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Plans to abolish Expressway toll discount draws drivers ire

Date Posted: 2009-01-29

Plans by the government to drop a 30% Expressway toll discount has fueled outbursts from Expressway users, who question how they will be able to afford the roadways with higher fees.

The discount, funded by Okinawa’s District of Special Promotion Regulation, has been effect for many years, but the government now says it will drop the discount at the end of 2010. Users and women’s groups are demanding the prefecture drop plans for eliminating the discount, saying “if charges go up, we can’t use this road.”

Transportation companies say the change would be devastating, as it “will disturb the industrial promotion situation, and with the worldwide recession make it impossible to accept.” A frequent traveler says “I go to Urasoe City and Uruma City to my hometown from Nago City every week, and just bought the ETC system because it is cheaper. Now it will hurt my budget.” He called for continuing the special promotion regulation price. The chairman of the Prefecture Women’s Association says “the price of the toll road, which is a 30% discounted price, should be fixed price for Okinawans.” She warned “if this fixed price is abolished, we can’t live such a hard live. Even now, prices are kind of high for users.”

The prefecture, receiving angry demands for keeping things the same, and bombarded by questions of ‘how can we find money to pay the higher price’ says it will look into it. The prefecture says it “doesn’t know yet” if changes will be forthcoming.

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