Road Tolls, Transport Industry News

NSW government outlines $123 billion tolls goal

The NSW government says it is offering motorists transparency on the future of the state's tolls.

New modelling by NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW has established Sydney motorists will be paying a minimum $123 billion in tolls by 2060 

The NSW government is following through on its election promise to tell drivers what the total toll burden will be over the coming four decades before existing contracts expire. 

Thcommitment comes after long-standing public discussion regarding the privatised Sydney toll road network and the increasing costs to motorists.  

The toll bill includes revenues to privatised toll road concessions, such as the entire WestConnex system, NorthConnex, the Eastern Distributor, M2 and M7, but also the NSW government-owned Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel, as well as the future M6 Stage 1.

The toll bill from WestConnex alone is $64 billion out to 2060. 

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey says NSW residents deserve to have transparency with its government.  

“The people of NSW deserve to know what they have been signed up to under privatised contracts and especially so when we are talking about multi-decade bills for everyone who drives a vehicle in Sydney,” says Mookhey. 

“By providing this Treasury toll modelling publicly, we are making good on our transparency agenda just as we are seeking to let people know what is contained in privatised contracts over ports and electricity networks and generators.” 

The government has recently introduced a $60 weekly toll cap to begin on January to ease the cost-of-living impacts of tolls on an estimated 720,000 drivers who pay the most. 

The Allan Fels-led independent Tolling Review is also tasked with advising the NSW government how to bring more equity to the system, particularly for people in Western Sydney who have fewer public transport options and cannot avoid higher weekly toll bills. 

Roads minister John Graham says this has been a long time coming.  

“I said before we came to government that toll costs should not be kept hidden. As of now, they are no longer a state secret,” Graham says. 

“You can’t even get a mobile phone contract without being told the minimum payment and yet NSW motorists have been signed up to more than $100 billion in toll costs without any disclosure under the former coalition government. 

“A 30-year-old driver today will reach retirement age before some existing toll contracts expire, which is why it is critical we let the light shine in here and debate the merits and the long-term costs of how our tolling system is structured.” 

The NSW Treasury used a long-term inflation rate of 2.5 per cent and projected population growth in NSW to create the baseline minimum toll burden. 

The figures are the total potential tolls paid by motorists and do not reflect the running costs, maintenance and financing charges borne by operators. 

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