MOTORISTS will join freight operators in paying the Roe Highway road toll if Infrastructure Australia has its way.
At Wednesday’s Senate inquiry into the controversial Perth Freight Link, held in Fremantle, IA boss Philip Davies revealed his organisation had written to the Barnett government to suggest the move, but hadn’t heard back.
Mr Davies said IA believes rights to the revenue stream could be sold to the private sector.
Premier Colin Barnett has previously told the Herald the toll won’t be extended under his government. What happens after that is for future governments to decide.
Federal public servant Roland Pittar revealed WA Main Roads had indicated a toll in the order of 30c per kilometre for trucks as a preliminary estimate. That would pay the project off over 30 years.
Earlier in the day mayors from Fremantle, East Fremantle and Cockburn reiterated their support for the development of an outer harbour.
However, Mr Pittar (above) countered the state had a huge investment in Fremantle’s port, which still had the capacity to grow and should be supported through the development of the freight link.
He said further development of Fremantle’s port, including private investment, would help strengthen the case for another port.
He stressed that the infrastructure and regional development department had not engaged in anything other than broad discussions with the WA government over the issue.
Palmyra resident Tania Smirke wept as she described the uncertainty her family faced, with WA transport minister Dean Nalder weighing up whether to resume her house or tunnel under Fremantle. Neither Mr Nalder nor Main Roads attended the hearing, which had been established by Labor and Greens senators with the support of cross-benchers.
Representatives from a raft of environmental and Aboriginal groups expressed their opposition to the project.
Several WA senators on the committee quizzed Mr Pittar on the fact the link fell short of reaching the port, ending at the Canning Hwy intersection with Stirling Bridge.
At first he denied there would be any resulting traffic snarls on the bridge, but later acknowledged they were anticipated.
Melville council stated its case that the link would reduce local truck traffic and increase road safety.
by STEVE GRANT