SA freight council calls for user-pays infrastructure

The SA freight council wants road users to foot the bill for freight infrastructure projects

SA freight council calls for user-pays infrastructure
SA freight council calls for user-pays infrastructure
December 3, 2012

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) has released a Christmas wish list of freight infrastructure projects it wants completed and is calling on road users to fund them.

Releasing SAFC's latest freight report today, the council's chief executive officer, Neil Murphy, says the South Australian Government should immediately investigate introducing toll roads to fund key transport infrastructure projects.

"Tough decisions need to be made now by the South Australian Government to ensure these key transport infrastructure projects – and others we have identified – are undertaken before it is too late," Murphy says.

Key projects identified in SAFC’s Moving Freight report, aimed at improving South Australia’s transport network, include:

  • A free flowing north-south corridor – SAFC says will cost $4 billion-plus – based around an upgrade of South Road, including a proposed tunnel under Port and Grange roads
  • An accelerated road maintenance program to alleviate a maintenance deficit SAFC says has increased from the State Government’s estimate of $160 million in 2003 – not including roads under the care and control of local government – to more than $250 million today
  • Transport infrastructure including development of key deep water ports, and road and rail links to service the mining sector across SA
  • Addressing 'last mile' road access issues with critical upgrades and access improvements, and creating more rest facilities on high productivity vehicle routes for heavy vehicles across the state.

Murphy says state and commonwealth governments and the private sector also need to increase investment in the state’s freight and logistics infrastructure.

"We have raised the idea of toll roads as we acknowledge funding available to all governments for transport infrastructure spending is presently constrained by falling revenues and competing demands from other sectors," he says.

"Nonetheless, government at all three levels have a responsibility to facilitate investment in transport infrastructure and to set the appropriate investment environment which encourages private sector involvement where appropriate."

Murphy says toll roads are one option to quicken the pace of infrastructure delivery, and should be investigated as a priority.

"Road user charges are not new in Australia – particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – where road tolls are already in practice," he says.

"Tolls are accepted interstate and should undergo further serious examination for South Australia to ensure the projects we have identified are constructed.

The SA Freight Council also recommends the State Government:

  • Anticipate the need to expand capacity on key roads leading to and from mines – higher-capacity routes able to accommodate high productivity vehicles
  • Plan for population growth which will increase the demand for goods and services, and anticipate the impacts of price signalling through road pricing levers and the carbon tax by encouraging the use of larger, and more economical, safer and environmentally friendly heavy vehicles in the community
Mandate all structure plans adjacent to key freight corridors and facilities incorporate design details for

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