The most common objection to ending the tolls, is “How will we pay for our roads, bridges, etc if we don’t have the tolls?”
Our main argument against this is that WE ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR OUR ROADS - what do we pay registration fees, licence fees and fuel taxes for?? According to the 2011 - 2012 Qld Budget papers, motor vehicle registration revenue was approx. $1,380 Million, with transport and traffic fees another $260 Million, and on top of this the state government gets massive road funding grants from the Federal Government.
Here are some FACTS about the Logan and Gateway motorways (from the Qld Motorways own website) re the amount of money the toll roads are ripping off us :
Logan Motorway – original cost $140 million, completed in 1988 (25 years ago)
More than 51 million tolled transactions are recorded on the Logan Motorway each year [Source: Qld Motorways website] From the QMtoll charge schedule, to take a single trip on the Logan Motorway you are charged at three toll points (Loganlea, Heathwood and Paradise Rd), and with the ‘video matching fee’ ($0.44), and the ‘retail service fee’ ($1.10) this comes to $8.24 for a car.
If you do the maths, at an average cost of say $8 per vehicle (and it would probably be closer to $10 since trucks pay a lot more), QM is raking in a cool $408 million from Logan motorway EACH YEAR – for a road that only cost $140 million in the first place!!
Gateway Bridge – original cost $183 million, completed in 1986 (27 years ago)
More than 38 million tolled trips are made across the bridges every year [Source: Qld Motorways website] Again from the QMtoll charge schedule, we can see that the cost for a car to go ONE WAY across the gateway bridge is $5.67 including the ‘video matching fee’ ($0.44), and the ‘retail service fee’ ($1.10).
Again, at an average cost of say $10 per vehicle (trucks pay much more than cars), QM is raking in a $380 million from the gateway bridges EACH YEAR!!
Of course we have to fund our roads – but it just shows how unimaginative and limited in their thinking the current politicians and bureaucrats are that they can think of no other way to raise the necessary money than to slug Queenslanders with tolls!
Here are just a few simple, and easy to implement ideas that would raise the money for our roads and end the unnecessary tolls for Queenslanders now!
* Cut Government Advertising, No Overseas Trips for Politicians & Bureaucrats, & Slash Politician's and Senior Bureaucrat's salaries
Huge savings can be made by getting government concentrating on what it should be doing – ie. providing essential services for us all, rather than having politicians and bureaucrats flying off on expensive overseas trips, and spending millions of dollars on self promotion. Politicians and senior bureaucrats are paid far too much for the poor job they do, and if government is doing a good job, we will notice it in the quality of service delivered – we don’t need advertisers to tell us how wonderful our government is!
* Permit for Interstate Drivers
Every school holiday period, and especially at Christmas and Easter, there are tens of thousands of interstate drivers that come to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and elsewhere driving on our roads and paying nothing towards their upkeep.
There could easily be a driving permit issued for a temporary registration period based on a daily rate. These could be issued at, for example, service stations near the border, ordered online, or at various outlets at public car parks - in a similar way to parking tickets.
* Increase Tax on Gambling
The biggest problem with tolls are that they are a tax on essentials of life – travelling to work, school, doctor, etc. It is far better to tax unnecessary 'luxury' activities such as gambling which are socially problematic anyway. A surcharge on Gold Lotto tickets; horse racing bets, and poker machines would not only raise revenue for government, but also discourage the abuse of these activities.
* Billboard Advertising Tax
Road-side advertising is an infringement of our right to enjoy free visual space – it is visual pollution - and the UK has got it right in not allowing roadside billboard advertising at all. However, since we have to put up with it here in this country, the public should benefit from the loss of our rights to view the landscape without such advertising.
* Bed Tax on Interstate and Overseas Visitor Accommodation
For too long interstate and international visitors have come to our beaches, used our roads and our water and our electricity – which WE have to pay for. It is all too common now to have overseas visitors book with an overseas agency, fly in on a foreign carrier, stay at a hotel owned by an overseas company, be driven in groups on tour busses owned and operated by foreigners, shop in foreign owned shops ….. and spend very little money that actually goes to Queenslanders! All the while using the infrastructure and services which OUR taxes pay for!
Don’t you think it is way past time for these free-loaders to help pay for the road, water and electricity infrastructure they reap the benefits from?
A charge of say 5% on all accommodation would be inconsequential to the visitors, ($100 per night would become $105 per night), and would not affect tourism numbers, but would greatly assist in revenue raising for essential infrastructure projects – and provide better services, thus actually encouraging more visitors.
Queenslanders of course would be exempt from this charge. The bed tax would be waived on production of a Qld drivers licence or other demonstration of residence in Qld.
* Surcharge for Rental Vehicles
Likewise there could be a 5% - 10% surcharge made on all rental vehicles – again, most rentals are used by interstate or international visitors, so this would also not affect Queenslanders.
Authorised by J.D. Hodges, Secretary Consumer Rights and No Tolls, 77 Flaxton Mill Rd Flaxton Qld. 4560