The NSW Government will introduce free vehicle registration for the owners of private vehicles who spend more than $1300 a year on Sydney toll roads.
Sydney’s growing motorway system is heavily tolled, with the revenue going to private operators to offset the price they have paid to buy and operate the infrastructure. There has been growing controversy over the extent of the tolls and the total costs for regular users.
There is already a Cashback system for heavy users of the M5 motorway in Sydney’s southwest, introduced by then then Labor Government in 1995 after it broke an election promise to abolish tolls completely. That scheme, which costs around $90 million a year, will remain in existence. It is estimated the new scheme will cost a similar amount.
The new scheme will come into effect on 1 July 2018, but the measure of toll costs spent will be backdated to 1 July 2017 to determine eligibility. Government registration fees will be waived for vehicles weighing less than 2795kg, and which have incurred an average of $25 a week over the previous 12 month period.
“The majority of eligible motorists will save $358 a year on registration costs, with potential savings of up to $715 a year,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. “The Government’s strong budget position allows us to give back to toll users.
“The NSW Government has made it a priority to drive down the cost of owning a vehicle with big savings being delivered through reforms to CTP Green Slips and the introduction of a FuelCheck app.”
Registration costs in NSW are based on vehicle weight. Motorcycle registration is $127 a year, and small cars below 975 kg are $272 a year. Vehicles in the highest eligible weight category (2505-2794 kg) will save $715 a year.
That means a driver spending $30 a week on tolls and driving a 2000 kg car will have their toll bill reduced by about one third.
The scheme will apply to private drivers who use any existing toll roads and will apply to new toll roads in the future – of which there will be many. The expensive and controversial WestConnex tunnel system is currently under construction, with an extension to the airport and another Harbour Tunnel to the Northern Beaches planned.
The Government is also considering an extension to the F6, which runs south to Wollongong. To help fund its expansion plans, the Government recently reintroduced tolls on the M4 in Sydney’s west, which were abolished in 2010.
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