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9News has obtained a confidential report called the Future Transport Strategy prepared for the state’s cabinet.
The report aims to introduce a congestion tax to encourage more Sydney drivers to swap their cars for bikes when motoring around the CBD.
“Currently, road users do not pay the true costs of driving… charging for road use at certain locations or times can encourage customers… to choose other options,” the report said.
The proposal is similar to one currently in place in the UK where drivers pay a $25 daily fee to drive within 25 square kilometres of the city of London.
In Sydney, 25 square kilometres would encompass Glebe and Camperdown to Rushcutters Bay and Centennial Park as well as Circular Quay to Redfern and Waterloo.
Drivers would be charged through a ring of cameras between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and midday to 6pm on weekends.
The NSW Labor party has condemned the congestion charge proposal, claiming motorists are already being slugged too much.
“You’re going to have this ridiculous situation where people will be on their bikes on the M2 because of congestion charging,” opposition leader Chris Minns said.
“They can’t afford to pay a cent more, let alone a daily congestion charge every time they enter the CBD.”
NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said the proposal goes against the government’s desire to bring people back into the city.
“If we want to encourage people in the short term to come bank into the CBD because the CBD is struggling, maybe this is not the best idea,” Khoury said.
Not only does the government proposal suggest a congestion charge but it also intends to introduce new speed limits such as 30 kilometres per hour zones in neighbourhood road networks and local centres.
Khoury added the proposal for new blanket speed limits “does not work”.
“You’ve got to use science and data and research and history when you are setting speed limits,” Khoury said.
Minister for Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes refused to comment publicly and cited cabinet confidentiality.
Stokes added the report is only a draft and is yet to be adopted by the NSW government.
“Yesterday’s draft is tomorrow’s policy, this government’s approach to tolls is motorists pay more,” Minns said.
Can a cyclist follow a motorbike when filtering?