Between now and 2060, Sydney motorists are expected to spend at least a whopping $123 billion in tolls – with the WestConnex accounting for more than half the spend.
Sydney’s exorbitant tolls have earned it the unofficial title of “the most tolled city in the world”.
The eye-watering figure of anticipated spend comes from new modelling by NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW.
It includes revenues to privatised toll road concessions, including the entire WestConnex system, NorthConnex, the Eastern Distributor, M2 and M7; along with the NSW Government-owned Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel, as well as the future M6 Stage 1.
Treasury has used a most conservative set of assumptions, including a long-term inflation rate of 2.5 per cent and projected population growth in NSW, to create the baseline minimum toll burden.
The figures are the total potential tolls paid by motorists and do not reflect the running costs, maintenance and financing charges borne by operators.
“I said before we came to government that toll costs should not be kept hidden. As of today, they are no longer a state secret,” said Minister for Roads John Graham.
“You can’t even get a mobile phone contract without being told the minimum payment and yet NSW motorists have been signed up to more than $100 billion in toll costs without any disclosure.”
Calls for reform to help drive down cost of tolls are ongoing, with truckies being hit especially hard by expensive toll fees.
From January 1, trucks will receive a rebate for a third of their trip travelled on the M5 East and M8 as part of a two-year trial.
Motorists will also receive toll relief, with a $60 weekly toll cap designed to ease cost of living impacts of tolls for an estimated 720,000 drivers.
“Tolls particularly continue to make it difficult for truckies to be able to make ends meet,” CEO of Road Freight NSW (RfNSW), Simon O’Hara, told 10News.
He said that truckies need to be incentivised onto toll roads with either a reduction of tolls or through registration relief, adding that RfNSW has made a submission to the NSW Government’s Independent Toll Review led by Professor Allan Fels AO, which considers possible toll reforms.
The review is also tasked with advising the NSW Government on ways to bring more equity to the system, particularly for people in Western Sydney who have fewer public transport options and cannot avoid higher weekly toll bills.