As part of the former coalition government’s review of toll roads, options were considered to levy tolls on Sydney’s non-toll highways such as the Anzac Bridge, City West Link and Warringah Freeway, as well as introducing a congestion charge in the central business district.
The Labor government has received ministry briefings which reveal that the previous government had proposed an option to charge “all motorways” as part of its review to create a “more efficient, end-to-end” network in Sydney.
The western distributor in the inner city, the Gore Hill and Warringah motorways on the north coast, the M4 motorway west of Parramatta, and Southern Cross Drive and General Holmes Drive near Sydney Airport were also named as toll targets.
The briefings from the NSW Department of Finance and Transport also show that bureaucrats have considered creating a “CBD zone” where drivers would be charged an “entry fee” when passing certain points on motorways or arterial roads into the city centre .
The previous government repeatedly delayed plans to release a Treasury-mandated review of Sydney’s patchwork of toll roads before losing power in March.
However, last September the company hinted at long-term plans to introduce tolling to ease Sydney’s congestion and eliminate inequalities in the toll system.
The new Labor government has tasked former competition watch chief Alan Fels with leading a review of the city’s toll network, while promising to uncover the full extent of the multi-billion dollar toll deals that underlie the regime.
Fels will publish a paper reviewing the new government on Wednesday, detailing how to engage the public to make the system fairer and simpler.