Gateway toll could rise to fund upgrade

Heidi Costello

COMMUTERS could be slugged with another toll on the Gateway Motorway if the Commonwealth does not step up funding, the Newman Government warns.

The State Government has confirmed they would consider enforcing additional tolling on the commuter-heavy motorway if funding could not be sourced to support the upgrade of the section between Nudgee and the Bruce Highway.

Currently, car motorists are slugged with a $4 toll if they travel over the Gateway Bridges.

Main Roads and Transport Minister Scott Emerson said most of the Gateway Motorway was privatised under the former Labor Government except for the Gateway North section.

"Ironically, it happens to be the section that needs a taxpayer-funded upgrade," he said.

Mr Emerson conceded the federal Coalition had already promised to commit $1 billion to the road's upgrade if elected in 2013.

But if Labor held on to its reign and failed to commit to funding, the project would not go ahead.

"If funding isn't committed by the Federal Government to the section north of Nudgee then we would need to consider delaying the project several years or tolling - neither of which is likely to be supported by up to 100,000 motorists who use that stretch of road each day," Mr Emerson said.

Acting Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin accused the government of engaging in "Canberra bashings" to justify its own shortcomings.

"This is a government that has not funded a single new Main Roads project, in fact it has slashed Queensland's Transport and Main Roads rolling capital works budget by $1.6 billion," Mr Mulherin said.

"This is a government that now plans to slug motorists when they promised to lower the cost of living.

"The simple truth is this: The planned Gateway upgrade is going through the correct processes for consideration by the Federal Government's Infrastructure Australia.

"To impose a new toll while that process is in train is simply jumping the gun."

Plans for the upgrade include widening the road to six lanes from Nudgee to the Deagon deviation.

The Deagon deviation would also be widened between Depot Rd and Bracken Ridge Rd.

More than 100,000 vehicles use the Gateway bridges each day, according to Queensland Motorways.

Topics:  funding gateway motorway

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