Business case put forward for Perth Freight Link

Perth Freight Link report promises a ‘win-win’ but the trucking industry takes issue with toll focus

Business case put forward for Perth Freight Link
Trips to Fremantle port will be faster, the business case states.


State transport agency Main Roads Western Australia has released its business case summary for the upcoming $1.5 billion Perth Freight Link, which is set to begin construction in 2016.  

Along with an extension of Roe Highway, the project includes various road upgrades and the introduction of a toll on truck drivers for the 85km stretch of road between Muchea and Fremantle.

The exact pricing details of the toll have not been put forward, however the business case summary emphasises that the rates will be made such that any cost to the transport operator will be outweighed by the productivity benefits of using the road.

"This project will save freight operators almost 10 minutes and over $8 per trip between Fremantle and Kwinana Freeway," Federal  finance minister Mathias Cormann, who is from WA, says.

Western Australia Road Transport Association (WARTA) CEO Ian King says that the toll should and probably will be extended to all road users, not just trucks.

"If you are going to have a toll road it has got to be for one and all … What’s going to happen is the cars are going to go on it, clog it up and then why would the heavy vehicles want to use it?

"Our premiere has said no toll roads under our watch, but this is phase one of a toll road," King says.

The summary indicates that the preferred solution for charging heavy vehicles is GPS-based so that truck drivers are charged based on location, distance and time.

The business case summary also estimates the cost-benefit ratio of the project, although the methodology behind the figures has not been released.

"The business case shows that the Perth Freight Link delivers an overall positive cost benefit ratio of 2.8, providing benefits of more than $3.9 billion to Western Australia, including $2.5 billion in travel time savings and $840 million in reduced vehicle operating costs," Cormann adds.

The Perth Freight Link is set to cost $1.5 billion, of which the Federal government will contribute $925 million. The remaining $650 million will come from state funding and the heavy vehicle user charge.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-2019.

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