Proposition: "In general, using more congestion charges in crowded transportation networks — such as higher tolls during peak travel times in cities, and peak fees for airplane takeoff and landing slots — and using the proceeds to lower other taxes would make citizens on average better off."
* Collaborator credits: we would like to thank Warwick Davis and Dr Leslie Martin for their expert overviews of the results. We also acknowledge the IGM Forum for the original poll question.
This month we put to the Economic Society of Australia's National Economic Panel the identical question on congestion pricing that was put by University of Chicago's IGM Forum to their US Economic Experts Panel in 2012 and to their European Economic Experts Panel in 2016. This provides a useful indicator of the level of economic consensus on this issue across the continents.
Overview of poll results by Warwick Davis
Three months ago Australia’s population ticked over 25 million – an increase of around 5 million in 8 years. Much of this growth is centred on major cities. The strain placed on transportation infrastructure has hardly gone unnoticed. Barely a week passes without new announcements of road and public transport investments to “bust congestion”. Yet governments of all persuasion are unwilling to make the most of the infrastructure that we already have by considering the introduction of congestion charges.
Overview of poll results by Dr Leslie Martin
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) estimates that avoidable congestion costs Australian capital cities up to $16.5 billion per year, due primarily to private and business time costs. Infrastructure Victoria estimates that by 2030 traffic congestion will cost every resident of Melbourne $1700 per year.