高速有料の延長 安全確保にはやむを得ない

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 17, 2014
Expressway toll system must be continued to ensure safety
高速有料の延長 安全確保にはやむを得ない(2月17日付・読売社説)

With an extension of up to 15 years, or up until 2065, eyed for the expressway toll-collection system, the government has submitted a bill to the current Diet session for revising the Special Measures Law Concerning Road Construction and Improvement.
 政府は、高速道路の有料期間を最長15年延長して2065年までとする道路整備特別措置法改正案を国会に提出した。

The rebuilding and repair of aging expressways is urgently needed to ensure the safety of their users.
 利用者の安全を守るため、老朽化した高速道路の造り替えや補修は急務だ。

About 40 percent of all expressway sections have been in use for 30 years or longer.
 全国の高速道路のうち、開通から30年以上経過した区間が約4割を占める。

In December 2012, ceiling panels in the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture collapsed apparently due to aging, an incident that created many victims.
山梨県の中央自動車道・笹子トンネルでは、老朽化が原因とみられる天井板崩落事故が起き、多数の犠牲者が出た。

Because of its financial woes, the government can hardly afford to invest huge amounts of public funds into maintaining expressways. Extending the toll-collecting period is unavoidable as the expenses involved in renovations and repairs must be covered mainly by toll revenues.
 財政難で巨額の国費を投じる余裕が乏しい中、有料期間の延長で得られる料金収入を更新・修繕費に充てるのはやむを得ない。

Six expressway operators, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Co., have recently estimated their renovation and repair costs to total ¥4 trillion in the next dozen years or so.
 首都高速道路など高速道路6社は先ごろ、今後十数年で総額4兆円規模の更新・修繕費がかかるという試算をまとめた。

When privatizing then Japan Highway Public Corp. in 2005, the government came up with a projection to make expressways toll-free by having the public corporation’s debt of about ¥40 trillion repaid through toll revenues up until 2050.
 政府は05年の道路公団民営化の際、50年までの料金収入で約40兆円の債務を返済した後、高速道路を無料にする計画を立てた。

The projection, however, failed to fully take into account the colossal expenses of repairs and related work in the future. There can be no denying that the projection was based on overly optimistic estimates.
 しかし、当時は、将来の道路補修などに巨額の費用がかかる事態を十分に想定していなかった。見通しが甘かった点は否めない。

All expressway companies must do their utmost to keep a tight rein on road renovation and repair costs so that expressway users in the future are not forced to shoulder excessively heavy burdens.
 道路各社には今後、将来の利用者の負担が過度に重くならないよう、更新・修繕費を可能な限り抑制することが求められる。

End toll-free policy

The expressway companies also should use their ingenuity for tapping private-sector funds through such measures as selling or renting the rights to use the space above expressways and the ground below elevated ones.
 高速道路の上空や高架下の使用権を企業に売却・賃貸して費用の一部を賄うなど、民間資金の活用に工夫を凝らしてもらいたい。

Another issue of high importance is the renovation of expressways to make them easier and safer to use, such as by making them wider and reducing the number of tight curves, instead of simply rebuilding aged expressways with few design improvements.
 単なる造り替えではなく、車線拡張や急カーブの解消など、道路の使いやすさや安全性を高めるための改修も大切である。

Thus we cannot help but find it questionable that the government has been continuing to uphold the goal of making expressways free of charge in the future.
 疑問なのは、政府が依然として高速道路を将来、無料化する計画を掲げ続けていることだ。

Given that expressways will certainly remain in use regardless of whether they become toll-free, it is evident that additional expenses will be necessary to fund renovation and repair projects in the future. The problem of how to secure new sources of revenue to take the place of tolls is bound to be raised.
 高速道路を利用し続ける以上、将来的に追加の更新・修繕費が必要になる。新たな財源問題が浮上するのは必至だろう。

In light of this, it is unavoidable to thoroughly review the current expressway policy, which is premised on abolishing expressway tolls in the future. It may be a feasible option to continue to levy low tolls for many years to come.
 無料化を前提とする現行計画の再検討は避けられまい。将来にわたって低廉な料金を徴収し続けるのも一つの選択肢ではないか。

It is reasonable that the government has now decided to reduce toll discounts for motor vehicles equipped with electronic toll-collection systems starting in April.
 政府が、自動料金収受システム(ETC)の搭載車を対象にした割引制度を4月から縮小するのは妥当な措置である。

Since 2008, about ¥3 trillion of taxpayers’ money in the aggregate has been used for the toll discount system. Discounts, however, should be carried out as part of expressway operators’ services offered through their business management efforts.
 割引には08年以降、総額3兆円の国費が投入されてきた。だが、道路各社が経営努力の範囲内で実施するのが、割引サービスの本来の姿のはずだ。

The specifics of toll discounts have been changed with every change of administration, and they have become highly complicated and unintelligible in the eyes of drivers.
 割引制度は政権が代わる度に変更され、利用者には複雑で分かりにくい仕組みになっている。

The current discount system should be scrutinized in terms of its effectiveness and be revamped into a new system to make the discounts more useful for such purposes as revitalizing distribution systems and alleviating traffic congestion on ordinary roads.
これまでの効果を検証し、物流の活性化や一般道の渋滞緩和などに、より役立つ制度へ改善すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2014)
(2014年2月17日00時04分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2014-02-18 07:47 | 英字新聞

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