Barnett Government to introduce WA’s first Toll Road
What they promised
‘So I want to make it clear … we will not introduce toll roads into Western Australia. I think the public needs to know that.’- Parliament 13 June 2012
What they say now
‘A Heavy Vehicle User Charge – a per kilometre charge on heavy vehicles only for the freight route between Muchea and Fremantle – is planned to start once the road is finished’- Government Media Statement 17 December 2014
22 Dec 2014 - The Liberal Government has announced the first toll road for WA. This comes just 2 years after the Premier had emphatically ruled it out prior to the last State election. The toll will apply in the first instance to heavy vehicles using the ‘Perth Freight Link’ from Muchea in the Wheatbelt to Fremantle. .
The decision to introduce a toll on the Perth Freight Link (PFL) breaks a commitment given by the Premier in the WA Parliament. In making the announcement the Government has failed to release a detail business plan supporting the proposal.
The PFL was announced as part of the Abbott Government's Federal budget. In the same budget $500million was stripped from urban rail priorities in the WA.
Gareth Parker in Inside State in the West Australian notes the following:
The Government says any user charge will be less than the benefit that the trucking industry receives in terms of time, fuel, maintenance and safety standards, but the devil - as always - is in the detail.
As usual the Government has refused to release the assumptions underpinning its business case, citing commercial sensitivities.
He then goes on to conclude
So we left with no choice but to treat the Government's 2.8-1 cost benefit ratio with scepticism. West Australian p61
Discussing future infrastructure plans for WA, Transport Minister Dean Nalder has flagged more toll roads in the future for WA. When asked about tolls for every-day drivers, not just the heavy vehicles subject to the Perth Freight link charge he responded that tolls were “one of the elements that had to be debated in the future.”