NSW toll review is a step towards a fairer system

Interim Report of the NSW Independent Toll Review, NSW toll review, NatRoad, Australian trucking tolls,

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The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has welcomed the Interim Report of the New South Wales Independent Toll Review, saying it is keen to work with its chair Professor Alan Fels on a fairer model for heavy vehicles.

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. 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 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).

NatRoad Chief Executive Officer Warren Clark said the Review confirmed the existing tolling system was both broken and unfair.

“The review has found road users will pay $123 billion in tolls up to 2060 in today’s dollars, which is well over and above the cost of the infrastructure,” Mr Clark said.

“The interim report lays out multiple problems with how tolls have been set and makes a key recommendation for IPART to provide pricing oversight.

“NatRoad has long argued for independent oversight of toll prices.”

Economic modelling in the interim report finds heavy vehicles would generally pay lower tolls overall, although some trips would cost more because of the proposed changes.

“We are certainly interested in speaking to Professor Fels about the proposed new Mid Class heavy vehicle category,” Mr Clark said.

“We are not opposed to network pricing in principle however there is a lot of detail in the interim report to work through.”

Mr 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,” Mr Clark said.

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