While the recommendations of the Herald's public transport inquiry are a most welcome addition to the debate, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that roads - both existing and new - will have a continuing role to play in Sydney's transport future.
The reality is we rely on our road network to support a significant part of the urban public transport task.
It's important that this current debate doesn't degenerate into 'rail versus road', both in a practical sense and from a funding perspective. We need them both - well funded, well maintained and well planned for future growth.
Roads in themselves are not the cause of Sydney's transport woes. Rather than painting them as the problem, we need to start looking at them as part of the solution. The challenge is how to make our road network work better - both independently and as part of an integrated transport network .
Demand management initiatives like a CBD congestion charge, as recommended by the Herald's inquiry, are worth discussing, but in the broader context of a national debate on how we price, fund and manage our transport infrastructure to extract the maximum value for users and taxpayers.
Chief Executive, Roads Australia
February 15, 2010
Submitted by Mark Bowmer on Tuesday February 16th 2010 2:50pm