Melbourne motorists are feeling like a hunted species today.
Many will have endured significant delays in the current freeway widening works, bought their morning coffee and newspaper only to read the State Labor Government may evaluate a London-style $5 congestion tax for cars entering the CBD.
Meanwhile, the Green Party contesting the upcoming Melbourne City Council elections wants cars to become a minority niche form of transport in the city.
A tax slug ($2 for entering the suburbs which ring the CBD and another $3 for entering the inner-city) is part of a ’30-year vision’ contained in a report by Infrastructure Victoria.
The so-called ‘Transport Pricing Scheme’ addresses the report’s finding that Victoria can no longer just keep building/upgrading roads to address traffic congestion.
Modeling for the report concludes the extra tax on city motorists could cut city traffic congestion by up to 35 percent.
Embarrassingly for State Premier Daniel Andrews, the report endorses an earlier study - headed by Sir Rod Eddington and published in 2008 - which identified the proposed East-West Link freeway as the most urgently needed congestion-busting new road in Melbourne.
After being elected, Mr Andrews personally scrapped the East-West Link and binned already-executed contracts – at a cost to taxpayers of more the $1.2-billion.
Meanwhile, the Herald-Sun newspaper, reporting on the push by the Greens for the Melbourne City Council elections, quotes the party’s election policy as stating: “Car travel should evolve to become a specialised mode of transport whilst public transport, walking and cycling, will continue to be the most dominant and efficient modes of transport for travel to and within the city.”
It is claimed that in order to reduce the number of private cars using city streets the Greens will push the State Government to increase its off-street parking congestion tax.
And the Greens also want to cut the speed limit in Melbourne’s CBD to 30km/h, tear-up more car parking spaces and transform them into bicycle parking, abolish the Lord Mayor’s car and insist Council employees walk, cycle or use public transport when on the move for their work-related activities.
MORE: Ex-Highway Patrol Officer Turned MP Says ‘Speed Up’ On Victorian Highways
MORE News & Reviews: Melbourne | Congestion | Taxes