Infrastructure summit looks to new road funding schemes

User pay roads are expected to increase the cost recovery of public roads, but the ATA says trucking is already paying too much

Infrastructure summit looks to new road funding schemes
ATA CEO Christopher Melham says road funding models are already skewed against truck operators


User-pay systems for roads and infrastructure are desperately required, speakers at the Australian Financial Review’s National Infrastructure Summit have advised – bringing the national heavy vehicle community offside.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says heavy vehicles are already paying more than their fair share of road building maintenance costs through fuel tax and registration charges.

ATA CEO Christopher Melham has reiterated the group’s position that these mechanisms are underestimating the number of trucks on the road to the expense of all heavy vehicles.

"Issues with the charging system mean that truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $117 million in 2015-16," he says.

"The National Transport Commission has already put forward options to solve this problem, which should be implemented as soon as possible."

Assistant minister for infrastructure Jamie Briggs believes Australia is well behind the rest of the world when it comes to cost recovery for infrastructure projects.

"Road transport is one of the last major areas of our economy that remains ‘unreconstructed’," he told the Sydney conference.

"Institutional arrangements around funding and provision remain much the same as they were a generation ago."

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Australia chairman Mark Birrell says transport infrastructure projects will need to rely more on non-government funding sources.

"We believe [the transport sector] needs to get off that drip as soon as it can, in the same way that telecommunications and energy have."

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