Yet another report has argued that congestion charging would reduce peak period congestion in a major Australian city. And yet again, politicians have dismissed the benefits out of hand. This time it is the Victorian state government who has unthinkingly decided that:
The government is not considering introducing a congestion tax
Congestion charging is basically an economic ‘no brainer’. If the revenue is put towards public transport then it is a policy that benefits commuters, is progressive in terms of impact and improves economic efficiency. It is a policy adopted in a variety of overseas countries. It is tried and tested – Singapore for example has used congestion charging since 1975. And yet politicians in Australia, to their shame, either lack the brains (or other male anatomical features) to introduce this simple, beneficial policy.
I have twice been part of recommendations to introduce congestion charging – first as a member of Victoria’s Infrastructure Planning Council in the early 2000s, then as part of my work with Joshua in “Finishing the job“. I suspect many of my colleagues have similar experience. I hope that the VCEC once again can push this ‘economic win’ in front of the Victorian government – and I hope our politicians show the courage to finally implement this reform.