OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has asked federal transport chief David Collenette to end rumors of a stealthy plot to use taxpayer dollars to shift Hwy. 401 freight to trains.
The Alliance was responding to yesterday’s media reports suggesting the federal government is considering a proposal from CP Rail to divert traffic from truck to train using taxpayer dollars to pay for new rail lines.
This comes on the heels of an earlier proposal made by CN president Paul Tellier that would use federal funds to subsidize rail shippers.
While details of this latest proposal are sketchy, they point to a $2-billion scheme to subsidize railway intermodal operations — an amount equivalent to what truckers and motorists in Ontario pay in federal fuel taxes each year.
The reports quote government sources as saying it is being pushed from within.
David Bradley, chief executive officer of the CTA, says the reports are creating confusion and concern in the industry.
“A few months ago, transport minister Collenette asked our industry to join him in developing a ‘blueprint’ for transportation in Canada,” says Bradley. “In light of persistent rumors suggesting that Transport Canada is pushing for rail-friendly subsidy programs, we’re left wondering whether the minister’s mind is not already made up.”
Bradley says that the minister owes the men and women who work in the trucking industry some assurances that their taxes aren’t going to be used to put them out of a job.