In a Victorian first, tolling rights for the North-East Link will be owned by the State Government.
Toll revenue will pay for long-term maintenance including ensuring the safety and upkeep of the tunnels, road surface and roadside areas.
An overhauled Eastern freeway, with express lanes and a dedicated busway will remain toll free as will other key local roads like Greensborough Highway and the M80 Ring Road.
The North East Link will carry up to 135,000 vehicles daily, connect the M80 to an Eastern Freeway while slashing travel times by 35 minutes and taking 15,000 trucks off local roads.
Works will begin shortly to move more than 34km of gas, water and sewer pipes and drains and over 95 other utilities out of the way of north East Link making way for major construction next year.
A Bill introduced in Parliament in March includes creating the new State Tolling Corporation to provide for tolling and enforcement powers.
Like other toll roads in Victoria, Parliament will be able to have approval and revocation rights for the specific tolling arrangements, including the base tolls and rates of escalation.
Toll points are expected to be finalised once the preferred bidder for the North East Link’s primary package has been selected.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, justified the State Government’s decision.
“Tolling major infrastructure ensures we can continue building road and rail projects like the North East Link that will get people where they need to go sooner and safer.
“We’re not wasting a minute getting on with the North East Link that will carry up to 135,000 vehicles daily, slash travel times and get trucks off local roads,” Ms Allan said.