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Sydney could have a ‘congestion tax’ on roads. Here’s who it’ll affect most

Traffic in downtown Sydney. (Photo: Getty)

Public transport commuters in Sydney are well aware that travelling in peak hours will mean they’ll see higher dollar figures on the tap-on -tap-off screen.

But driving to work is by no means the solution, either, what with the road tolls and crawling traffic.

Now, it appears that it won’t just be road tolls and petrol that drivers will need to pay to get into the city: the new chair of the Productivity Commission, Michael Brennan, told SMH that fuel tax could be abolished and replaced by a road user charging system.

This means means drivers could be charged more to enter busy areas of the CBD.

Grattan Institute transport and cities program director Marion Terrill told the SMH these charges would hit those on higher incomes.

"If the NSW government established a cordon charge around the CBD in Sydney, it would predominantly affect wealthier people.

“Far more Sydneysiders drive to work in the CBD from the electorates of Wentworth and Warringah than from Blaxland and Parramatta,” she said.

The typical full-time weekly income for people who drive into the CBD is $2,490.

“That’s $1070 a week more than the typical full-time worker,” she added.

“And in Melbourne, those who drive to the CBD typically earn $1950 a week full-time, about $610 more than the typical full-time worker.”

As cars move away from fuel and towards electric cars, the Productivity Commission and the Parliamentary Budget Office have both warned that the fuel excise will see a shortfall in revenue which will mean less money to fund critical infrastructure.

The Morrison government has set aside $100 billion in the 2019-20 federal budget to spend on critical infrastructure in order to bust congestion.

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