The Urbanist: where’s the money for public transport?

April 5, 2012

Uncategorized

The Urbanist: where’s the money for public transport?Alan Davies of Crikey blog The Urbanist writes:It seems Australian governments don’t want to tax and they don’t want to spend. Given the enormous changes happening in our cities, that’s an untenable strategy.As I noted recently, the revenue foregone by the abolition of indexation of the fuel excise is now estimated to be $5 billion per annum but the government isn’t prepared to do anything about it. At the same time, Wayne Swan isn’t merely afraid to spend, he wants to cut 2.6% out of the Australian economy in 2012-13 so the government can honour a political promise to balance the budget.Tim Colebatch says the impact on the economy would be “equivalent to shutting down the entire electricity industry, all arts and entertainment venues and all airline travel for a year”. It could be catastrophic:”That is 2½ times the fiscal contraction imposed by the Hawke government in 1986-87, or the Howard government in 1996-97. It is the stuff recessions are made of.”The reluctance to tax and spend is likely to have very severe implications for our cities. If they keep growing, if established suburbs continue to densify, and if travellers continue to shift from cars to public transport — all of which seems highly likely — then the demand for urban infrastructure will soar to unheard of heights.

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