection.

The TRB has approved the initial toll for the first 2.2 kilometers of the Segment 3A-1 of the C-5 Link Expressway, which forms part of the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway Project (MCTEP): P22 for ordinary cars (Class 1), P44 for buses and small commercial trucks (Class 2) and P66 for large trucks and trailers (Class 3).

“Given the provisional nature of the initial toll rate, the approval granted by the TRB is valid initially for a period of six months from the date of the start of actual collection,” Metro Pacific said in its disclosure.

Metro Pacific said the initial toll will help fund construction of remaining segments of the expressway project.

Segment 3A-1consists of a 2×3 lane toll road between C-5 Road in Taguig City and Merville subdivision in Parañaque City. The segment includes the flyover crossing the South Luzon Expressway.

“Segment 3A-1 will alleviate congestion and enable motorists to easily travel from Merville, Parañaque to Taguig and vice-versa,” the disclosure read. “It will decongest Sales Road, as well as the East and West Service roads…”

The TRB has also approved the additional toll rate for Phase 1 of the R-1 Enhancement Project on MCTEP’s Segment 1 (R-1 Expressway).

Motorists traveling along R-1 Expressway between Seaside and Zapote areas will have to pay an additional P1 for cars; P2 for buses and small commercial trucks and P3 for large trucks and trailers, on top of toll rates authorized in 2009: P24 for Class 1 vehicles, P48 for Class 2 and P72 for Class 3.

Proceeds from the incremental toll will be used to fund the “enhancement of the R-1 Expressway, including the widening of R-1 Expressway with an addition of one lane in both directions, converting the carriage ways from 2×3 lanes to 2×4 lanes, or a total of 5.20 kilometers along each direction, as well as the construction of the Marina Bay flyover and left-turning lanes,” the Metro Pacific said.

“This enhancement will address motorists’ demands and resolve the congestion problem along this portion of MCTEP,” the disclosure read.

“The add-on toll rates will help ensure the sustainability and viability of MTEP and the comfort and safety of motorists and other users of the MCTEP and all the toll facilities found therein.”

Metro Pacific — whose share price surged by 11 centavos or 2.22% to P5.06 apiece on Monday — is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — A. L. Balinbin