In­dus­try not so mad about truck bans

Toll caps to off­set bans

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

FUR­THER truck bans, toll caps and a sec­ond wind of in­vest­ment into a port-rail shut­tle have all been an­nounced as part of the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s plans to tackle con­ges­tion near the Mel­bourne port.

The ini­tia­tives are all cen­tred around the West Gate Tun­nel Project which is hoped to open up a suf­fi­cient freight route be­tween the free­way and the port with twin tun­nels un­der Yar­rav­ille.

Ul­ti­mately al­low­ing truck­ies to avoid 17 sets of traf­fic lights, while eas­ing con­ges­tion in the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Sur­pris­ingly, the sec­ond round of truck bans, one of the most con­tro­ver­sial mea­sures pro­posed by the An­drews Gov­ern­ment has been met with less con­fronta­tion than the first.

With the Vic­to­rian Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion and anti-con­ges­tion Maribyrnong Truck Ac­tion Group both pro­claim­ing their sup­port for the plan, when teamed with re­duced toll costs.

To im­prove freight use of the pro­posed tun­nel, the Gov­ern­ment will re­quire the tun­nel op­er­a­tor to set dis­counted shut­tle rates and cap max­i­mum daily tolls for trucks mak­ing mul­ti­ple trips through the tun­nel, as well as night time dis­counts.

VTA CEO Peter An­der­son said the as­so­ci­a­tion was pleased the Gov­ern­ment lis­tened to calls from the sec­tor.

“The trans­port in­dus­try has been hit with sub­stan­tial in­creases to tolls and in­fra­struc­ture costs at the Port of Mel­bourne this year, so it is en­cour­ag­ing that steps are be­ing taken by the Gov­ern­ment to en­sure heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors are not pe­nalised for us­ing toll roads.

“Whilst per­ma­nent 24/7 bans on trucks trav­el­ling through Black­shaws and Hud­sons Road form part of the an­nounce­ment, they will be more than off­set by the pro­duc­tiv­ity gains that will be re­alised from giv­ing op­er­a­tors a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive to use the West Gate Tun­nel,” Mr An­der­son said.

“The trade-off is also wel­come be­cause it demon­strates that the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment un­der­stands it can­not sim­ply take some­thing away from the in­dus­try with­out com­pen­sat­ing for it in some other way.

Maribyrnong Truck Ac­tion Group sec­re­tary Martin Wurt said they also sup­port the mea­sures.

“We have been hav­ing di­a­logue with the VTA for some time and we of­ten find we are on the same page look­ing for the same out­comes,” he ex­plained.

“They want proper freight routes for the in­dus­try to use and we want ap­pro­pri­ate truck routes away from res­i­den­tial streets for them to use aswell.

“Hav­ing trucks on ap­pro­pri­ate truck routes is a win-win for ev­ery­body, its is faster quicker routes, safer for ev­ery­body, and it also makes it safer for truck driv­ers.”

“The gov­ern­ment needs to be mak­ing it as easy as pos­si­ble and of­fer­ing in­cen­tives for the freight in­dus­try to be us­ing the new in­fra­struc­ture when it is in place.

The new bans will take up to 5000 trucks per day off lo­cal streets, adding to the more than 9000 re­moved by the bans al­ready an­nounced.

Ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est are also be­ing sought to de­liver the $58 mil­lion dol­lar freight rail project.

TIGHT SQUEEZE: Con­ges­tion on Mel­bourne roads con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem with­out suf­fi­cient freight routes.

Shar­ing the road is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult.

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