TOLLS should be introduced on the West Gate Bridge to build transport projects and save Melbourne from further traffic chaos.
The toll suggestion from Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington comes as Premier Ted Baillieu claims his proposed East West Link is the answer to future proofing Melbourne – though he refuses to offer details of what the project will cost or when it can be delivered.
Sir Rod said the reintroduction of tolls on the West Gate Bridge could help solve Melbourne’s commuter crisis…
While it was a “difficult issue politically”, Sir Rod said the reintroduction of tolls would provide a “capital flow” to reinvest in additional freeways or road tunnels.
“How do you pay for something which provides some duplication to the West Gate?” he said.
“Well one of the ways you could pay for it is to contemplate the reintroduction of tolls onto the West Gate.”
But Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the State Government had “no plans” to introduce West Gate tolls to pay for construction of the two projects it believes will solve Melbourne’s transport woes: the East West Tunnel and the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel…
The Melbourne Metro tunnel is hoped to run 9km from Footscray to South Yarra with five new underground stations to carry an extra 25,000 passengers each hour.
Traffic gridlock of the West Gate Bridge yesterday after the closure of the Burnley and Domain tunnels. Picture: Derrick Den Hollander Source: Herald Sun
Mr Baillieu used yesterday’s chaos to pressure the Federal Government to provide funding.
“Ultimately this does reinforce the case for a second river crossing and we are committed to it,” Mr Baillieu said.
“We need to get on with the planning of these projects and get on with their delivery – that’s what the people Victoria want and today just reminds us how crucial the development of these projects will be.”
Melbourne was plunged into gridlock at the same time the NSW Government unveiled a 20-year, $30 billion transport strategy.
Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman Richard Clancy said the disaster highlighted the need for an East West link.
“We need another link that stretches across town. This highlights that we are too point sensitive on the Monash Freeway and the tunnels,” he said.
– with Amelia Harris