The 5,550m Zhengzhou Yellow River Bridge which links Zhengzhou and Xinxiang in Henan Province opened in September 1986. Officials instituted a toll to help pay off the debts incurred by the bridge, which was achieved in 1996. They then carried on collecting the toll for a further 16 years, taking in over 1.45 billion RMB.
According to a nationwide audit on tolls in 18 provinces and cities by China’s National Audit Office published in 2008, construction on the bridge started in 1984 with a total investment reaching 178 million yuan, and enough tolls had been collected to pay all its debts in 1996.
According to the People’s Daily, locals referred to the bridge as the “blood sucker”.
Netizens are unimpressed by the announcement however, which seems to suggest that no-one will be held responsible for collecting an illegal toll all this time:
Internet users took to Sina Corp.’s Weibo microblogging service to express their indignation.
“So they grabbed so much money … then nobody’s responsible for anything?” wrote one.
“The National Audit Office has already ruled this kind of toll fee as ‘illegal.’ How come this kind of illegal action could last as long as 16 years?” asked another, adding: “Will anybody get punished because of that? Where has all the illegal income gone to? Anybody apologized to the public?”
“The National Audit Office should do its job and provide people with their rights to use those roads and bridge for free,” commented another microblogger.