NSW toll review a step closer to fairer system for trucks, say peak bodies

toll review

Peak trucking bodies are hopeful that a comprehensive independent review into the NSW tolling system will pave the way for cheaper trips for trucking operators using the state’s toll roads on a daily basis.

The review recommends a system that would put a declining distance per-kilometre charge at the heart of all toll pricing and tolling some sections of the network that are currently free.

It calls for a trial of flexible pricing including peak/off-peak pricing with a focus on freight operators and recommends the introduction of a new toll truck category, mid-class heavy vehicles, to further incentivise the use of toll roads.

The mid-class heavy vehicles would be tolled at two times the rate for light vehicles, instead of the three times multiplier, applying to Class B trucks.

The review also wants a new entity, State TollCo, to be established. The entity would be designed to set future toll prices reviewed by the NSW Independent Pricing and Remuneration Tribunal (IPART).

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) CEO Simon O’Hara said the inquiry, led by Professor Allan Fels, had echoed parts of the RFNSW submission and ongoing calls for reforms which would lead to a fairer, more transparent tolling network.

“We are pleased that RFNSW had the opportunity to present to the inquiry and outline our members’ daily experiences of what it’s really like using toll roads every day – and the significant financial impacts it has on their business operations,” O’Hara said.

“RFNSW has long-urged consecutive NSW governments to consider a range of tolling options for heavy vehicles which use toll roads more regularly than other vehicles, so that we ensure costs and benefits of toll roads are better aligned and that we end-up with a fairer deal for truck operators already struggling with rising costs, fees and charges.”

O’Hara said RFNSW agrees with Fels’ findings that current tolls lack fairness and that there’s a lack of transparency generally in toll setting.

“However, we reject other submissions that trucking operators should pay higher tolls in a cost of living crisis and would suggest that truckies have been paying more than their fair share for some time. We concur with Professor Fels that freight operators should not bear a disproportionate share of the costs.”

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said the review confirmed the existing tolling system was broken and unfair.

Clark said NatRoad was pleased the review acknowledges the need to incentivise heavy vehicles to use tollways which was a key part of its submission.

“It recommends a trial so it’s a start,” Clark said.

“Flexible pricing for trucks is a no-brainer if you want to incentivise them onto toll roads and off suburban streets.”

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