NTC flags incremental pricing for heavy trucks

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has launched a feasibility study of incremental pricing for heavy vehicles, which may allow trucks to carry heavier loads in return for paying higher access fees to pay for additional road damage caused.
In other words, incremental pricing allows transport operators to carry additional mass above national regulated limits by paying the asset owner (i.e. road agencies, councils) for the extra road wear and tear.
“Incremental pricing will deliver increased productivity and fewer trucks on the road for the same freight task, resulting in lower freight rates, better safety and fewer transport emissions,” said NTC Acting Chief Executive Meena Naidu.
“It could also help target infrastructure investment to fix ‘last mile’ bottlenecks, which strangle productivity.”
Ms Naidu said results of an NTC-commissioned survey showed reasonably strong support from industry to carry additional mass and a willingness to pay for this option.
Broad interest was shown across all industry sectors, truck types and routes, particularly with machinery, cars and trucks, petroleum and grocery carriers.
Key issues addressed in the feasibility study include:
  • Ensuring the safety of the vehicle (e.g. linking with relevant Performance Based Standards).
  • Assessing existing infrastructure capacity.
  • Setting the price.
  • Choosing an appropriate monitoring system.
  • Directing revenue back into the roads used.
The study also builds on the work done by Queensland, New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian state governments in progressing incremental pricing trials.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) said it “does not support incremental pricing; trucking operators would inevitably end up paying for road access we have now.”
Incremental pricing is a major component of the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) road pricing reform agenda to deliver increased productivity with better links between road use and funding.
Public comment on the feasibility study is sought until 27 February 2009. You can download the report here: Incremental Pricing Feasibility Study
NTC will also be holding stakeholder focus groups in late February/early March 2009. Expressions of interest to attend, including an outline of issues you wish to discuss, should be forwarded to Matthew Clarke, senior manager economics at mclarke@ntc.gov.au.

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