Push for cap­ping as road trips take a toll

May­ors send a mes­sage to State Gov­ern­ment on costs of driv­ing

Penrith Press - - NEWS - Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

FAM­I­LIES should not be fur­ther bur­dened by road tolls and have to pay to live in western Syd­ney, a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry has heard.

Black­town and Pen­rith may­ors Stephen Bali and John Thain called for the cap­ping of costs and a stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of road tolling when they spoke in front of the NSW Up­per House in­quiry about the is­sue in Pen­rith last week.

For Pen­rith, the rein­tro­duc­tion of the M4 toll has been a “hot topic”. Due to open this year, Cr Thain said the now free road would cost res­i­dents $6500 a year, on top of their petrol and reg­is­tra­tion costs.

He said two out of three res­i­dents left the area for work and en­dured the peakhour traf­fic, start­ing as early as St Clair.

“A com­mu­nity with poor pub­lic trans­port ser­vices and low job den­sity should be com­pen­sated. We also pro­pose the newly widened sec­tion of the M4 should not be set up for toll charge,” he said.

“Widen­ing this sec­tion, which has been a park­ing lot for decades, should be con­sid­ered busi­ness as usual for the Gov­ern­ment.”

Cr Bali said the re­gion re­quired “free-flow­ing, ac­ces­si­ble road­ways as well as

pub­lic trans­port” and it was crit­i­cal roads were af­ford­able. He said low toll prices needed to be con­sid­ered for so­cially dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas, home to peo­ple al­ready fac­ing long travel times and the loss of “much­needed fam­ily time”.

“House­hold in­comes in western Syd­ney are gen­er­ally lower than the eastern se­aboard of Syd­ney,” he said. “The dis­tance-based toll ... would have a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on the dis­pos­able in­come of fam­i­lies.”

He said the tolling sys­tem “un­fairly tar­gets” those least likely to af­ford it, and urged the state to fol­low Mel­bourne, which has cap­ping.

Cr Bali said in the past year, toll prices soared 4 per cent, well above the na­tional Con­sumer Price In­dex and na­tional wage in­crease, of 1.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent re­spec­tively.

“It’s not un­rea­son­able to ask for a weekly cap to be ap­plied to the Syd­ney toll roads,” he said.

Traf­fic con­ges­tion on the M4 at the site of the old toll gates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.