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North Luzon toll integration eyed before end of the year

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority is coordinating with Manila North Tollways Corp. to speed up the signing of the agreement on the integration of the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway ahead of the February 12 deadline set by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

“The integration of the toll ways had always been part of the plan. We are grateful for Senate President Drilon’s interest because it is now gaining momentum,” BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano Casanova said. “We are working at signing the agreement in the first week of February.”

The integration of the NLEX and SCTEX is expected to cost some P600 million.

Once signed, the toll integration agreement will be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.

Drilon met with the BCDA and the operators of the expressways in North Luzon to discuss the integration after his trip to Baguio during the holidays took 11 hours.

“It is to the best interest of the project proponents and motorists to have a more efficient infrastructure,” Casanova said. “We are just waiting for the go-signal of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel before we can sign off on the agreement.”

At present, the operations of the SCTEX and TPLEX are already partially integrated, with motorists no longer needing to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards for SCTEX and TPLEX.

“We just need to thresh out details on the settlement of payments and other documentation,” Casanova said.

There are also discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.

“For the long term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists,” Casanova said.