VTA welcomes West Gate Tunnel use incentives


Two more 24/7 truck bans to come in force in Melbourne’s inner west when tunnel opens

VTA welcomes West Gate Tunnel use incentives
Donnellan says the West Gate Tunnel project will make port access more efficient for the freight industry.

 

The Victorian government has announced that it will offer financial incentives to freight operators who use the proposed West Gate Tunnel.

These incentives will include discounted shuttle rates, maximum daily toll cap for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel, and night-time discounts.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says encouraging heavy vehicles to use the proposed tunnel will create productivity improvements for operators and amenity gains for residents of Melbourne’s inner west.

The news comes with state roads minister Luke Donnellan's announcement of two additional truck bans that will come into play when the West Gate Tunnel opens in 2022.

Trucks will be banned from accessing Blackshaws Road in Altona North (from Melbourne Road to Grieve Parade) and Hudsons Road in Spotswood (between Booker Street and Melbourne Road) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It comes after government’s announcement to impose 24/7 truck bans on Francis Street and Somerville Road in Yarraville, and Buckley and Moore streets in Footscray, which are expected to remove over 9,000 trucks off local road.

The additional truck bans announced today will take another 5,000 trucks off inner west roads.

Trucks with a local origin or destination in the area will be exempt from the bans.

"This is a win for the whole community – quieter, safer streets for the inner west and cheaper, more efficient port access for the transport industry," Donnellan says.

"By providing a dedicated route to the port, the West Gate Tunnel project will take thousands of trucks off local roads in the inner west. Without the Tunnel there can be no truck bans."

The government decision comes following community consultations.

VTA response

"We are pleased that the Victorian government has listened to the VTA’s consistent calls for heavy vehicle operators to be incentivised to use toll roads like the West Gate Tunnel," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"The transport industry has been hit with substantial increases to tolls and infrastructure costs at the Port of Melbourne this year, so it is encouraging that steps are being taken by the government to ensure heavy vehicle operators are not penalised for using toll roads.

"Whilst permanent 24/7 bans on trucks travelling through Blackshaws and Hudsons Road form part of today’s announcement, they will be more than offset by the productivity gains that will be realised from giving operators a financial incentive to use the West Gate Tunnel.

"The trade-off is also welcome because it demonstrates that the Victorian government understands it cannot simply take something away from the industry without compensating for it in some other way.

"In this case, there will be new restrictions on trucks using certain roads, however the benefits that will flow from incentivising them to use the toll road is ample compensation, and is the kind of thinking that must be applied to other situations where the industry is asked to make substantial sacrifices."

The West Gate Tunnel project will directly link the West Gate Freeway to the Port with twin tunnels under Yarraville, which is expected to save truck drivers time and money by avoiding 17 sets of traffic lights and reduce vehicle wear and tear.

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