Call for FBT crackdown to fund PT options

A leading public transport advocate has called for funds generated from the proposed FBT crackdown to support PT options

Call for FBT crackdown to fund PT options
Call for FBT crackdown to fund PT options

By Ian Porter | May 19, 2011

The $1 billion of cash saved by the federal Government crackdown on the abuse of fringe benefits tax should be used to fund improvements in traffic flow in our most congested cities, according to a global public transport advocate.

Adopting novel solutions like ‘tidal flow’ traffic control on major arteries could go along way to easing traffic snarls and helping public transport perform better, says International Association of Public Transport’s Australian-arm Executive Director Peter Moore.

"We have been pressing to have fringe benefits tax removed for 15 years.

"Linking the tax paid to the distance driven was always a nonsense policy. Now we have saved $947 million which we can use to improve public transport services."

He says the elimination of the FBT meant there was now a more level playing field for private cars and public transport. While he was not expecting many of the affected drivers of company cars to suddenly start using public transport, he said the money saved certainly could be put to good use.

One of the more interesting approaches to improving peak hour flows would be to adopt the tidal flow approach and make some major roads leading to the city one way in the morning peak hour and then one way the other way in the evening.

King’s Way in Melbourne is similar to this, with the middle lane of five switching from one direction to the other between morning and evening peaks. And there is the Southern Expressway in Adelaide, at 21 kilometres the world’s longest reversible one-way freeway.

Moore says the tidal flow approach would help buses – and trams in Melbourne – keep to their timetables and deliver a better service.

Improving the lot of train commuters in Melbourne and Sydney was a more expensive and longer-term issue, he said.

Melbourne really needed a duplication of the City Loop in order to run more trains in peak hour, but that solution was at least 15 years away, even if a decision was made now.

"We just have to find ways to make better use of what we have got," he says.

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