The Road Ahead : June July 2010
visit www.roadahead.com.au MORE INFO WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 38 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JLY 2010 MOTORING STANDING UP FOR MOTORISTS STORY JENNY O'REILLY | PHOTOS IAN JUDD PHOTOS, FROM LEFT: THE TWIN GATEWAY BRIDGES. TOLL SENSORS ON THE SOUTHERN END. GATEWAY MOTORWAY, SOUTH OF THE BRIDGES. The RACQ wants Queensland Motorways to remain in public hands for the benefit of motorists and taxpayers. THE RACQ HAS criticised the State Government for condemning Queensland motorists to 50 years of paying tolls on key roads, including the Gateway and Logan motorways, in the south-east. The motoring club is determined to fight the government's controversial decision to sell Queensland Motorways Limited (QML) for $3 to $5 billion. Under the plan, QML could be privatised by 2011-12, with the focus on profits for shareholders instead of reduced congestion and safer roads for the south-east's motorists. RACQ external relations general manager Gary Fites said it would be more efficient and equitable for road users and taxpayers if QML remained in public hands. "There is a sound economic argument to show that the state's road infrastructure should be managed as a single integrated network for the benefit of all," Mr Fites said. The State Government is proposing the sale or lease of five government businesses, including state-owned roads, to address shortfalls in government revenue claimed to be a result of the Global Financial Crisis. Griffith University Professor of Economics, Ross Guest, who investigated the planned QML sale on behalf of the RACQ, concluded that the tolling rights should not be transferred to the private sector. A report by RACQ found public opinion did not favour the sale. "While the government has said that toll increases after the sale would be linked to the Consumer Price Index, this hasn't stopped them announcing a 30 percent increase in tolls on the Gateway and Logan Motorways from July 1, 2010," Mr Fites said. There are approximately 33 million trips a year over the Gateway Bridge and 44 million trips through Logan Motorway tolling points, generating $176 million a year in revenue. This figure will likely increase as upgrades allow higher traffic volumes and as the toll increases -- but the benefits will all go to shareholders -- not to better roads. In its Position Paper on the sale of Queensland Motorways Limited, the RACQ calls for the Federal Government to contribute funds to upgrade the link north from the Gateway Bridge to the Bruce Highway. The Gateway and Logan motorways are part of the national road network, yet have received no funding from the Federal Government. A copy of the RACQ's position paper on the motorways sale is available on the club's website. www.racq.com.au/advocacy.