Korea to waive highway tolls during holidays

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Korea to waive highway tolls during holidays

Motorists can use the highways for free during the holidays, beginning with this year’s Chuseok, or Korean harvest festival. The government’s policy committee said it also will give more financial incentives to travelers in eco-friendly vehicles.

The advisory committee for state affairs planning, a de facto power transition team under the Moon Jae-in administration, said highway tolls will be exempt for three days during Lunar New Year and Chuseok.

“We decided to implement President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promise of removing highway tolls during the holidays starting with this year’s Chuseok,” Park Gwang-on, a committee spokesman, said on Friday. “In the case of this year’s Chuseok, highway tolls will be removed from Oct. 3 through 5. We expect the amount of exempt fees will amount to 45 billion won ($39.5 million)” during Chuseok.

The spokesman added that it decided to remove tolls for three days of each period since 71 percent of total traffic is concentrated in those days. Other holidays are not included in the plan, but Park said the committee will consider them.

Korea Expressway Corporation will pay the tolls for on the state-run highways, while the government will pay for tolls on privately-owned roads. The committee will finalize the regulations in September, it said.

The transition team also added that it will give 50 percent discounts on tolls for travelers in electric or fuel-cell cars starting in September.

Also the committee said it will consider allowing people traveling to Gangwon Province to use the highways for free during the PyeongChang Olympics, or from February to March next year.

The transition team said it will review Moon’s other policy goals such as giving discounts to truckers or applying flexible wages for non-peak hours.

BY KIM YOUNG-NAM[kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]
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