VTA and NatRoad back safety measures but see attention to infrastructure as underdone
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) views the state Budget as likely to leave freight operators disappointed, with a somewhat conservative amount allocated to key infrastructure projects.
While the VTA welcomes the government’s new Road Safety Strategy and other measures designed to ease congestion by improving the state’s public transport network, it describes the Budget as “notably diminished when it comes to investment in the infrastructure required to support our freight network”.
Among the key infrastructure measures the VTA identifies are:
$100 million towards progress planning of targeted upgrades, including improvements to safety and capacity at Calder Park Interchange, along the Calder Freeway between Gap Road in Sunbury and the M80 Ring Road, jointly funded with the federal government
- $95 million to upgrade and maintain our suburban and regional roads
- $42 million for improvements to road network for freight, upgrading local bridges and improving access for heavy vehicles across the state’s regional road network
- an additional $3.6 million for the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS)
- funding for early works to upgrade Mickleham Road between Somerton Road and Dellamore Boulevard, and for the Ison Road-Rail Overpass.
The Budget also allocates $386 million towards a new Road Safety Strategy, designed to reduce the state’s road toll by targeting dangerous behaviours.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson views the Budget as likely providing be a mixed bag for freight and logistics operators coming off the back of a tumultuous year.
“With Victoria’s freight needs predicted to double by 2050, now is the time to invest in our future,” Anderson says.
“This Budget includes some prudent measures, particularly regarding our regional road network, which is set to receive a number of important safety upgrades.
“This, along the new Road Safety Strategy, will go a long way to ensuring the safety of all road users and the VTA acknowledges these great initiatives.
“Our state’s road, rail and freight networks have enjoyed some substantial and very-welcome investment over recent years; but more needs to be done.
“We must continue to work towards infrastructure projects that reduce congestion, improve productivity, and create jobs – to the benefit of not only freight and logistics operators, but all Victorians.”
Victoria has delivered a welcome but modest dividend to the heavy vehicle sector in its State Budget, according to the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says that while it was pleasing to see $42 million allocated for road freight network improvements, bridge upgrades and enhanced heavy vehicle access, much of the outlay was for planning or for spending after 2021-22.
“Governments need to spend money now and focus harder on making our roads safer and more efficient for trucks,” Clark continues.
“Projects mentioned in the Budget, such as the Keeping Freight Moving measure and the Rutherglen truck route, are in their final stages.”
“While funding for improvements to Calder Park Interchange, the M80 Ring Road and the Calder Freeway is welcome, we would have liked to have seen more ‘new money’ spent fast-tracking work in the regions.
“The Budget has allocated $95 million to upgrading and maintaining suburban and regional roads, but a roomful of NatRoad members could have come up with a shopping list three times as large.”
Clark notes that there was widespread…