Toll an option to fund second Toowoomba range

Queensland LNP politician flags toll as possible solution to meet funding shortfall for a second Toowoomba range

By Brad Gardner | February 13, 2013

A Queensland MP pushing for a second range crossing in Toowoomba has flagged tolls as a funding option because money the federal Coalition has committed will not be enough.

Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts is advocating a second range to allow trucks to bypass the city. During a recent meeting organised by Toowoomba Council and attended by mayors, federal politicians and business people, Opposition spokesman on Transport Warren Truss told attendees the Coalition is committed to spending $700 million on the project.

"This is a substantial contribution, but there will still need to be other contributions either via a toll or maybe a state contribution," Watts says.

He says a second range is the only solution to remove the growing number of trucks travelling through Toowoomba.

"At the moment 26,000 vehicles travel along this road a day, up to 6,000 of which are heavy goods vehicles. They pass 20 and 30 metres from people’s front doors. The livability of Toowoomba is being destroyed by these heavy goods vehicles servicing the Surat Basin," Watts says.

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson last month announced a second range crossing for the Toowoomba was at the top of a list of infrastructure items the state wants the Federal Government to fund.

Emerson says he will deliver the list of projects, which includes more money for the Bruce Highway, to Labor and the Coalition during this year’s federal election.

The Coalition during the 2010 election campaign pledged $700 million to build the bypass. According to a government-commissioned report on the cost and benefit of the second crossing, the project will cost $1.75 billion to build.

The Toowoomba Bypass Project Business Case report says the figure is based on construction starting between 2010 and 2013. The report says the price will rise by about $100 million each year the project is delayed.

The report says mandating a toll of $15.02 for rigid trucks and $20.61 for multi-combination vehicles will reduce government expenditure costs to $1.4 billion.

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