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THE east coast’s “dismal and declining” rail freight industry is contributing to an unsustainable reliance on trucks, leading to safety, environmental and economic costs, according to the Inland Rail boss.
Outgoing Australian Rail Track Corporation chief executive John Fullerton will today call for infrastructure funding to become more balanced between roads and rail to save taxpayer funds being wasted on “more and more” roads.
The Inland Rail boss will call for more balanced infrastructure spending between roads and rail.In the keynote speech to the Inland Rail Conference in Toowoomba today, Mr Fullerton will call for government’s to get better at “achieving neutrality” between the prices charged to move freight by trucks or trains.
“This is costing the Australian taxpayers because there is inconsistency between the cost of use by a heavy truck on our roads versus the cost of use for a train,” he will say.
“If this was properly balanced it would be far easier to decide where to direct taxpayer or private sector funding into infrastructure in order to provide the best overall return on investment and reduce the long-run cost of infrastructure repair and maintenance.”
Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO John Fullerton will deliver the keynote speech at the Inland Rail Conference in Toowoomba.ARTC is responsible for building the $10 billion Inland Rail line from Brisbane to Melbourne, with work starting in the past year on the first 100km section of the 1700km project.
Mr Fullerton’s speech will highlight that every day 3600 heavy trucks, largely B doubles, operate between Sydney and Brisbane, more than 2500 drive through Toowoomba and 3000 travel down the Warrego Highway through Ipswich.
“The continued heavy reliance on road on the east coast for freight transport will result in increasing safety, environmental and community impacts with the associated costs to the economy,” he will say.
The $10 billion Inland Rail project would help reduce the reliance on road freight.He will call for four policy priorities for governments including getting better data on freight movements and ensuring major freight precincts are rail enabled.
“It’s a pointless and total waste of money to independently continue to invest vast sums of taxpayer money on the parallel highway or arbitrarily increase the length and mass of heavy road vehicles,” he will say.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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