Industry representative to be appointed to HVCI board

Australia’s transport ministers have decided to appoint a trucking industry representative to the board of Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform (HVCI), a project aiming to develop a new system for charging the industry for road usage andas helping governments make better decisions about road funding.

According to the David Simon, Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association, the decision recognised that the trucking industry should be involved in designing the new charging and investment system.

“At the moment, the industry pays very large registration charges – more than $14,400 for a B-double – and an effective fuel tax of 25.5 cents per litre,” he said. “As a result, small operators have difficulty managing their cash flow to pay their registration charges, and trucks that only travel short distances pay the same amount in registration as vehicles that are on the road all the time.

“In addition, the charging system does not provide road asset managers like local governments with any incentive to upgrade their roads so the industry can use high productivity vehicles. There is no connection between the roads we use and where the money goes.”

During 2013, the HVCI project will develop options for governments to consider, ranging from keeping the existing system to mass-distance-location pricing, where trucks would be fitted with black boxes and tracked.

“To develop realistic options that do not impose a crushing compliance burden on operators, HVCI needs more industry input. It also needs to do more work on the road funding side. The success of this reform will depend on improving the way governments provide and fund roads, but most of the work so far has been done on how to charge the industry.”

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