How much Govt will make from Second Range Crossing toll
THE Queensland Government won't reveal the cost of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing toll to Toowoomba residents despite it factoring the amount it will earn from tolls into budget numbers.
The Department of Transport and Main Road's Service Delivery Statement from the 2019-20 State Budget Papers revealed the user charges and fees income stream would increase by about $35 million.
"Increase reflects the effect of indexation applied to public transport fare revenue and toll revenue from the operation of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing," the budget document said.
When you subtract the estimate of the indexation increase, The Chronicle estimated about $28 million to $30 million of that increase in revenue would be because of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing tolls.
"Budget references to the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing relate to the delivery of Toowoomba's most significant infrastructure project by the (State) Government," a Queensland Government spokesman said.
"References to estimated revenue impacts are estimates only based on, among other things, the Projects Qld Business Case compiled in 2012, which was the basis for the project being approved for funding by the Federal and State Governments.
"Toll arrangements (will be finalised soon) and announced closer to the opening of the Second Range Crossing, which is anticipated later this year."
The Chronicle understands final work is being undertaken on the crossing at the moment and is expected to wrap up in the next six to eight weeks.
It is not known how soon after construction concludes that the crossing will open to motorists, though an official launch event is expected in early September.
"A specific date for the opening is yet to be confirmed, with work still progressing on the project," the Queensland Government spokesman said.
"Infrastructure names will also be announced closer to the opening of the Second Range Crossing."
Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts said it was "unconscionable" the Government was withholding the toll prices.
"The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing toll price will inevitably affect all industries and consumers, particularly those west of the Toowoomba range," Mr Watts said.
"The State Minister continues to play games with the livelihoods of local businesses, who cannot renew haulage contracts and make long-term decisions until the toll prices are released.
"Why is it such a big secret?"
RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said the delay in the toll announcement was a "concern".
"The last thing we want to see is for the tolling regime to cause financial burden to motorists, or for the costs to industry to be so high that they are passed on, resulting in more expensive goods and services," she said.
"The State Government would have crunched the numbers on how much tolls will need to be to cover this project which is why we've been pushing our leaders for answers on this issue for several years.
"We'll continue to demand answers to ensure the safety and productivity benefits of this piece of catalytic infrastructure are not lost amidst exorbitant toll prices."