As Australia moves through the first quarter of the 21st century, the need to find new ways to fund essential transport infrastructure and services is becoming increasingly urgent.
This is attributable to the collision of several important elements:
- expectations of a good level of service on both roads and public transport continue to increase, as does demand for new capacity
- rapidly increasing costs to provide and maintain services and infrastructure in Australia, far exceeding the rate of increase in CPI and in taxation revenues
- the call on government funds for law and order, welfare, health and educational services continues to increase, reducing the proportion of funds available for transport infrastructure and services
- user pays pricing reforms have proved difficult to introduce in the transport sector. This means roads remain free to use, revenue from traditional tax payer sources has been increasingly stretched, and traffic demand growth continues unabated.