VTA seeks toll relief for trucking operators in Melbourne


Industry group wants changes to tolls when new truck curfews take effect.

VTA seeks toll relief for trucking operators in Melbourne
The VTA wants tolls removed on trucks using the Bolte Bridge at night.

 

Tolls on trucks using the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne would be removed at night under a proposal from the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

The lobby group has put forward the plan in light of a government decision to announce new truck bans and curfews on residential streets in Melbourne’s inner west that have been used to travel to and from the Port of Melbourne.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says trucks will be forced to use the Bolte Bridge when restrictions on using residential streets are imposed.

"What the VTA and its members would like to see is some forward thinking and common sense by road authorities and operators," Anderson says.

"Given the existing and new night curfews in the access areas near the port precinct, the VTA is calling on a removal of tolls along the Bolte Bridge at night when these curfews come into play and drivers have no alternative but to travel along the toll road."

Anderson has also warned Transurban’s decision to increase tolls on heavy vehicles using the CityLink network from April 2017 will encourage more companies to use residential streets to avoid the impost.

Transurban made the decision to increase tolls to help cover the planned $850 million investment in widening the CityLink Tullamarine corridor. Extra lanes will be added and works are due to begin from early next year and finish in 2018.

The VTA estimates the increase will cost the trucking industry $130 million.

"Trucks already pay 1.9 times the toll of cars on CityLink, but will pay up to three times more than cars on the same stretch of road when the increase is introduced," Anderson says.

"Truck drivers and operators are already being chastised for travelling on inner city streets, particularly in residential areas adjacent to the CityLink/Tullamarine Freeway corridor. But faced with excessive and dramatic additional toll costs it’s anticipated that transport operators will seek alternative routes along local roads to contain costs and overheads," he says.

Anderson says operators will not be able to absorb the increase and will try and pass it on to their customers.

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