28 April –A report by the Australian Conservation Foundation says the nation’s governments have spent at least four times more on building roads and bridges than on public transport infrastructure in the past decade.
While $11.3 billion was spent on national road construction in 2008-9, $5 billion was given away as subsidies by the federal government through the fuel tax credits program. A further $1 billion was spent through the fringe benefits tax to encourage the private use of company cars. A total of $3.3 billion was spent on rail construction in 2008-9.
ACF sustainable cities program manager Monica Richter said more people were using public transport as they felt the pinch of rising petrol prices and concern about carbon pollution increased, but government planning and expenditure was not keeping up with this trend.
“Governments continue to preference road building and reward car drivers. We need governments to tip the scales and prioritise investment in sustainable transport.
“Two thirds of the transport budget should be spent on public and active transport and one third should be spent on roads,” Ms Richter said.