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Old 12-18-2001, 17:33   #1 (permalink)
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Toll increase on Sydney Harbour Bridge

From SMH.

Quote:
Drivers bitten to fund bush roads
March 1932: Toll collectors take sixpence (5c) from the first motorists to cross the bridge, and (below), the snarl today.

By Robert Wainwright, State Political Correspondent

Spending on country roads will take the lion's share of revenue from a new $3 toll for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which 92,000 city motorists will pay an extra $200 a year to use.

A defensive NSW Transport Minister, Carl Scully, yesterday insisted the 80˘ increase - effective from January 11 - was a fair way of raising revenue for a "critical" four-year, $240 million maintenance program that targets roads mainly in rural NSW.

Nor will the 41,500 daily users of the Harbour Tunnel escape. Its owners, the Transfield Kumagai consortium, will also raise the toll from $2.20 to $3 from January 11 - money that goes straight into State Government coffers.

The toll increases come barely a week after the Government opened the M5-East motorway in south-west Sydney, which costs motorists nothing to drive its 10 kilometres.

THE NEW FEES AND CHARGES
From January
• Standard numberplates $30
• Driver knowledge test $30
• Hazard perception test $30
• RTA road rules handbook $25
From January 11
• Sydney Harbour Bridge toll to rise from $2.20 to $3
• Harbour Tunnel toll to rise at the same time

From March 1
• Inspection fee for trucks and buses to rise from $112 to $150
• For trailers from $66 to $99
• For taxi or hire car from $56 to $76




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr Scully denied singling out motorists from the north and north-west of the city, even though Roads and Traffic Authority figures show bridge and tunnel motorists make up roughly a third of motorists using the city's main motorways.

In contrast, 232,000 motorists are able to pay virtually nothing to use the M4, M5 and M5 East each day - courtesy of the Government's cash-back scheme.

Unlike drivers on these roads, many motorists have no choice but to use the bridge.

The announcement of the first bridge toll rise in a decade, barring last year's increase to include the GST, sparked outrage from motorists. The Leader of the Opposition, Kerry Chikarovski, immediately vowed to reverse the toll increases if she unseated Labor at the March 2003 election.

She said the Government was naive if it thought it was hitting traditional Liberal voters on Sydney's North Shore. Of the 16 state seats in the city's north and north-west, 12 are held by the Liberals, one by an independent and three by the ALP.

"They [the Government] need to realise that people who use the Harbour Bridge and the tunnel don't just come from the North Shore ... they come from all over Sydney," Mrs Chikarovski said.

The toll increase will raise $28 million of the $60 million a year needed for the maintenance project. The rest will come from a variety of RTA charges, including new $30 fees for general issue number plates and driver knowledge and hazard perception tests, which are currently free.

The RTA road handbook, at present free, will cost $25 in the new year. Inspection charges for heavy vehicles, trailers, buses and taxis will also rise.

Mr Scully said he had discussed with the Treasurer, Michael Egan, whether the money could be found from general revenue but the idea was turned down.

This was despite the Government delivering Budget surpluses totalling more than $2.5 billion since it was elected in 1995.

Mr Scully said the extra revenue was needed to address "a critical point" in the history of the state's roads. The funds raised would pay for roadworks in western Sydney, the Central Coast, Illawarra, Hunter and in the state's Central West.

"The age of the roads is such that a significant increase in investment in our road maintenance is required over the next four years," he said.

"A large percentage of our roads are 20 to 40 years old but the number of vehicles has increased and the weight of vehicles has increased over the last few years.

"If we don't increase investment significantly, the condition of our road asset will deteriorate.

"I understand motorists would probably prefer to pay nothing for everything but unfortunately I have a problem that I need to resolve. I need to find $240 million of additional funds and the road budget is fully expended."

But Mrs Chikarovski said: "This year, Carl Scully wins the scrooge award for trying to ruin Christmas. This is just the biggest tax grab out [and] there is no justification for it. I believe this is totally unfair and we will reverse it."
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You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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Old 12-18-2001, 17:35   #2 (permalink)
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Another article on same subject

Quote:
Angry drivers blast a bridge toll too far

By Geesche Jacobsen, Michael Bradley and Jessica Halloran

Geographic discrimination was behind the move to increase the Harbour Bridge toll to $3, angry motorists in Sydney's north and north-west said yesterday.

While tollway users in the west and south-west had their tolls reimbursed by the State Government, bridge users complained they were being forced to subsidise road users elsewhere.

"It is not fair," said Bart Bassett, chairman of the Windsor Road Task Force.

"Anybody living north of the river has no way to get any of those tolls back, which are now getting increasingly expensive."

When the Lane Cove tunnel was built, motorists in the Hills district would face a $15 return trip to the airport, he said.

The mayor of Baulkham Hills, John Griffiths, said the increase would add up to $200 a year for many of his constituents.

"It's another impost we really don't need," he said.

While motorists in the Hills District could use alternative routes to avoid the tolls, those wanting to get to work in town within reasonable time had little choice but to use the M2 and bridge.

"The motorist is the favourite milking cow of the State Government because some people can't get away from going over the Harbour Bridge," Mr Griffiths said.

