Tuesday, 28 February 2017 12:12

Message from the President: Bell tolls for road funding

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali. WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali.

Tolls have been on the agenda this month with submissions for a Parliamentary Inquiry into tolls closing on February 28th.

WSROC is certainly welcoming of the inquiry, following our calls for a review into Sydney’s toll network last year, however WSROC would like to see the inquiry consider more than just transparency of various road use charges.

There is no doubt that we should look at why motorists travelling along the M2 should pay three or four times more than someone travelling the same distance along the M5.

However, this inquiry is an opportunity to drive a smarter transport network for Greater Sydney. One that considers the interaction between various modes of transport, and reflects the way commuters actually use the system.

The current model of uncapped, distance-based tolling puts the greatest burden on long-distance commuters who have little to no public transport alternative; such as residents of outer Western Sydney.

This presents major equity issues for our region, and the impacts of this need to be thoroughly investigated.

We all understand there is a need to fund transport infrastructure, however Western Sydney residents have been subsidising the provision of public transport in inner-Sydney for years. They should not now be punished for their poor access to this public transport.

Demand-based tolling is one option that could be considered, particularly in areas where public transport is readily available, and where a modal switch can easily be made,” said Cr Bali.

Another possibility could see sharing of data between toll road operators and government, allowing a daily network cap to be applied for private motorists.

Nobody will argue that the tolling arrangements on Sydney’s motorway network are due for review however, we need to be considering a more innovative approach.

This inquiry is the perfect opportunity to consider a broader, more innovative range of pricing models, and consider how these models will interact with Sydney’s public transport network.

WSROC will be making a submission on the basis of equity, incorporating the feedback we have received from our members and will continue to advocate for a fairer pricing system for Sydney’s transport network.

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 February 2017 16:38