Baxter rethinks IAP due to HML shortfalls

Baxter Transport is still fighting to get HML access despite being enrolled in the IAP scheme

By Brad Gardner | May 3, 2010

Trucking operator Baxter Transport is questioning the worth of sticking with the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) due to an inability to get a return on its investment.

Kel Baxter, who runs the NSW-based company, is still struggling to get higher mass limits (HML) access for his vehicles despite raising concerns about the scheme last year.

Baxter Transport was one of the first to enrol in IAP, spending $20,000 to install the technology and paying an $800 monthly fee.

Under IAP, trucking operators are promised HML access in NSW and Queensland if they agree to install monitoring technology to track vehicle movements.

"I’ve got five trucks in IAP and it is not paying its way," Baxter says.

"I have no intention of putting more in."

He blamed a continued lack of funding to assess routes and a lengthy application process for undermining IAP.

With councils unable to fund assessments, Baxter says he had to commit about $3,000 of his own money for an assessment.

"We had to pay to get a bridge assessed," he says.

Baxter sought approval to run through an area with nine bridges and was told it would cost him $3,000 a bridge to assess. He refused to pay.

The operator was one of the first to enrol in IAP, which became mandatory in NSW on June 30 last year.

Baxter is hopeful a sub-committee of the Road Freight Advisory Council focused on access issues will resolve the problems plaguing HML.

The group involves representatives from government and industry and was set up by the Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport David Borger.

"It is cooperative forum between industry, state government and local government," NatRoad CEO Bernie Belacic, who is part of the committee, says.

The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) was last year accused of refusing to finance cash-starved councils and trying to make trucking companies pay for the scheme.

Junee, Cootamundra, Parks, Dubbo and Lachlan councils last year had to deny HML access because funding constraints meant they could not assess routes.

The RTA denied recommending to councils they charge trucking operators and said local governments were responsible for covering assessment costs.

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