The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance authorizing the collection of congestion fees in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. is geared towards alleviating the worsening traffic problem in the city.
Under the proposed ordinance, congestion fee shall refer to the fees to be collected by the local government from visiting motorists to the city.
The collection of congestion fee shall apply to all visiting vehicle owners or drivers and collected upon entry to the city in a fixed amount of P50.
However, residents of the city shall be exempted from paying the congestion fee upon the presentation of proper identification showing that they are bonafide residents of the city.
The ordinance tasked the City Treasury Office to monitor and formulate the guidelines necessary for the successful implementation of the proposed measure.
In the 1900s, Baguio City was master planned by famous American urban planner Arch. Daniel Burnham for only 25,000 inhabitants.
At present, the city’s population is approximately 400,000 but the same nearly doubles during the day when people from various parts of the Northern and Central Luzon area flock to the city to transact various businesses.
The ordinance admitted that the road network designed in the 1900s were narrow considering that it was made primarily for a limited population.
According to the proposal, traffic is one of the major headaches of the city government and concerned government agencies.
The ordinance stipulated that traffic can at least be minimized or controlled to a tolerable level, thus, there is a need to regulate the entry of the cars of visitors entering the city which could be done through the collection of a prescribed congestion fee that will be charged from owners of vehicles entering the city.
The ordinance emphasized that the congestion fee collected shall be used to help alleviate the prevailing traffic problem in the city.
The ordinance mandated that all fees collected shall be deposited in a trust fund that will be used for the implementation of programs, projects and activities to lessen traffic congestions in the city.