While 92,000 motorists use the bridge each day and 41,500 the Harbour Tunnel, the M4 is used by 92,100, the M5 by 70,000, the M2 by 66,300 and the Eastern Distributor by 70,000.


Greg Hughes, 42, travels across the bridge five days a week.

"If they were going to use it to fund the bridge then you could understand it, but they're talking about western suburbs and this and that - it's a redistribution, which isn't fair," he said.

Humberto Ho, 39, from Cammeray, was outraged by the increase.

"When is my salary going to go up 35 per cent?" he said.

Lois Donaldson, 32, from Manly, said: "If it [the bridge] was made all E-toll and it was genuinely faster then I wouldn't care how much I had to pay, but every day I travel from Manly across the Spit Bridge at a snail's pace, so how can they justify this increase?"

NRMA's chief executive officer, Rob Carter, said the toll increase was an unwelcome Christmas present.

He was also concerned other new government fees unfairly target younger drivers.

From January 1, there will be a $30 fee for road rule handbooks and driver knowledge and hazard perception tests, which used to be free.

Mr Carter said: "Novice drivers who once paid $144 to get their full P-plate will pay $229 from January 1. That is a 60 per cent increase."

Even in the west the toll rise was unwelcome news.

Blacktown's mayor and chairman of the Anti-toll Alliance, Alan Pendleton, deplored the raised toll. "You would want to know why it has to go so high," he said. "Are the [$260 million] roadworks on the Harbour Bridge?"

But secretary of Action for Public Transport, Jim Donovan, was happy to see the toll rise.

"We are pleased to see the tolls go up," he said. "It might deter people from too much long-distance driving. We want people riding public transport."
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You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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Old 12-18-2001, 17:36   #3 (permalink)
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Another view

Quote:
Road is all uphill until at least 2022

By Geesche Jacobsen

The toll on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will have risen 15-fold in nearly as many years when it goes up to $3 next month.

It's a long way from the bridge's early days, when crossing each way cost sixpence, with an extra threepence for each passenger (or a penny per child).

When the latest increase, announced yesterday, comes into effect on January 11, the $3 tolls on the bridge and the tunnel will start earning money for the State Government.

The biggest increases since the bridge was opened in 1932 have occurred since 1986, when the Government announced plans to contract a private consortium to build the Harbour Tunnel to cope with increasing traffic.

The roads minister at the time, Laurie Brereton, said tolls would comfortably cover payments to the consortium.

Under the deal, the Transfield Kumagai consortium is paid a certain amount each month, calculated according to a complicated formula, no matter how much money is collected.

Nearly all the toll revenue from the bridge and tunnel goes to cover these payments; less than 5 per cent goes to the Government, according to the RTA.

Tolls increased soon after the tunnel project was announced, to cover shortfalls between the tolls collected and the payments the Government had to make.

By 1993 the Government had paid a shortfall of nearly $18 million to the company because traffic volume, and toll collection, was below that expected.

The deal ends in 2022, when the Government takes ownership of the tunnel, leaving room for a lowering of the toll in six elections' time.
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You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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Old 12-18-2001, 17:52   #4 (permalink)
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Now that's revenue raising... Once again Joe Public takes it in the arse.. :s3
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Old 12-18-2001, 17:57   #5 (permalink)
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yeah, its a wonder that there is not a lot more open-ness to the gay community.

even though this doesnt affect me, its still definately farked.
How much bloody money do they need?
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Old 12-18-2001, 20:26   #6 (permalink)
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I remember about 15 years ago. To cross the bridge was cheap as: $0.20 Cars
$0.10 Motorbikes with side carts
$0.05 Motorbikes
$0.40 for trucks I think.

Now look at thise prices?? The Harbour Tunnel will get the same increase now. As we have said Don't we own th Harbour Bridge now? And there manking more money off it with Bridge Walk!

What of this $0.80 increase are we going to see? Especially us people who live in the Northern Beaches/ Suburbs?

hmm Boycout!!!! Victoria Road via Ryde or the Gladsville Bridge.

Will
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Old 12-18-2001, 20:28   #7 (permalink)
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Thumbs down

Yeah, it's pretty shitty IMO. Not a fan of tolls I must say.
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Old 12-18-2001, 21:11   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah it's always the case, seems so easy to increase toll, but to get rid of the toll all together is impossible.

Even that toll cash back claim for the western area isn't exacly free. There always like $60.00 ahead in credits before they refund. :dead: :dead:
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Old 12-18-2001, 23:33   #9 (permalink)
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It really does gay off hard like if they need to increase it (which they don't) why go for such a huge jump if it went up to say $2.50 it'd be a fair call but 80c is just a joke.Why do Govt.s like to piss off car owners so much??? :fmad:
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Old 12-19-2001, 01:06   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Jucy
It really does gay off hard like if they need to increase it (which they don't) why go for such a huge jump if it went up to say $2.50 it'd be a fair call but 80c is just a joke.Why do Govt.s like to piss off car owners so much??? :fmad:
Cos we are so vulnerable. We keep on taking it in the arse cos we NEED our cars. They're not a luxury IMO, they are necessity. Just like how we get shafted over gas, electricity, petrol, home purchases (taxes and what not) etc. Need I go on??? It's all a joke.
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