“We welcome the Government’s comprehensive response to Infrastructure Australia’s 15-year infrastructure plan, particularly the decision to undertake a study into RUC next year,” said Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt.
“This is a significant step towards genuine and much-needed reform of transport funding and pricing.
“However, we’d like to see the terms of reference include a trial of RUC technologies on public roads to help inform the study and bring the community squarely into the process.
“Transurban has already conducted a private trial on Melbourne roads. We think a government-initiated voluntary trial of light vehicles could be set up with the support of at least one of the States.
“Trials have been an important part of RUC debates in overseas jurisdictions, particularly the United States. It gives the community a voice at the earliest stage and allows for various technologies and policy settings to be tested.”
Mr Stuart-Watt said the imminent arrival of automated vehicles made road funding and pricing reform even more of an imperative.
“The arrival of automated vehicles calls into question the whole notion of private vehicle ownership – and with it, traditional road revenue sources such as registration and licensing,” he said.
“Whatever happens in the future, roads will still be here and we’ll still have to maintain them. We need to have a sustainable funding solution in place that ensures everyone who uses or benefits from our roads is contributing to their upkeep.”