London-style congestion tax could be introduced to cut Melbourne CBD traffic after Infrastructure Australia report

Source: Herald Sun

Source: Herald Sun

A London-style congestion tax to cut car numbers in major city centres has been flagged in a new report.

Governments should adopt a “user pays, user says” model where the community makes a direct contribution to projects and, in turn, gets a say on the level of service provided, Infrastructure Australia says.

Government subsidies went only so far, it said, and a debate was needed about how to fund a growing number of critical projects such as roads and rail lines.

“A move to congestion charging will be needed if we are to reduce the growing economic burden of congestion and make best use of existing network infrastructure,” the report said.

Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington said there was a deep disconnect between the infrastructure people wanted and the infrastructure people were prepared to pay for.

“The national infrastructure plan outlines the major reforms that are needed to lay the foundations for a more productive Australia over the next 50 years,” Sir Rod said…

The report said charging taxpayers to fund projects had several benefits, including managing demand and better use of existing infrastructure, improving the road network’s productivity and reducing the need for expensive new investment…

The East West Link’s status on the infrastructure priority list, also included in the report, remained unchanged as a project of “real potential”, the second-lowest of the four rankings…

“When it comes to East West, we recognise that this project has potential merit, but we want to be able to fund a project where the numbers stack up and which is deliverable.

“At this stage … they didn’t have the business case,” he said

Ameila Harris, Herald Sun, July 3, 2013