Trucking companies growing rich on taxpayer handouts

The government should make the trucking industry pay the full costs of the roads they travel down, says the car review website

 Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

“About two thirds of the cost of building new highways goes to making them strong enough for large vehicles, which are mainly trucks.  Excluding events such as storm damage, about 80% of all road maintenance costs are the result of the damage caused by trucks.”

“Yet, the trucking industry pays just 23% of the costs of building and maintaining these highways.”

Matthew-Wilson claims that ratepayers are also being ripped off.

“Many ratepayers are unaware that their rates cover 44% of the costs of local roads. By comparison, heavy vehicles such as trucks pay just 25% of the costs of building and maintaining these roads.”

“We need milk tankers and delivery trucks. We don’t need most of the truck and trailer units that roar down the state highways.”

“Truck drivers are not the enemy here. The enemy is a cosy historical arrangement between the trucking industry and the government, that allows the trucking companies to grow rich at the taxpayers’ expense.”

“Worse, while the trucking companies get rich, the railways struggle and major road safety improvements don’t happen.”

Matthew-Wilson says truck Road User Charges should be doubled immediately, then gradually increased to cover the full truck-related costs of the roads the trucks travel down.

Matthew-Wilson wants these increased charges to be spent on road safety improvements and rail.

Nearly 20% of the road toll involves trucks. In 1980, accidents involving trucks made up 12% of the road toll. In 2019, accidents involving trucks made up nearly 20% of the road toll. That’s one of the major reasons our road toll is still high.”

The government’s own studies show that rail freight is at least twice as efficient as road freight. Moving freight by sea is also many times more efficient than trucks. The only reason that trucking companies prosper is because they don’t pay the true costs of the roads they travel down.”


• Note: The graphs in this release are a few years old and were originally displayed on the Ministry of Transport website. After we published a press release on the subject, the graphs vanished from the MOT site. The Road User Charges that the trucking industry pays have actually dropped, not increased, since these graphs were issued.