BCTA warns province not to double-dip

LANGLEY, B.C. — The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) is acting upon the results of a recent member survey and appealing to the province not to slap more taxes on road users.

The BCTA indicated in a recent letter that current fuel and other vehicle-related taxes should be enough to support road infrastructure investments and those funds should be directed toward highways before new taxes are implemented.

In a letter to Transportation Minister, Judith Reid, BCTA president Paul Landry writes: "the Ministry of Transportation has a responsibility to invest more of our road user taxes (fuel taxes, licensing fees, etc.) in our highway system. To date less than 50 per cent of total federal, provincial and local road taxes are currently invested in road construction, improvements or maintenance."

Landry goes on to say "Not only is this an issue of value for taxes paid, but it is also a sound economic decision since our provincial highway system plays a critical role in terms of B.C.’s economic health."

The letter also stats BCTA supports private-sector financing in addition to government funding of highway projects, but not as a replacement. The lobby group also says while it’s willing to accept that tolls will be more widely used through the province, it’s key to only use tolls to pay for new highways, not existing ones, and the new highways must result in "clear and demonstrable benefits."

The BCTA also weighed in on the ongoing debate regarding the future of the Coquihalla. The letter states the BCTA does not agree in selling or leasing the province’s only toll highway.

"We do not want to rent what we have already paid for," says Landry in the letter, noting it results in double taxation.

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