Do motorists pay their way?

1st April 2014

The myth that motorist pay their way has been busted again. Tristan Edis writes in Climate Spectator (13/3/14):

"The Productivity Commission, in its new report, has rung the bell on the problem that governments are simply not collecting enough revenue from motorists to fund the costs they impose.

"According to the government’s transport and infrastructure economics group, BITRE, in 2011-12 total road expenditure by all levels of government and the private sector amounted to $19.5 billion. In comparison, the revenue collected from fuel excise, registration charges, drivers' licence fees, stamp duty and tolls amounted to $18.0 billion.

"Of course, this also doesn’t take into account other costs imposed by using our cars, most particularly the impact on the community’s health. The impact of air pollution was estimated by the same government body at about $2.7 billion per annum in the year 2000. You’d need to scale this up considerably to account for passage of time and population plus, most importantly, the fact that this study was narrowly focused, likely missing a range of other costs imposed by pollution’s effect on health.

"In addition, there are the costs of car accidents. BITRE estimated that the social cost of road crashes in 2006 was $27.1 billion, as broken down below. Some of these costs are directly recovered from motor vehicle users (for example, vehicle damage costs and insurance) but a large proportion are not."

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