The Australian Financial Review reports that the Australian Automobile Association (which claims to represent seven million members across eight motoring associations) and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (a think tank on infrastructure market reform opportunities which includes government and private sector members) have called upon Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, to hold an inquiry into replacing fuel tax with road user charging.
The report continues:
A joint-letter by the groups to Mr Morrison, obtained by The Australian Financial Review, describes the current transport funding model – based on a 39¢-per-litre excise that raises more than $15 billion a year – as "ad hoc, outdated, fragmented and lacking in transparency".
"It is clear that the current funding model cannot deliver the infrastructure required to address increasing congestion across major cities or meet the needs of Australia's regional communities and industries."
In short, the concerns are:
- Increased inequity of users of the most fuel efficient and electric vehicles not paying;
- Inability to charge for congestion;
- Inability to target charges for specific infrastructure improvements unless they are of a scale to justify dedicated tolls.
A spokesman for the Treasurer recognises the focus in Australia right now on heavy vehicle charging, but with an interest in looking at the merits of charging light vehicles, seeking to:
accelerate work with states and territories on heavy vehicle reform and investigate benefits, costs and potential next steps of options to introduce cost reflective road pricing for all vehicles.