Came across this rather interesting article about the ERP helping Singaporean own cars.

THE use of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) has made it possible for more Singaporeans to own cars.

Responding to a question for written reply in Parliament on Monday, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said this is reflected in the growth of Singapore’s car population from 680,000 in 1997 to 800,000 in 2006.

Dr Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC, had asked the Minister if the ERP scheme has met the objectives that it was meant to achieve and if it has improved the traffic flow on expressways especially during peak hours.

In his reply, Mr Lim said since its implementation in 1998, ERP has been effective in maintaining average travel speeds on priced roads within the optimal speed range through regular reviews and rate adjustments. For example, average speeds on the expressways have remained at above 45km/h during peak hours.

“The use of ERP to manage traffic has made it possible for more Singaporeans to own cars than we otherwise could, and our vehicle population has grown from 680,000 in 1997 to 800,000 in 2006,” he added.

“It has also allowed the Government to rely more on car usage charges and less on car ownership taxes to manage traffic demand, and as a result, vehicle ownership taxes have been reduced. ”

The Ministers said the government will continue with a holistic and integrated approach using all the tools available to keep the roads smooth-flowing. These include building more roads, regulating vehicle growth, implementing traffic engineering solutions, managing traffic demand through ERP and promoting the use of public transport.

Hmm. I am no economist, but doesn’t increasing ownership of cars increase the revenue for the government through COE, road tax and more ERP revenue? If that’s the case, what’s the boasting about? Erm… I am a little lost. Or is it about improving the traffic flow? But it looks just as bad to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am just trying to see the point of the article.

Source: Straits Times, 22 October 2007



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