The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
Clover’s vision: Tax cars
SYDNEY Lord Mayor Clover Moore has justified a trip halfway around the world, staying in the luxurious northern Italian resort area of Lake Como, by presenting a report telling ratepayers they need a congestion tax.
During the five-day trip, which cost ratepayers $20,000, Ms Moore visited Italy’s fashion capital Milan and stopped off in Dubai on her way home.
She attended the 100 Resili- ent Cities Network Leaders Summit in the picturesque Lake Como town of Bellagio, home to Hollywood star George Clooney.
The conference discussed the future of living in big cities.
Ms Moore’s report for City of Sydney, tendered at Monday’s council meeting, highlighted the success of a congestion taxes in cities such as Milan, London and Stock- holm. The Lord Mayor praised Milan’s scheme, which operates between 7.30am and 7.30pm on most weekdays.
“Vehicles entering the zone generally pay €5, although the 77,000 residents living within the zone have 40 free accesses per year and a discounted rate of €2,” Ms Moore said. In London, the standard congestion charge is £11.50 a day — almost $24.
It is not the first time Ms Moore has advocated a congestion tax. In October she said a congestion tax could solve Sydney’s woes: “We need this sort of innovative thinking and commitment Sydney-wide. Traffic congestion costs Sydney $5 billion a year and by 2020 that will soar to $8 billion.”
But when she was asked by The Daily Telegraph this week if she would advocate for the scheme in Sydney, Ms Moore stopped short.
“A congestion charge on traffic through the city centre makes a lot of sense but we have to get public transport right first,” she said.
“Investing in public transport will alleviate congestion and free up road space for people who have to drive.”
In her report to councillors she said the money earned through a congestion charge could be spent on improving bike infrastructure, just as it had been in Milan.
“In the first year the program provided over €13 million to increase services on the Milan Metro and surface public transport, and to expand the BikeMi bike hire scheme,” her report said.
City of Sydney Liberal councillor Edward Mandla criticised the report, saying the Lord Mayor needed to spend more time focusing on better parking and less time on “this crazy green program”.
“The City of Sydney’s parking strategy is in disarray because of the constant meddling of the Lord Mayor,” he said. He said the council should instead focus on “taking leadership on parking”, which would include better signs and development of a prepay parking app.