Victoria’s leading transport advocate RACV says the construction of the North East Link must remain Victoria’s number one infrastructure priority project ahead of any congestion tax.
Infrastructure Victoria (IV) today released its draft 30-year plan for the state including 134 recommendations totalling $100 billion.
The draft infrastructure strategy proposes a congestion tax which would charge for access to the central area. IV says this would reduce congestion more than any road projects.
But RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said North East Link joining the Metropolitan Ring Road to East Link was the most critical project needed for Victoria to reduce crippling congestion and to connect arterial roads beyond the city. Planning for this project needs to start now.
“The North East Link is the vital “missing link” in Melbourne’s ring road system and must be top of the list. We also need improved public transport before any changed road pricing system is considered.
“Infrastructure Victoria agreed in its report that the North East Link and a rail line to Melbourne Airport are priority projects for completion in the next 15 years, but RACV wants the North East Link to be built within ten years.
“It is also important that the Melbourne airport Skybus service is upgraded and we need vast improvements to our outer metropolitan arterial roads. These outer metropolitan growth areas are also begging for more bus services to provide the transport connections that people need.
“RACV has also been calling for an expansion of the Smart Bus network especially in the Doncaster area, with improved priority lanes on Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street”, he said.
Mr Negus said the East West Link also remained on RACV’s priority list and at the very least; details of the most appropriate East West Link route must be decided on with planning over the next five years.
Mr Negus dismissed a congestion tax as being totally inappropriate and unfair when added on top of all the existing federal and state taxes and charges, including fuel excise and GST.
“Motorists are already over taxed and there is no link between motoring revenue from these taxes and the funding allocated to road and public transport projects.”
“What we need is a properly structured and fair road user pricing system that charges road users for the weight of the vehicle, the distance travelled, location and contribution to congestion with the removal of fuel excise, GST and the other fixed taxes. All of the funds raised by this road user price must be committed to new and improved road and public transport projects,” he said.