Eastern Metro MP and Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton says small businesses will bear the brunt of extending CityLink tolls to cover the cost of the West Gate Tunnel project.
The Andrews Government introduced legislation this week to grant Transurban a 10 year extension on its CityLink tolls to cover costs to build the new tunnel.
“Victorians have already paid $1.2 billion not to build the East West Link and now CityLink users are being asked to subsidise another road, one they’re not even driving on,” Mr Barton said.
Mr Barton said it was heavy CityLink road users, like taxi and car hire drivers, couriers, truck drivers and commercial operators that would bear the brunt of these charges, and those charges would end up being passed on to the Victorian community.
“[Taxis] form an integral part of our public transport system and they shouldn’t be paying.”
“It’s already a disgrace that taxis pay tolls at all and there are murmurs that discounts on taxis will soon be removed. These guys form an integral part of our public transport system and they shouldn’t be paying,” he said.
Mr Barton said he believed major infrastructure projects like the West Gate Tunnel should be owned by Government.
“But we need this crossing now. I appreciate Transurban’s initiative getting this up, but they will have ample revenues from the new tunnel tolls to recoup their costs.
“If they keep increasing tolls heavy users will just start to avoid these roads altogether – they’ll be back in the suburban streets,” he said.