The Andrews Labor government will introduce new West Gate Tunnel incentives to stop rat runs throughout Melbourne’s western suburbs, following plans for a North East Link tollway.
The Labor government has reported that it will require the West Gate Tunnel operator to set discounted shuttle rates, night time discounts and cap maximum daily tolls for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel to improve freight productivity and reduce costs.
The project will, reportedly, directly link the West Gate Freeway to the Port with twin tunnels under Yarraville, and optimise fleet routes by avoiding 17 sets of traffic lights.
Trucks with a local origin or destination in the area will be exempt from the truck bans, according to Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan.
“This is a win for the whole community – quieter, safer streets for the inner west and cheaper, more efficient port access for the transport industry, said Donnellan. “By providing a dedicated route to the port, the West Gate Tunnel project will take thousands of trucks off local roads in the inner west. Without the Tunnel there can be no truck bans.”
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the government’s West Gate Tunnel toll incentives.
“We are pleased that the Victorian government has listened to the VTA’s consistent calls for heavy vehicle operators to be incentivised to use toll roads like the West Gate Tunnel,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.
“The transport industry has been hit with substantial increases to tolls and infrastructure costs at the Port of Melbourne this year, so it is encouraging that steps are being taken by the government to ensure heavy vehicle operators are not penalised for using toll roads.
“Whilst permanent 24/7 bans on trucks travelling through Blackshaws and Hudsons Road form part of today’s announcement, they will be more than offset by the productivity gains that will be realised from giving operators a financial incentive to use the West Gate Tunnel.
“The trade-off is also welcome because it demonstrates that the Victorian government understands it cannot simply take something away from the industry without compensating for it in some other way.
“In this case, there will be new restrictions on trucks using certain roads, however the benefits that will flow from incentivising them to use the toll road is ample compensation, and is the kind of thinking that must be applied to other situations where the industry is asked to make substantial sacrifices.”