A Congestion Charge for Melbourne - is it Time?
Premier Bailleue has been progressing the east-west road tunnel over the last few weeks, going as far as to begin test drilling. They are testing the rock densities and whatnot to ascertain just how many bajillion dollars it would cost to actually build the thing. This initial 'preliminary planning and business case' stage is costing a lazy $15 million of State funds. The Commonwealth is yet to commit anything to the project, a necessary prerequisite before work could begin in earnest.
But of course, as you no doubt know, an enormous cross-city road tunnel isn't exactly high up the christmas wish list of inner city Melbournians. The Greens are furious, launching a campaign against the project spearheaded by Adam Bandt, the federal representative for Melbourne. Urban planners that I speak to seem unanimously against the idea, as our planning education has taught us that more roads doesn't mean less traffic.
Anyway, this is all a segue really. Traffic is indeed a problem in Melbourne. The easiest fix would be to convince people to take trips under ~15k on a bike, and invest spare cash into public transport infrastructure. but social engineering is really damn hard, and convincing governments not invest in roads is even harder.
So, Alan Davies, wants us to look at Congestion Charging. It's been done in Singapore, London, Stockholm and many other cities to good affect. It's a big idea, with bigger political ramifications.
Have a read of Alan's thoughts on the matter here.