Trucking doesn't need 'crap' congestion tax: Lovel


VTA boss questions the need for congestion charging, saying improvements can be achieved without taxes

By Brad Gardner | May 24, 2010

Victorian Transport Association Chief Executive Phil Lovel has questioned the need for congestion charging, saying results can be achieved without higher taxes.

Lovel has criticised calls for congestion charging, which Treasury Secretary Ken Henry claims will improve the road network.

According to Lovel, congestion can be resolved without resorting to wholesale reform.

He says customers should allow deliveries in off-peak times and combine deliveries when ordering half loads to cut the number of truck movements.

"That’s quite feasible," Lovel says, adding that governments should also look at improving the timing of traffic lights to improve vehicle flows.

"There’s no need to impose more costs on the industry to make us change. We can change by working together."

Lovel has also called for local governments to stop banning trucks from roads, a policy he says forces drivers to use lengthy alternative routes and adds to congestion.

"We gotta fight congestion charges, which are crap," he says.

The Rudd Government earlier this month released the recommendations of Henry’s review of Australia taxation system.

The report recommends peak-hour pricing for major cities, on tolled roads and other congested parts of the road network.

Henry proposes a charge that varies according to the time of day.
"In practice, this means a variable tax that rises at peak periods, falls away as usage falls, and zero when there is no congestion," the review says.

The review argues a congestion tax will lead to fewer delays during peak time, shorter travel trips and less pollution because demand on the road network will reduce.

It also wants charges determined by a vehicle’s size.

"For example, a motorbike takes up significantly less space on the road than an articulated truck and would be charged accordingly," the review states.

The Government has deferred a decision on congestion charging because a sub-group of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is currently looking at road pricing reform.

The group is due to report its findings in December next year.


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