VTA slams CityLink truck-only toll increase


Victorian Transport Association claims toll increase will come at $130 million cost to industry.

VTA slams CityLink truck-only toll increase
Not happy: VTA CEO Peter Anderson is critical of the decision to apply toll increases to heavy vehicles on the CityLink network.

 

Transurban’s decision to rely on heavy vehicles to help fund upgrades to the CityLink network in Melbourne has not gone down well with the body representing Victoria's trucking industry.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has criticised the decision to apply toll increases to heavy vehicles while excluding all other road users.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says the increase, which will take effect in April 2017, will cost the trucking industry more than $130 million. 

"Trucks currently pay 1.9 times the toll of cars, but will pay up to three times more when the increase is introduced," Anderson says.

"The upcoming increase on heavy vehicle tolls is set to cost the industry in excess of an additional $130 million per annum and the VTA is extremely disappointed that it is only heavy vehicles being targeted."

Anderson has warned there will be consequences from the decision, including increased heavy vehicle traffic on alternative routes and the prospect of trucking firms moving their operations interstate.

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

"Melbourne has been a competitive logistics capital for 150 years and is Australia’s busiest container port. But if governments encourage inefficient work practices and leave the cost burden on heavy vehicles alone, the cost of doing business in Melbourne will see businesses opting to operate in other states."

Anderson says the decision to increase tolls came without consultation with the trucking industry or recognition of the impact the measure would have on the broader community.

Transurban this week signed an agreement with the Victorian Government to spend $850 million widening the CityLink Tullamarine corridor. Extra lanes will be added in each direction between the Bolte Bridge and the Tullamarine Freeway and a section of the West Gate Freeway.

Works are due to begin from early next year and finish in 2018.

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