A CONGESTION TAX THAT DOESN’T REDUCE CONGESTION
Victor P Taffa
The Harbour Bridge congestion tax has done nothing to reduce congestion according to the RTA’s own statistics and is simply a slug on Northern Beaches motorists, Manly MP Mike Baird said today.
“These latest statistics from the RTA prove what we all suspected – the Government’s ‘time of day tolling’ for Harbour Bridge motorists is a sham.” Mr. Baird said.
“The NSW Government introduced this new tax in the Mini Budget claiming it was the key to ‘unclog the city’, but now we know it’s nothing more than highway robbery.”
“The RTA’s own figures reveal no noticeable decline in motorists crossing the bridge on weekday mornings since the tax was introduced.” Mr. Baird said.
According to the RTA’s website, the number of motorists crossing the Harbour Bridge between 5:30 am to 10:30 am was 44,700 in 2008 (before the congestion tax was introduced) and 44,618 in 2009 (when the congestion tax was in place)*.
“The increased toll has done nothing to reduce congestion and Northern Beaches motorists are right to be white with rage that they are paying for another botched plan.”
“The NSW Government simply hiked up tolls and dressed up the rationale for a new tax by saying it would unclog the roads – well, like their multiple transport plans, this just hasn’t happened.” Mr. Baird said.
“Many Northern Beaches motorists have no option but to drive because of woeful access to public transport and until the NSW Government admits public transport is the key, Sydney’s chronic traffic congestion will remain.”
“The Transport Minister has said the many extra millions raised from the increased toll would go towards buses, so where are they?”
“With this in mind we renew our calls for the Government to investigate a Bus Rapid Transit system for the Northern Beaches as a matter of priority, with research showing it would likely convert 15-20% of car users to public transport.” Mr. Baird said.
Since 1995 there have been numerous policy backflip and project cancellations for heavy rail expansion under the New South Wales Labor Government.
This also does not take in the $100 Million lost on the T Card system that was replaced 10 years later with My Card.
The Government will trumpet the Epping-Chatswood Railway however that was announced by former Transport Minister Carl Scully as the Westmead-Chatswood Railway and the cost doubled in price for half the distance.
The Government also announced a Bondi-Bondi Beach Railway and new railway stations for the Rocks and the University of Western Sydney, Werrington.
Further to this has been the plan to close the Newcastle Railway.
The biggest transport planning debacle by the Government has been Metro Rail.
The creation of the Metro Rail Authority by an Act of Parliament has been an expensive waste of money. The Metro Rail plans are ill-conceived and totally ignore any notion that private industry is invited to invest in the expansion of Rail Corp’s network.
In the years ahead heavy and light rail must expand otherwise Sydney will grind to a halt.