ATA CEO Christopher Melham says road funding models are already skewed against truck operators and new road funding schemes need to be explored.
With the ATA saying that trucks are already paying too much, new road funding schemes are necessary as user pay roads are expected to increase the cost recovery of public roads.
The Australian Financial Review’s National Infrastructure Summit is looking for new road funding schemes so that the trucking industry doesn’t suffer further cost hikes.
User-pay systems for roads and infrastructure are seriously required, speakers at the National Infrastructure Summit have advised.
Mr Melham said heavy vehicle operators are already paying more than what’s fair for road building maintenance costs through their contribution to fuel tax and registration charges.
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In a post on Fullyloaded.com.au Mr Melham, says that these mechanisms are underestimating the number of trucks on the road to the expense of the industry. He was quoted as saying,
“Issues with the charging system mean that truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $117 million in 2015-16,” he says.
“The National Transport Commission has already put forward options to solve this problem, which should be implemented as soon as possible.”
The need for new road funding models is obvious, with Assistant minister for infrastructure Jamie Briggs expressing his opinion that Australia is well behind the rest of the world when it comes to cost recovery for infrastructure projects. He called for the reconstruction of arrangements around funding and provisions for road transport.
Mr Briggs explained:
“Road transport is one of the last major areas of our economy that remains ‘unreconstructed’,” he told the Sydney conference.
“Institutional arrangements around funding and provision remain much the same as they were a generation ago.”
Infrastructure Australia chairman Mark Birrell said transport infrastructure projects will have to depend more on non-government funding sources. He said that the transport sector will need to follow the example of the telecommunication and energy industries, who have moved away from their reliance on government funding,
“We believe [the transport sector] needs to get off that drip as soon as it can, in the same way that telecommunications and energy have.”