For whom the road tolls

It is believed the Federal Government has agreed to make a significant contribution to the $600 million project if a heavy vehicle user charge is introduced.

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said Dr Nahan did not say anything about a toll road when he made the promise to deliver Roe 8 at the 2008 and 2013 State elections.

‘The Roe Highway extension doesn’t deserve to be funded because it will only make traffic congestion in the southern suburbs worse,’ he said.

‘The number of vehicles on Leach Highway are still expected to almost double even if the Roe Highway is extended.

‘We need to be investing in better freight rail links to Fremantle Harbour and intermodal terminals across Perth, along with better public transport. This is the only real solution to congestion on Leach Highway.’

Dr Nahan said while there was mention of a heavy vehicle user charge being introduced, the State Government had not committed to anything and reiterated there will be no road charges for cars.

He confirmed that the State Government has been in talks with the Federal Government about the project over the past few months and an announcement about funding would be made in tomorrow’s Federal Budget.

‘State Liberal-National Government has been a continual proponent of Roe 8, an essential infrastructure project,’ he said.

‘All sections of the Roe Highway have received a large financial commitment from the Commonwealth Government.

‘I expect the Commonwealth to again make a major contribution to the Roe 8 project.’

The Roe 8 extension will be approximately 5km long, running from Kwinana Freeway in Jandakot to Stock Road in Coolbelup, through the Beeliar Wetlands.

Its supporters believe it is necessary to ease traffic congestion and improve traffic flow by allowing trucks to travel on an alternative route to Leach Highway.

However, environmentalists and other opponents argue it is a waste of money and will destroy the pristine Beeliar Wetlands.

Despite widespread opposition, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) gave the extension conditional approval last September, but there is now an appeals process in place.