Thursday, October 29, 2009

City roads look to tax as a solution to cut congestion

City roads look to tax as a solution to cut congestion

Motorists may soon have to pay a tax to take their
vehicles into the central business district areas

Shwetha S. Bangalore

As city roads remain perpetually congested, the transport department mulls the introduction of a tax as a measure to reduce congestion and gain additional revenue, while also tackling pollution.
The number of vehicles added to the city each day has been steadily increasing each year. The proposal is to introduce a 'congestion tax' in the city's Central Business District (CBD). A final decision on its introduction will be taken by the government.
Official sources at the Road Transport Office said that a survey conducted recently had indicated that there are nodal points in the city where traffic converges each day, causing bottlenecks. The plan is thus to tax those who use their vehicles in these areas. A source said that a survey conducted in 2006 found that nearly 6 lakh vehicles ply in the CBD each day.
The proposal is to tax all vehicles entering the CBD. Anyone wishing not to pay the tax will be provided the facility of parking outside the CBD, so that he or she can then take public transport.
The plan is also to build multi-storey buildings in the vicinity of the CBD that will allow parking space for all those vehicles whose owners would like to avoid the tax. Residents in the CBD area who use their vehicles here frequently will be allowed the opportunity to pay the tax once a month.
Officials opine that the revenue thus generated could help in contributing to the improvement of the city's infrastructure. The survey of 2006 had shown that Trinity Circle, Cauvery Theatre Road, West of Chord Road and Banashankari witnessed the densest flow of traffic each day — all of these fall in the CBD.
Although the transport department will be proposing the introduction of this tax, a call on whether or not it should be imposed will be taken by the government.
A more detailed analysis of surveys undertaken will be done before a final decision is arrived at--a survey conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore had also made estimates about the flow of vehicles in different parts of the city, and this too will be studied.


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