Thursday, March 3, 2016

Drivers tracked by GPS and charged for road use in new traffic congestion resolution plan

Drivers could be tracked with GPS systems in a new user-pays system to bust traffic congestion. Picture: David Crosling/AAP
DRIVERS would be electronically tracked and charged by what roads and time they travelled under a radical user-pays system to bust traffic congestion.

A proposal being pushed by Australia’s infrastructure authority would fund new roads and public transport projects by directly charging road users for the kilometres they covered.

Car users would no longer have to pay annual registration fees and fuel taxes would be slashed.

The head of Infrastructure Australia outlined the vision, which could become reality within a decade, at a Senate inquiry on Tuesday night.


Phil Davies, the chief executive officer of Infrastructure Australia, said future revenue models for major projects would likely replace regos and fuel tax with a “pay-as-you go system”.

“You basically have GPS in a vehicle and you track where people are driving and at what time of the day and charge them accordingly,” Mr Davies told the inquiry into Scrutiny of Government Budget Measures.

Mr Davies said a similar project was currently on trial in Oregon while pilot schemes were are also under way in Canada and Singapore.

He said Infrastructure Australia’s had asked the Federal Government to commission either the Productivity Commission or his own organisation to conduct an inquiry into the scheme to “clearly articulate the problem trying to be solved”.

User-pay traffic systems have been recommended by the Henry tax review and the Harper competition review but consecutive governments have baulked at the suggestion.

Those supportive of the scheme, which some have dubbed as big-brother style “eye in the sky”. have warned trials and public inquiries were needed to gauge the social implications and challenges of moving to “user charging” vehicles.

Treasury secretary John Fraser backed the concept this week telling to infrastructure investors it was an inevitable solution for governments looking for more stable and fairer ways of funding roads, bridges and tunnels.

“It could provide a more efficient way to raise road funding than the existing cocktail of fuel excise, registration fees and general revenue, which do not directly correlate with the costs individual users place on the system or the levels of investment required,” Mr Fraser said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said a user pay system had some attractions, but warned it had to be done in a way that was “equitable and is fair”. 2 Mar 2016

To monitor and restrict the movements of the people.

All according to plan on the Prison Isle of Australia.

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