States can learn from NSW tolls probe: NatRoad


Gains, not bans, should be the incentive for use, says industry body

States can learn from NSW tolls probe: NatRoad
NorthConnex tunnel under construction

 

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) joins a chorus of appreciation for the growing political focus on New South Wales toll roads.

A long-term critic of the state governments’ approach to tolling,  NatRoad welcomes the NSW review into tolls and will be making a submission to the current Parliamentary inquiry into this issue. 

"In our view, toll roads and fees should be designed to provide sufficient incentive for heavy vehicle operators to use the toll," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"There should be no need for governments to impose truck bans on alternative un-tolled routes.

"The NorthConnex model should therefore not be repeated as it is inherently unfair to heavy vehicles.

"Governments could introduce toll reductions and multi-user discounts for heavy vehicles where further incentives to use toll roads are needed or during times of crisis, as currently exist because of the pandemic. 

"Alternatively, discounted tolls could apply during low use periods at night, for example 12am to 6am."

NatRoad has frequently called out the governments in NSW, Queensland and Victoria for poorly designed tolling policies.

What it describes as "missteps" include: 

  • The lack of transparency and fairness in setting toll fees for heavy vehicles
  • The inconsistent use of tolling methods across the road network
  • The lack of competition in private toll road operation
  • Governments forcing heavy vehicles to use tolled roads by banning them from alternative routes, as is the case with NorthConnex
  • Heavy vehicle operators paying for road network improvements through increases in tolls without experiencing the promised efficiencies themselves, again as with NorthConnex.

 


Read NatRoad’s critique of responses to NorthConnex concerns, here


"It is very difficult to find out from state governments how tolling fees are set, why toll increases are necessary on a regular basis and why some increases above the rate of inflation are justified," Clark says.

"All of these questions are matters of urgent consideration when looking at the future of road construction and getting in place sensible, nationally agreed tolling policies.

"NSW can take the lead on these issues."

 

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