The Victorian Government’s decision to ban heavy vehicles from roads in Melbourne’s inner-west from 2022 has attracted the ire of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
Less than a week after the VTA praised the government for lifting a 12-month trial of night curfews that banned trucks with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of greater than 4.5 tonnes operating in Melbourne’s north-east (28 March 2017), the Victorian Government announced a new ban on heavy vehicles in Melbourne’s inner-west.
The latest move will “put additional pressure on an industry already under financial attack from disproportionate CityLink toll increases, higher registration and user charges and razor thin operating margins,” says VTA’s chief executive officer Peter Anderson.
The State Government declared that when the $5.5 billion Western Distributor road project opens in five years’ time, trucks will be banned from using key suburban streets in Melbourne’s inner-west.
This will force heavy vehicle operators to pay a toll to access the Port of Melbourne.
The Western Distributor tunnels will provide an alternative river crossing to the West Gate Bridge, however, the project will be tolled.
“Freight operators already shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure, and [this] announcement forces them to use a road that has yet to be built, and whose user costs have yet to be established,” said Mr Anderson.
“We presented the government with a number of alternative ways to reduce truck movements on local streets without increasing costs to operators and the supply chain, and regrettably they were ignored.”
Recently, CityLink tolls for heavy vehicles increased by as much as 125%.
As mentioned above, VicRoads has increased GVM thresholds that apply to night truck curfews on roads in the north-east of Melbourne from 4.5 tonnes to 16.5 tonnes.
As a result of the change, all heavy vehicles less than 16.5 GVM will be able to access affected roads during the 10pm to 6am curfew period.
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