A report in The Australian newspaper has warned of dire consequences to the economy through inadequate infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Audit Report has forecast travel times in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra will grow at staggering 20 per cent on average each year, over the next 20 years.

The expanding commuting times will eat into Australians’ quality of life and work performance. The report put this cost at a whopping $53 billion a year by 2031.

Australia needs to start planning and invsting in infrastructure now to avoid the inevitable gridlock from ballooning populations.

Chairman of Infrastructure Australia Mark Birrell said in The Australian that unless action was taken by the government to prepare for this congestion productivity and living standards would suffer.

Roads with high congestion, like Sydney’s Pennant Hills Road (from Paramatta to Hornsby), was, in 2011, deemed to cost $3.53 million per kilometre in lost productivity.

By 2031 the Mitchell Freeway Corridor, in Western Australia, will have the dubious honour of being Australia’s worst road; costing $1 million per kilometre in lost productivity.

The report suggested the average travel time on Sydney roads will increase by 12 per cent. While, at the same time, metropolitan trains will have reached ‘crush capacity – leaving commuters between a rock and a hard place when it comes to travel decisions.

Melbourne traffic times were predicted to rise by 15 per cent; while the already struggling public transport network was estimated to increase by an unthinkable 121 per cent increase.

The report, however, stopped short at suggesting ways to fund the much needed infrastructure. Public transport experts, though, have already suggested the imposition of higher tolls on more roads.

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