AN IPSWICH public transport advocate has branded the Federal Government's carbon pricing scheme as idiotic because it penalises rail but not motor vehicles.
Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said it didn't make sense that car and road transport polluted more but was tax exempt.
Mr Dow said rail will be forced to raise ticket prices or cut services to counter the cost of the carbon tax, even though public transport reduces the number of polluting cars on the roads.
"The carbon tax legislation as presented penalises rail but promotes road transport and cars," he said.
"This will lead to further out-of-control congestion, massive damage to roads, more escalating health costs as road trauma increases, and does nothing to lower the carbon footprint of the transport sector.
"A policy that promotes car use but penalises public and active transport is idiotic."
The Australasian Railway Association has also backed Mr Dow's claims, claiming it punishes environmentally friendly rail and rewards heavy vehicles.
But Blair MP Shayne Neumann, whose government voted the carbon pricing legislation through the lower house this week, said it will have little impact on rail costs.
"The Government's carbon price reforms will have little impact on the cost of train fares," he said.
He said research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed ticket prices are not the reason why more people aren't using public transport, with less than 2% of non-users nominating it as the reason for using their car.
Mr Neumann said the research showed a lack of a regular, reliable and timely service was the primary reason for people not using public transport.
"That's why we're making a historic $7.3 billion investment in the urban rail infrastructure in all the mainland capitals - Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide - as well as the Gold Coast," he said.
He said more than four million households are set to receive assistance worth 20 per cent more than their average expected price impact from a carbon price.
The carbon pricing legislation has to pass through the senate before becoming law.
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