Thursday, December 01, 2005

Australian Labor Party Battles Sprawl


A couple of interesting articles from the Queensland Courier-Mail point to proposals to quell sprawl in Australian metro areas. The first discusses a policy paper to be released by the opposition Labor leader Kim Beazley that advocates increasing urban core redevelopment at the expense of the "McMansions" that dot may suburban areas. The policy paper appears to have not yet been posted on the opposition website, making it difficult to assess the proposal.

In Queensland, Labor Primer Peter Beattie is proposing that drivers parking in the Brisbane Central Business District pay a tax that would be reinvested in public transport. Unlike the London congestion charge, this plan would not tax people who drive through the CBD--only those parking.

Efforts to more effectively charge users for the true costs of automobile travel are catching on, especially given the success of London's experiment. I am normally wary of regressive taxation schemes, but when the revenue generated is dedicated to improving mobility technologies that can be used cheaply by the public they are sensible. It is good to see that Beattie's proposal also advocates for bulking up the bicycling infrastructure.