Infrastructure must be national priority to address looming crisis
The peak national motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), has called for stronger investment and reform of transport infrastructure funding as a national priority to address a looming crisis across the country.
"The current approach to road funding is clearly broken with crippling congestion in the cities and inadequate and unsafe highways in many rural areas," AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.
"Reform of current approaches to funding for our roads and transport infrastructure is a national priority," he said.
The AAA is today hosting the Infrastructure Solutions for the 21st Century forum at Parliament House, bringing together stakeholders to discuss the growing infrastructure gap. As a highlight of the forum the AAA and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) have jointly released a discussion paper 'Road Pricing and Transport Infrastructure Funding: Reform Pathways for Australia'.
"The report highlights that new approaches to road funding must be examined that provide a better relationship between taxes and expenditure," Mr McKellar said.
"There is no doubt that Australians who drive a car are not getting a fair return for the taxes they pay with no link between motoring taxes and road funding," Mr McKellar said.
The AAA supports moves to trial direct road pricing, or user-charging, as a means of delivering fairer outcomes as part of a comprehensive plan for reform of road funding.
"Motorists will not accept paying more than they currently do," Mr McKellar said.
"Road user charging should only be implemented as part of genuine reform and must not be imposed on top of existing taxes and charges such as fuel excise," he said.
"Infrastructure must be targeted to areas identified with the greatest need; delivering safer roads in rural and regional areas; improved productivity along our major freight routes; and to address growing congestion in our cities," Mr McKellar said.