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Pricing rules stifle rail freight potential: Little

<p>Access pricing regulations and a lack of government focus is holding back the potential of the rail freight system, according to Toll Holdings managing director Paul Little.</p> <p>Mr Little told the Global Freight Connect 2004 Conference in Darwin this morning (Tuesday, February 10) that government policies at the state and federal levels have "stacked the deck" in favour of road freight.</p> <p>Their pricing regulations and investment and cost-recovery models all favour road, he said. </p> <p>Road infrastructure development is given high priority, and planning and access pricing is kept at a low level through direct regulation, he said. </p> <p>Any proposed increase in road access charges is subject to lengthy and rigorous review before being accepted by government.</p> <p>"No such cautious and rigorous process is instituted for rail," Mr Little said. "It is being left to the track owners to decide on their level."</p> <p>Rail operators pay 30% of their operating revenue in access charges, compared to 5% for road operators, he said.</p> <br />