Hey Gladys, can I get free car rego if I use more public transport?
The NSW State Government recently announced a toll relief policy, whereby frequent toll road users get free car rego. The policy was launched by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Here are the details:
- Drivers will be eligible for free vehicle registration if they spend more than $25 a week, on average, over a 12 month period on tolls.
- The rego rebate will be available for all standard privately registered cars, utes, 4 wheel-drives and motorcycles from July 1, 2018 (factoring in your toll spend from July 1, 2017).
Seriously, who comes up with this?
Do politicians and others in government wake up each day and think "How can we implement policies which don't really make sense, and make the job of government even more complex into the future?" It would certainly seem that way.
I have a few better ideas. Before you get up in arms, I am not seriously proposing any of them as they are not at all fleshed out. My point is, let's try and aim for policy that actually makes sense. This toll rebate does not really make sense to me: it just sounds like vote buying.
Implement a genuine 'user pays' system
One that is, you know, based on how much each vehicle actually uses the public road network. Oh wait - that would actually make sense and be far too complicated to implement!
Toll roads purport to be a 'user pays' system, but they are not. For example, I just drove across the state of NSW on a 3,000km road trip, yet I did not pay a single toll. I can assure you the condition of the roads were generally excellent, some were being re-surfaced, and I barely saw another vehicle. Note: roads are a mix of state, federal & local government responsibility (see map).
We need good infrastructure (including as above in regional NSW), but maybe those who use the entire road network more, should pay more.
Get rid of the obsession with toll roads
Focus on building an integrated transport system that puts the right infrastructure in the right locations. One that does not lead to big profits by businesses who are probably run by your Liberal Party mates. And one that looks at the true costs of transport (including pollution, and the cost of congestion on productivity).
That's not a rally cry for more free highways in case you misread me. Freeways and rock solid public transport should get the same, measured, priority.
Give public transport users a car rego rebate
I started writing this on the train to the office. I also own a car and I can get to the office quicker by driving. But because I place a high cost on driving (pollution, congestion, productivity) I take the train when I can. And there isn't even a toll road between my home and office, so you can't say I am only acting in self interest to avoid tolls.
Oh hang on sec - I actually work from home most days per week. I walk or cycle to the shops when I head out. Can I get a rebate for that, too!? Just think how much I am saving the other motorists of NSW in reduced congestion and pollution by working from home!