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Environmental and Social Taxes: The Case of Road Transport


  • I thank Flavio Menezes and Forum participants for useful comments.

Harry Clarke, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia. Email:


A concern of the “Environmental and Social Taxes” component of the Tax Forum was on issues of political feasibility rather than the efficiency arguments for making various reforms. This paper follows this approach by focusing on road pricing reforms – particularly congestion pricing. Congestion, road damage and traffic accidents are important sources of external road use costs in Australia. A major concern is gaining public acceptance for and then, on this basis, implementing such reforms. Many criticisms of road pricing and other social tax reforms that were made at the Forum seemed unaware of the substantial work that exists on these issues.