Commuters who drive to and from the CBD typically earn much more than most. Concerns about the fairness of charging drivers who use these busy roads at peak times are overblown.
To cut emissions within the 12 years or so we have left to avoid disastrous global warming, we will need to change our old transport habits, using a combination of strategies to achieve this.
The real challenge is finding appropriate ways to invest in public transport that will not only take pressure off the system but also support improved travel on all modes, including cars.
Traffic congestion is the main cost that cars create when they use existing roads. Road use charges are a more efficient and fairer way to cover the cost and help ensure traffic flows.
A city-wide experiment suggests well-designed road use charges could ease congestion by encouraging people to drive at different times, take other routes or use other transport.
Australians are crying out for political leadership. One way our leaders can redeem themselves is by getting to work on a complete shake-up of how we pay for and use transport infrastructure.
Charging people to drive has been the dream of policy wonks – serving politicians tend to see it as political poison. So when federal minister Paul Fletcher raises it, that's a step forward.