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Why should drivers pay to ease jams?
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It's not right to levy traffic congestion fees on car drivers, especially after the recent reform of the fuel tax system, says an article in Yanzhao Evening News. Excerpt:

The Guangzhou administration will use state-of-the-art method to impose traffic congestion fees on every car driver that enters the city's downtown areas. This has aroused public concern.

The central government recently revamped the fuel tax system, integrating at least six types of fees into a unified fuel tax. As long as a car driver pays the tax, he or she is entitled to use public roads freely. That means congestion fees should have been included in the fuel tax. If another fee is levied, how can people be sure that it'll the last of such charges?

In fact, the central government has for long prevented local governments from imposing inappropriate fees. According to the Law of Administrative Permission, if a local government wants to impose a new type of fees, it should get the approval of the State Council, the country's Cabinet. The local government is responsible for ensuring a smooth traffic flow, and it should not pass on this duty to car drivers.

The central government directed the local governments not to impose any new traffic or road fees soon after it reformed the fuel tax system. Guangzhou would do better to learn from Beijing how to take less controversial measures to ease traffic jams, such as allowing cars with even number plates on the road one day, followed by cars with odd numbers. It can adopt some other methods, too, to ease traffic jams because congestion fees is not a good idea.

(China Daily August 6, 2009)

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