Pacific Highway toll plan floated



DEPUTY Prime Minister John Anderson has backed putting a toll on the Pacific Highway to fund an upgrade for the road.

The trucking industry could help foot the bill, he said.

Mr Anderson yesterday said NSW had floated the idea of tolls for the Pacific Highway and he had no problem with the idea as long as people who used it every day to get to work or take children to school were not slugged.

He said the Pacific Highway, linking Sydney and Brisbane, was not a Commonwealth road but the Commonwealth had been working with NSW to upgrade the highway.

As a result it had gone from nine to 33 per cent dual carriageway since 1996.

"We now need to sit down and talk about rolling that right out," he said. "The cost is blowing out. It's a huge engineering exercise.

"We need to bring it forward, do it more quickly," he said.

But Mr Anderson said it was important not to hit people who used the highway regularly to get to and from work and to have non-toll alternatives.

Mr Anderson said a more innovative financing mix could involve a mix of government funds and tolls.

"It might be that for the trucking industry ... to make a contribution," he said.

Mr Anderson said Australia had to get on with the job of linking capital cities by dual carriageway roads. Just two ? Canberra and Sydney ? were currently linked, with plans to link Melbourne and Sydney on the Hume Highway by 2012.



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