oooo...This will start a debate. Im not that anywhere in the world has their rural highway tolled. Tolls should be used in places where PT is an option as well. Government should be funding this completely :bash:
User-pays for speedy upgrade
Andrew West, NSW political reporter
March 22, 2005
CHARGING motorists a toll to travel on the Pacific Highway could raise enough extra money to complete the building of a dual carriageway between Sydney and Brisbane within seven years.
Federal Transport Minister John Anderson, who on Sunday floated the idea of user-pays on Australia's busiest highway, yesterday said the cost of such major improvements could reach at least $5billion.
Under the commonwealth-state funding system, it could take up to 25 years to complete the dual carriageway. But a toll on parts of the highway could raise between $2.7billion and $3billion, providing enough money to dramatically speed up improvements.
"I don't think you could do it in under five to seven years," said Mr Anderson. "But that would be a nice target."
The NSW and federal governments are about to commit to another four-year round of funding, worth a combined $320million a year, with Canberra increasing its contribution from the current $60million a year to $160million.
NSW Roads Minister Michael Costa said he was "happy to keeping talking with Canberra about upgrading to get a dual carriageway from Newcastle to the Queensland border".
Federal and state transport officials are working out more details of the proposed toll and Mr Anderson expects to have a "firm proposal" within three months.
"Between the federal and state governments, we're going to spend a lot more money on (the Pacific Highway) over the next few years," Mr Anderson said. "But it's such a major piece of infrastructure and the cost is escalating so rapidly.
"If we could do it the right way, with more innovative funding, involving direct and indirect tolling, and a combination of government financing, we might be able to build it much more quickly and spread the benefits over several generations in a more efficient and equitable way."
The federal Government's main argument in favour of a toll -- besides the desire to speed up the improvements -- is that current taxpayers are paying the entire bill for a major project that will last many generations.
"The reality is that this particular piece of engineering is so big and complicated, and frankly, will swallow up so much taxpayers' money," Mr Anderson said.
"It doesn't seem unreasonable that those who benefit most from the use might be given the opportunity to contribute a little bit more."
The federal Bureau of Transport Economics predicts freight volume on the Pacific Highway will more than double in the next 20 years.
The trucking industry has rejected the idea of a special toll for its members, saying all motorists using the highway should contribute equally. But the Government argues that a levy would pay for such dramatic improvements that, in the long term, freight companies would save much more money on fuel and travel time.
Mr Anderson also favours a plan to remove the toll after it has raised enough to cover construction costs.
What about in France and Italy? They have tolls on all motorways there. To drive the equivalent of the Pacific Highway (Sydney-Brisbane) in France would cost you around $30.Q-TIP said:oooo...This will start a debate. Im not that anywhere in the world has their rural highway tolled. Tolls should be used in places where PT is an option as well. Government should be funding this completely :bash:
Oh sorry, i meant rural highways. ^ Although, do you agree with introducing a toll?sirhc8 said:What about in France and Italy? They have tolls on all motorways there. To drive the equivalent of the Pacific Highway (Sydney-Brisbane) in France would cost you around $30.
Though, i like the idea of opening up the country to population, but a freeway standard road thru here would be more expensive due to terrain of the Moonbi Hills north of Tamworth and the climb from Armidale (950m asl) to Brisbane. Though something like the Adelaide Hills tunnel will do the trick from the Moonbi side.Me_Simon said:hmm a toll along the highway after the initial shock, i guess its one way to raise funds for it.....anyone up for brisbane -> sydney via new england hwy?
Minister defends toll for Pacific Highway
FEDERAL Transport Minister John Anderson has defended a proposed charge on Pacific Highway motorists, despite claims that other capital city road links have been built toll-free.
Motoring groups have condemned a proposal to charge motorists a toll for travelling between Brisbane and Sydney as a method of fast-tracking the Pacific Highway's upgrade to dual carriageway.
They argue other major links between capital cities and large centres, such as the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne, have been funded out of government coffers so a Pacific Highway toll would be unfair.
Other major links undertaken in recent years without tolls include the Federal Highway from Sydney to Canberra, the M1 from Gold Coast to Brisbane and the F3 from Sydney to Newcastle.
Leading infrastructure and toll-road operators have told the NSW and federal governments the remaining two-thirds of the Pacific could be delivered up to 20 years earlier if charges were introduced.
Already more than $2 billion has been spent upgrading the key link.
But the remaining section will cost up to $7 billion and take 25 years to complete despite a new joint-funding agreement between NSW and Canberra.
A spokesman for Mr Anderson said yesterday the Minister was not against tolls on other parts of the national network.
But he said the Pacific Highway was more urgent because the current time frame to deliver a safer dual carriageway was unacceptable.
"We are talking about infrastructure that is going to be used for decades, if not centuries, to come," the spokesman said.
"There is an argument that you can bring forward now, get the benefit now and pay for it over a longer period of time."
But RACQ economics and public policy manager Ken Willett yesterday said the Federal Government would be double-dipping by charging tolls.
Mr Willett said the Commonwealth returned just 16 per cent of the $14 billion a year it collected in fuel excise.
"(The Federal Government) has decided it has higher priorities for the 84 per cent of fuel excise that goes elsewhere."
Mr Willett said the Government, if allowed, would continue to use tolls on other needy road sections.
"The next thing we could hear is that we have got some dangerous areas on the Bruce Highway and they could bring that forward by putting tolls on it," he said.
The NSW and federal governments are expected to announce a joint $1.6 billion five year spending program for the Pacific route. They are also considering direct and so-called "shadow" tolls where governments agree to pay a private road builder for the use of their road by certain traffic types.
Mr Anderson has indicated he would want locals using the Pacific Highway for short trips to travel toll-free.
Tolling experts say e-tags or number-plate recognition could be used on the highway.
www.newstates.netGMAC said:Since when is Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Tweed Heads, Port Macquarie, Grafton or Taree part of New England, and since when is New England a state?
30 dollars is cheap.sirhc8 said:What about in France and Italy? They have tolls on all motorways there. To drive the equivalent of the Pacific Highway (Sydney-Brisbane) in France would cost you around $30.
I guess that helps to explain why the trains are so popular over there...Nick said:30 dollars is cheap.
The same distance in Japan would cost just over 200 US dollars.
I currently use the expressway between Wakayama city and Osaka.The cost is 25 US Dollars for the 80km trip.Crazy!!!!