Transport professionals need to find innovative ways to deliver transport projects in the face of demands for do more for less.
These challenges have resulted from:
- strong passenger and freight transport demand
- governments at all levels tighten budgets, to get their finances in order
- costs to provide and maintain services and infrastructure have been rising
- revenue from traditional tax sources is being used to meet other government priorities
- users are seeking improved service levels for transport by cars, trucks and public transport
- user pays is not on the political agenda.
How can we think differently about how to resource transport programs?
Can we afford to maintain current transport service levels? what additional sources of funding are worth exploring?
Potential new sources of funding
1. Private financing – although recent toll road experience has not been good. Governments have to rethink how concession arrangements are structured
2. Recycle assets – sale of government owned infrastructure and reinvesting the proceeds in part into transport. This is currently being actively considered and the Australian Government is offering funding bonus incentives to states. It will be interesting to see how the community responds to these proposals.
3. Congestion charging – where there are excessive travel delay costs in parts of the city network, like the successful schemes in London and Singapore.
4. Road user charging – to replace fuel tax revenue, like is currently being considered with the Oregon road user charging trial.
5. Value capture – to use property value uplift to repay the cost of the transport investment.
Doing more for less
A framework for doing more for less means:
- having a results focus to deliver priority outcomes
- new approaches to funding following on from the above discussion
- improved asset management to reduce life cycle costs
- application of demand management to encourage changes in travel behaviour and more use of active transport
- getting more out of existing infrastructure and services in effectively moving people and freight
- optimising urban growth management and integrating transport and land use.