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高速割引見直し 値上げで建設費に回す無節操

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 11, 2010)

Taking a wrong turn on expressway tolls
高速割引見直し 値上げで建設費に回す無節操(4月10日付・読売社説)

The policy compiled by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to revise the current system of discounts on expressway tolls can be summarized in the following way: The Cabinet was hard-pressed to secure funds for construction of new expressways, and decided to effectively raise the tolls to get the money it needs.
 高速道路建設費の確保に窮して、料金を実質的に値上げし転用する―。鳩山内閣がまとめた高速料金割引制度の見直し策を一言でいえば、こうなるだろう。

With implementation of the new system in June, many expressway users will likely pay more. Constructing new expressways and widening current expressways is appropriate, as such improvements bring about positive economic effects and also help prevent accidents. However, the policy obviously contradicts the Cabinet's attitude, which has been negative toward improvement and construction of expressways.
 6月実施の新制度では、利用者の多くが負担増となりそうだ。経済効果が高く、事故防止にも役立つ路線の新設・拡幅は妥当だが、高速道整備に否定的だった鳩山内閣の姿勢と明らかに矛盾する。

The reduction of toll discounts also runs against the policy of making expressways free, a policy the Hatoyama Cabinet still claims to uphold. It must be quite difficult for the administration to get the public's understanding for the new system.
 いまだ旗を降ろさぬ高速道路の無料化政策にも反しよう。新制度に対する国民の理解を得るのは、容易ではあるまい。

The new discount system will drastically change the system that was introduced under the administration of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito coalition.
 新しい割引制度は、自公政権時代に導入された中身を、大幅に整理・統合するものだ。

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No more 1,000 yen cap

The extremely popular "1,000 yen toll for unlimited travel" discount system for vehicles equipped with electronic toll collection (ETC) devices on weekends and holidays will be abolished. Discounts for certain times of day, such as early morning and late night, will also be abolished after the current fiscal year.
 目玉だった、自動料金収受システム(ETC)を装備した車を対象にした土日・祝日限定の「1000円走り放題」は廃止する。早朝、深夜など時間帯ごとの割引も、今年度限りでやめる。

Instead, toll caps will be introduced--1,000 yen for minicars, 2,000 yen for regular passenger cars and 5,000 yen for larger vehicles. No additional charges will be added to these tolls. There is also a program to give preferential treatment to fuel-efficient vehicles.
 その代わり、軽自動車は1000円、普通車は2000円、中型車以上は5000円などの上限を決め、それ以上の料金は取らないことにする。燃費のいい車を優遇する仕組みもある。

The new system will be applied not only on weekends but also on weekdays, regardless of whether vehicles are equipped with ETC devices. Drivers of vehicles not equipped with ETC devices and those traveling long distances on weekdays will benefit greatly from the new system.
 土日ばかりでなく平日にも適用し、ETCの有無を問わない。このため、ETCを付けていない車や平日に遠出する場合、恩恵は確かに大きいだろう。

However, the new system has blind spots. The average daily travel distance of a regular passenger car on an expressway is about 60 kilometers on the weekend and about 40 kilometers on weekdays. Such distances are too short to reach the upper limit of the toll. What is even worse, the tolls to be paid by drivers in that range will be higher than the current ones.
 だが、新制度には盲点がある。普通車などの平均走行距離は土日で約60キロ、平日なら約40キロだ。この程度走ったくらいでは料金が上限に達せず、支払うべき料金は現行より高くなるという。

For the Metropolitan and Hanshin expressways, the current flat-rate tolls based on prefectural zones and the zones themselves will be abolished. Instead, there will be a system that requires drivers to pay 500-900 yen on a scale determined by travel distance.
 首都高速と阪神高速については年末をめどに、都府県ごとの区分と一律料金制をやめ、500円から900円を走行距離に応じて支払うシステムに変える。

On those two expressways, the new tolls will be lower than the current ones for short-distance driving, but tolls for long-distance driving will go up in some cases and down in others. Drivers are bound to become confused.
 短距離の場合は割安になるが、長く走ると、負担増・減の二つのケースが出てくる。ドライバーも戸惑うのではないか。

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Move is just for securing funds

The Hatoyama administration is revising the discount system because it wants to secure funds for construction of expressways.
 今回、料金割引制度を見直すのは、高速道路建設の財源確保のためである。

Three trillion yen has already been allocated to make up for the reduction in toll revenues under the current discount system. Of that, only 500 billion yen has been spent, leaving 2.5 trillion yen. Out of this, the new system will save 1.4 trillion yen, which can be used for construction of new expressways.
 料金割引の原資に国が手当てして残る2・5兆円から、今回の制度変更で使わずに済むようになる1・4兆円を、建設費に充てる計画だ。

The Hatoyama Cabinet focused on the revenue for the current discount system because the Democratic Party of Japan made strong calls for the promotion of expressway improvement and construction programs in December last year.
 鳩山内閣が昨年末、民主党に高速道路の整備促進を強く要請されたことで、原資に目をつけた。

If funds for the construction of expressways are necessary, the administration should be logical enough to prepare a budget for that purpose in a proper fashion. As the Hatoyama Cabinet does not have a consistent expressway policy, it has chosen to take a wrong turn with its inappropriate toll-raising measure.
 建設費がどうしても必要というなら、きちんと予算化するのが筋だろう。一貫した高速道路政策が鳩山内閣にないから、こんな姑息(こそく)な手段を選ぶことになる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun,April 10, 2010)
(2010年4月10日02時18分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-04-11 12:17 | 英字新聞

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