Executive Director of the Victorian Division of the Property Council of Australia, Jennifer Cunich today conveyed the deep concern of her members at any proposal to introduce a congestion tax on motorists driving to the CBD.
“Instead of looking at implementing a congestion tax, the State Government needs to look at ways to improve Melbourne’s public transport infrastructure,” Ms Cunich said.
“The fact is that Melbourne’s already overstretched public transport system cannot cope with the thousands of extra commuters.”
Furthermore, motorists are already being slugged with a de-facto congestion tax by the State Government in the guise of an $800 per annum car parking tax generating $38 million in revenue.
Figures released by the Department of Infrastructure earlier this month, revealed that public transport use to and from work increased by 17% between 2001 and 2006.
At the same time, there has been a small fall in the share of total journeys made by car by almost 2 percentage points between 2001 and 2006.
“Melbourne’s public transport system is already stretched to capacity.” Ms Cunich said.
Metropolitan public transport patronage grew by almost 8% in 2006-07 and Metropolitan train use alone has grown by 23% over the past two years, most likely due to the increase in petrol prices.
Ms Cunich said that a congestion tax on motorists travelling to the CBD would only make this problem worse, particularly as Melbourne’s population is now growing more than 1,000 people a week.
Of those Melbournians who travel to work in the CBD, 60.2% use public transport as their preferred mode of transportation.
While London’s congestion tax is often used as a preferred model it is clear that a congestion tax has done little to curb pressure on London’s public transport system.
With London’s population projected to grow from 7.5 million in 2005 to 8.3 million by 2025, and an additional 150,000 commuting trips into London expected to be generated each day, London’s public transport system will be placed under even further pressure.
In fact, overall public transport demand is projected to increase from 10 million daily journeys in 2005 to 12.8 million in 2025.
“More than 1.4 million people a day will need to be moved in and out of central London by 2025, contributing to a 40% increase in rail demand.”
A recent article in The Sunday Times stated that traffic jams in London are almost as bad as they were to start off with and almost £800 million of tolls and fines.
The article states that spending on the administration of the charge rose to more than £160 million in 2007, leaving £10 million less for buses and schemes to improve traffic flow. According to the article, money raised to improve public transport was in fact cut by 10%.
For further information, please contact:
Rachel Saunders, (03) 9664 4230.