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SARTA backs the right sort of tolls

Give operators savings and they can help pay for new road infrastructure, Shearer says

May 29, 2012

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) has come out in favour of properly pitched truck road tolls to help fund crucial road infrastructure in the state.

The South Australian industry was happy to pay its share if tolls were priced at just below the savings to operators to be made from the improvements, SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer told ABC Radio.

In doing so, he gave former premier Mike Rann a backhander for ignoring tolls for political reasons but says, with Rann gone, there is an opportunity for his successor, Jay Weatherill, to revisit the idea.

Shearer’s intervention was opposed immediately by a caller who says he is a truck driver and that the industry did not need tolls that would merely line the pockets of infrastructure financiers such as Macquarie.

But he was supported by another who says he would be “more than happy to pay five bucks a shot, no worries at all” rather than travel the extra 30km that he must do now to avoid congestion.

Meanwhile, Shearer reveals that there are tensions between his organisation and Transport Minister Pat Conlon.

“It’s a little hard to say anything to the government at the moment because Pat Conlon, quite frankly, has got the shits up with us because of our strong campaign against
increased registration, so he’s put the shutters up,” Shearer says.

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