The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is calling for a fairer go for truckies on NSW’s toll roads.
In its submission to the NSW Tolling Inquiry, NatRoad has lodged an eight-point “log of claims”.
It includes calls to slash the cost recovery “toll multiplier” between cars and trucks from three-times to two-times, exemptions for Euro VI or zero emissions heavy vehicles and toll discounts for off-peak or multiple journeys.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says tolls on heavy vehicles on most of the privately-operated network are set using a “three times the cost of passenger cars” multiplier.
“It’s simply too much and the multiplier is well above the cost of road upkeep and damage incurred by trucks,” Clark said.
“There is no priority placed on transport planning outcomes and creating liveable urban communities by seeking to incentivise goods movement on motorways.
“There is no understanding of commercial realities – higher tolls on trucks are justified by claims of the higher value of time savings, which do not stack up to scrutiny.”
Clark said the lesson of the pandemic and related supply chain crisis was that trucking is an essential industry.
“Private toll road operators (with government agreement) are directly contributing to making a difficult business environment even worse, with impacts on the viability and safety of small business operators,” he said.
NatRoad’s recommendations for the NSW Government are:
- Set a truck toll multiplier cap of two times the light vehicle toll and move all new tolling concessions and variations to this pricing principle.
- For existing toll road concessions, the Government should expand their election commitment to reduce the multiplier to two times on the M5 East and M8 to other parts of the tolling network.
- Introduce a lower variable truck toll rate to incentivise off-peak journeys.
- Introduce discounts for multiple truck toll journeys.
- Rule out the introduction of a four or five times truck toll multiplier.
- Exempt zero emission heavy vehicles from the truck toll multiplier and implement a 1.5 times multiplier for Euro VI heavy vehicles, incentivising a low and zero emission future.
- Consult on regulatory options for requiring the customers of road freight operators to pay for tolls, when incurred, in addition to the cost of the freight transport service.
- Establish an independent regulator to assess and approve new and varied tolling concessions and their pricing arrangements for road users.