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Heavy vehicles to be hit hard by CityLink toll extensions in Melbourne

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The Victorian Labor Government plan of removing an estimated 9000 trucks off streets in Melbourne’s inner west through the Westgate Tunnel project could cost commercial vehicles up to four times more than the steep increases likely to hit passenger vehicles according to an independent report.

The report, commissioned by the Liberal Party, finds Transurban will generate more revenue than tolls on the West Gate Tunnel while extending its tolls on CityLink for an additional 10 years.

The tolling extension, approved after the Victorian Government passed legislation in the lower house earlier in the month, has been valued at $26 billion when factoring in the $2.4 billion Transurban would reap from annual toll increases until March 2029.

Released this week, the report found that motorists using CityLink every weekday will have paid more than $161,000 in tolls by 2044-45.

Over the next 15 years the increased tolls are expected to raise $546 million.

Tolls raised on heavy vehicle operators would amount to $546 million in the same period.

At current the West Gate Bridge carries 220,000 vehicles daily.

The West Gate Tunnel project, as claimed by the Victorian Government, will also remove up to 5000 trucks that attempt to avoid tolls by navigating alternative routes in the inner west.

Data dumped in February by Transurban as part of an arrangement with the ACCC to secure its controversial acquisition of WestConnex for $9.3 billion confirmed a softening of traffic in Sydney.

The figures suggested that motorists were increasingly circumventing fare zones where tolls are rising faster than inflation and wages.

Transurban, under the West Gate Tunnel agreement, will provide $4 billion in funds for a proposed six-lane toll road through West Melbourne as part of a new road system joining the West Gate Freeway in Spotswood and CityLink in Docklands.

The road would be available to heavy vehicles by 2022.

By then an annual toll fee increase of 4.25 per cent would have been administered on commercial vehicle operators.

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