Nexus. Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.
Nexus. Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.

Don't waste Toowoomba Second Range Crossing: QTA

QUEENSLAND Trucking Association boss Gary Mahon wants the state government to base its toll price assumptions on "real world practice", urging them not to "waste" the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.

"The TSRC is a terrific potential road network if you price the toll as value for money," Mr Mahon said.

"The government should base their assumptions on real world practice. Business cases for major infrastructure are not a 'big dreaming'. No forecast of traffic numbers on any road asset has got close to reality."

Mr Mahon's comments come after a report surfaced that the toll announcement delay was due to incorrect road usage forecasts.

Gary Mahon, CEO of Queensland Trucking Association.
Gary Mahon, CEO of Queensland Trucking Association.

The 2012 business case for the TSRC, calculated by the previous Newman State Government, had the toll costing $5.70 for light commercial vehicles, $22.85 for heavy vehicles and $34.25 for a new toll category called super heavy vehicles, which includes b-doubles.

Mr Mahon said they didn't want a repeat of the CLEM 7.

"This tunnel is an important link in the network that has only experienced 1.5 per cent growth year on year since 2011," he said.

"It currently operates at about 23 per cent of original capacity forecasts. Why? Because the toll price is not value for money.

"The Gateway toll average for heavy vehicles is 52 cents per kilometre and Logan Motorway at 31 cents per kilometre. 

"The class 4 toll includes all trucks and combinations above 4-5 tonne. 

"Multiple trailers reduce truck trips and are not super heavy, they run the same weights on all their axles.

Mr Mahon said the road freight industry paid $204 million in tolls last year in Queensland and ultimately that flowed through to household cost of living. 

He said since 2011, heavy vehicle use of toll roads (excluding Clem7) has grown 4.4 percent year on year with the daily number of truck trips being 44,243. 

"These increase in usage rates are being experienced because it is value for money," he said.

"Regional communities shouldn't pay more than the south east.  The class 4 toll applied in the South East is the standard. 

"That sets the price for all trucks and multiple combinations. 

"Set a value for money toll and it will attract maximum use.  Don't waste the bypass.  Don't repeat the Clem7 experience."

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey told Big Rigs that the LNP signed the 2012 deal based on massively over-estimated numbers of trucks and cars that would use the new road.

"These prices would hurt the freight industry so I will be briefing key industry stakeholders before we announce final details on tolling arrangements, along with the opening date for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing."

Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts addresses the media in Mt Lofty.
Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts addresses the media in Mt Lofty. Tom Gillespie

But Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts said it was "shameful" of the minister to blame a seven-year-old business case for his "blatant refusal to release the toll charges".

"The business case for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing should have been updated since 2012 to account for these changes and to ensure the ongoing maintenance costs and needs of the project could be catered for without passing exorbitant costs on to the taxpayer. 

"The Minister has failed in his responsibility to conduct due diligence for this billion-dollar project."