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Congestion tax acceptable only if public transport improved: Greens

The Greens would only agree to a tax being imposed on motorists to reduce congestion in Perth and other Australian cities if public transport, cycling and walking facilities are dramatically improved.

“On present trends, the cost of urban traffic congestion based on extra travel time and resource use is projected to double by 2020,” Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam said.

“As our recent Pubic Transport Senate Inquiry concluded, congestion charging can help reduce these costs by discouraging motorists from travelling at the most congested times and places.

“However, the Greens believe that a congestion tax would be an unfair impost unless significant improvements to public transport and other non-driving modes of commuting such as walking and cycling facilities are made at the same time.

“We have to learn from the London experience and make sure that the tax isn’t absorbed into administration costs and consultancy fees, but is ploughed directly back into providing world-class public and active transport.”

Greens WA Transport Spokesperson, Alison Xamon MLC, said that while good work had been done in the past to build Perth’s public transport network, the current State Government was going backwards in this area.

“Many of Perth’s outlying areas are grossly inadequately serviced in terms of public transport,” Ms Xamon said.

“The State Government has reneged on pre-election promises to extend the public transport system and it has cut back bus services in outlying suburbs and reduced the frequency of train services.

“They have gone completely in the wrong direction in terms of public transport and we need to urgently address this.”

Note to editors:
The recent report of the Senate inquiry into Investment of Commonwealth and State funds in public passenger transport infrastructure and services may be viewed here: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/Committee/rrat_ctte/public_transport/report/report.pdf

On page 22, the report concludes that Australian governments should take a more active role in educating the public about the benefits
of congestion charges and that “to make the idea more politically acceptable it is desirable to hypothecate the revenue to transport improvements. This should include improving public transport services, so that more motorists have alternatives to their cars.”

For more information or media enquiries please call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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