Push for capping as road trips take a toll
Mayors send a message to State Government on costs of driving
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.