Qualified SARTA support for tolls

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

South Australian trucking backs road charges but on its own terms

Qualified SARTA support for tolls
A design concept of South Road Superway in Adelaide

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Executive Director Steve Shearer says the industry is happy to contribute to the cost of infrastructure projects only if the charge is less than cost savings.

Shearer has backed the Federal Government’s call for road toll, saying the industry has been lobbying the State Government for years to consider such measure to help kick start projects.

"It’s about bloody time that all of the politicians in South Australia stopped being so afraid of the word toll because the only reason we don’t have road tolls over here is that none of the politicians on either side have had the courage or leadership to actually bite that bullet," Shearer says.

"They’re afraid if they say they they’re going to pull a toll on a road that the public will react against them and vote against them because the public doesn’t want motorists to pay tolls.

"We have always said that we don’t mind tolls just for trucks as long as the toll is less than what we save by using that road."

He also wants the industry to decide what roads should be charged.

"The operational saving has to be a saving assessed by the industry, not what some government says," Shearer insists.

"They simply don’t know what our operating costs are and there are no positions to assess our savings so they should do that with us in advance of projects."

Shearer is calling on the government to complete the South Road Superway before building the $1.1 billion Northern Connector, saying the freeway which is north of Adelaide is a major freight route that needs attention.

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