A buck for the Bruce?

DRIVERS would pay $1 every time they used highways such as the Bruce, under a transport expert's radical proposal to bring in the cash to fix our ailing road network.

Transport industry consultant Hughie Williams reckons he has come up with a plan that could turn our highways around.

"I believe if we want good quality roads, we have to pay for them," he told the NewsMail.

Mr Williams said he believed his scheme would raise billions of dollars to pay for upgrading the motorways.

He said the toll could be collected at the point where motorists enter a highway.

"I'm sure if there's money involved, the government will find a way to get it," he said.

"I know a lot of people will be missed, but it will still raise a lot of money."

Mr Williams said it was important the money be earmarked specifically for roads, and he didn't think people would mind paying a small toll if they knew the money would be spent as such.

"Some of our roads are in terrible shape," he said.

"The Bruce Hwy is a goat track in places.

"I don't think people will begrudge that $1."

Mr Williams said the State Government did not have the money to upgrade and maintain the state's major roads, and it was unlikely they would ever get the federal funding they needed.

But member for Hinkler Paul Neville, who is part of an LNP push to upgrade the Bruce Hwy, was sceptical about Mr Williams's plan.

"I'd like to see the whole proposal," he said.

Mr Neville feared someone driving north up the Bruce Hwy could find themselves paying the toll several times if they stopped in at places such as Maryborough and Bundaberg.

"You'd have to think cars entering the Bruce Hwy from side roads or state highways would be paying the toll every time they go on to the highway," he said.

"I don't know how equitable that would be."

Mr Neville said a truck driving from Brisbane to Cairns and making deliveries along the way could also end up paying a lot of tolls.

"Would that start adding to the cost of living in the regions?" he said.

Mr Neville said the question of how the toll would be collected would also be hard to solve.

"If it was just a dollar per trip, I don't think anyone would mind paying that," he said.



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