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Transport magnate takes stance against toll price hike

A planned toll increase on Melbourne’s CityLink has prompted transport company Linfox to assess alternative routes, according to The Herald Sun.

The newspaper revealed today that Linfox founder, Lindsay Fox, made his opposition on the price hike known to Transurban Chief Executive, Scott Charlton, who is in charge of the CityLink road.

The toll increase on heavy vehicles would lift some daily CityLink fees from about $12 to more than $26 from 1 April, with Transurban hoping it will help fund the still ongoing CityLink-Tulla widening project.

Linfox’ critique is thought to be based on the fact that there will be no change to the toll cars and other passenger vehicles pay, with trucking forced to cover the balance before the project is finished and able to provide measurable time savings.

“It is understood Mr Charlton stood firm on the issue, saying state and federal governments had endorsed the price changes as part of the $1.3 billion Tulla widening deal struck in 2014,” The Herald Sun said.

“But Transurban is willing to help Linfox analyse logistics such as the timing of trips, in a bid to keep trucks on CityLink.”

Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, commented:  “Trucking rates are being brought into line with other states and territories — Vic­Roads and Transurban have been working with the freight industry over the last two years to ensure they had time to adjust.”

In line with Fox’ sentiment, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), has put the pressure on key government, industry and other stakeholders to reinforce the need for fairness and equity around user charges for heavy vehicles.

“Unfortunately, the new CityLink pricing discriminates against the heavy vehicle industry compared to other road users, and is dependent upon the ‘industry’ passing on what can only be described as dramatic cost increases to remain viable,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.

“The VTA continues to have discussions with Transurban and the Victorian Government about this sensitive issue, and is pressing for a range of measures to incentivise heavy vehicles to use privately operated tolled roads – especially in relation to the Western Distributor, where we are proposing multi-user discounts and rebates to offset mooted curfews and bans in the inner west."

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