User-pays charging for trucks needed, govt MP says

By: Brad Gardner

Federal MP believes directly charging trucks based on vehicle type and distance must happen

User-pays charging for trucks needed, govt MP says
Government MP Angus Taylor believes the fuel excise is not a sustainable option to fund road projects.


A future charging system for heavy vehicles should be built around distance and vehicle type, according to a Federal Government backbencher.  

Liberal MP Angus Taylor, who holds the New South Wales seat of Hume, believes relying on revenue from the fuel excise to fund roads is unsustainable in the long-term.

Taylor’s support for reform came during a parliamentary debate on a proposal to index the fuel excise.  

"We should also consider progressively shifting the basis for charging away from use of fuel, to distance and vehicle type, particularly for heavy vehicles," he says.

"This will ensure that changes in fuel efficiencies do not undermine road investment in the future."  

Taylor believes a direct charging model will open the door to putting a price on congestion in Australia’s cities.  

"It will also open the possibility of congestion charging in the cities… It [congestion] is a problem that can be solved partly by the huge new investments that have been made by this government, but we also need to look further at our charging model, as the experts are suggesting," he says.  

Work is currently underway on the development of a new charging model for trucking, with one option being mass-distance-location pricing whereby trucks are fitted with devices that charge them based on the weight they carry, the distance they travel and the roads they use.  

The trucking industry favours fuel-based charging but opponents believe the development of more fuel-efficient engines will reduce the amount of revenue governments can recoup.  

Taylor also believes revenue raised from the fuel excise and state registration fees should be directly tied to road funding.  

"There are a couple of areas in particular where I think further work is required and I am sure that work will be done in the coming years. First of all, there is a strong case for fuel excise charges and also state registration fees to be hypothecated to road funding," he says.

"We are in a situation where the government has to fund roads from consolidated revenue and the continual tussle has become a serious issue."  

The Federal Government wants to index the fuel excise and quarantine the revenue for road projects but it does not have the necessary support in the Senate to introduce the measure.

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