Friday, July 04, 2008

Truck off

This morning truckies took to the streets, blocking roads and disrupting traffic in order to protest against higher road user charges. The protests reportedly met with public approval in Auckland, where they probably improved traffic flow. But I wonder if the public would have been so approving if they'd known the facts:

  • Heavy trucks are responsible for a third of the damage done to our roads. They don't pay a third of the costs of maintaining them.
  • A 2005 Ministry of Transport study into surface transport costs and charges showed that truck drivers receive enormous subsidies, paying only 56% of the social cost of their activities, compared with 64% for cars, and 82% for trains.
  • The increase for an average truck is around $500 a year.

Basically, the transport companies are just like the farmers - they want the rest of us to subsidise their profits. And on that point, they can just truck off.