This is one of the letters that I really enjoy reading after a long and tiring day – knowing that regardless of the painful decisions that our government has to make, there will be people who will be appreciating them at the end of the day. It’s also heartening to know that eventually, every Singaporean will stand firm behind the decisions made by our government and be supporting every single move that the government makes.

After all, united we stand, divided we fall. Together, we will go through tough times with all our fellow Singaporeans for the betterment of our future generations to come. People like Pavin makes me feel that I have not slogged in vain.

Kudos to Govt for making tough and painful decisions to make driving more enjoyable

I REFER to the letter, ‘Take holistic approach in easing traffic jams’ by Mr Chris Yong (ST, Feb 6).

I believe that Mr Yong has missed the whole point of our Government’s intention to make driving more expensive in Singapore.

Mr Yong wanted the LTA to build flyovers and tunnels for cars and light vehicles to get faster-moving vehicles off the road more quickly but this would not be feasible due to our space constraint.

Our road network takes up 12 per cent of land space, slightly less than that used for housing. It is an extremely large number and, clearly, continued increase and expansion of the road network is definitely unsustainable.

Also, Mr Yong should be more specific as to where the desired increase of flyovers and tunnels should be constructed.

The next problem is about cost. How would the Government fund those multi-billion dollar road construction projects? Obviously, road tax would have to be further increased if we desire an ideal and flawless transportation network.

The vehicle population of nearly 500,000 in Singapore is frightening and I support the Government in its efforts to up the cost of driving as I am willing and able to pay top-dollar for clearer and cleaner roads. Expanding the supply side of the road network is not the solution to the problem as, over time, the car population would further increase because of more space for cars and, eventually, abysmal gridlock would reappear. It is therefore a catch-22 situation if the Government were to expand the road network.

The demand side then must be targeted by further increasing toll prices and percentage tax on the open-market value of cars.

I do not understand why the Government offers a rebate on the Parf when its intentions are to make driving more unaffordable. The only reason why traffic conditions have only improved slightly after the increase of ERP rates and wider ERP coverage (leading to unhappy voices saying it is ineffective) is that the rates are still not high enough; not yet reaching the optimum level. If, for example, the ERP rate to enter Orchard Road via Cairnhill Road is $200, would anyone still dare to use Cairnhill Road?

I, therefore, applaud the Government for being undeterred in making tough and painful decisions for the betterment of all and, also, on the way to making driving an exclusive and more expensive way of commuting in Singapore.

Pavin Limanont

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 9th February 2008



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