Butson claims “We have a rail network which is supposed to pay its entire cost of operation through the operator at the same time as we have a national roading system which is available for any commercial entity to use at minimal cost when the vast burden of the infrastructure is paid for by the private motorist.” He is talking nonsense. The government is pouring taxpayers money ($200 million) into the rail network, which is hardly being paid by the operator. Given the train has largely lost out to airlines, the road network is only part of the competition and bus operators pay road user charges (which are not “minimal cost”) to use the highway. That RUC easily pays for the damage caused by the buses to the highway, a review carried out five years ago proved that.
Fortunately, the Greens aren’t calling for it to be subsidised, which is surprising but good.