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The Victorian government has rejected any potential for charging motorists a ‘congestion’ fee when driving into Melbourne’s inner suburbs and CBD, as proposed this week by independent advisory body Infrastructure Victoria.

Part of the firm’s 30-year strategy draft for Victoria’s transport needs, the Infrastructure Victoria report says a congestion levy could offset the cost of adding new roads to the network while also reducing the amount of vehicles entering the inner suburbs and CBD.

The proposed tax could see motorists charged up to $5 to enter the CBD – a combination of a $2 entry fee into the first zone which includes inner suburbs like South Yarra, Parkville and the Docklands, along with a $3 inner zone which includes the CBD and borders with Carlton and Richmond (see map above).

Other recommendations include building a ‘North East Link’, connecting Victoria’s M80 Metropolitan Ring Road to the M3 Eastern Freeway, an expansion of the Regional Rail Link and a rail link to the Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine.

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The proposal also encourages the government to pursue the construction of the East West Link, which the Andrews government scrapped – costing taxpayers around $1 billion.

Despite the proposal, Premier Daniel Andrews has come out saying the congestion tax doesn’t align with the government’s policies.

“We’ve had a very consistent policy about not tolling existing roads,” he said. “That remains our policy and that won’t be changing.”

However, Mr Andrews voiced his support for the North East Link, which he labelled “the missing link” in the city’s northeast.

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In addition to the road and traffic proposals, Infrastructure Victoria’s draft strategy also outlines numerous developments to the existing public transport network, including more bus services, extensions to the rail network, and major investments into dedicated affordable housing.

What do you think about Infrastructure Victoria’s proposal? Let us know in the comments below.

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