Road user charges a good idea

Use market mechanisms to reduce congestion and pay for new infrastructure

A draft government policy for road tolls has aroused much discussion.

The communication minister has clarified that the proposed tolls will only be brought in to use and pay for new highways, and not for existing roads and bridges across the country.

This is an idea that could have many merits, if it is properly implemented and enforced.

Market mechanisms can help ensure that those who use and benefit most from new roads will pay the most towards their construction, maintenance and improvement. Congestion can also be reduced by requiring road users to pay a fair price, and funds built up to pay for new infrastructure.

One of the factors contributing to existing traffic congestion and pollution is the fact that diesel and gas are currently subsidised by the government.  This is needless on the most part, as car owners have to be able to afford high taxes in order to import vehicles in the first place.

A country of Bangladesh’s population density should not be subsidising road congestion.

Instead the government should be looking further at road tolls and similar mechanisms such as congestion charges to raise the price for road usage, in order to speed up overall journey times.

Such a policy needs to be joined up with improving and investing in modern buses and trains so that more commuters are tempted out of their cars, because it is in an attractive as well as a less taxed option.

Source: Dhaka Tribune


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