TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has taken a stance against a Metrolinx plan that would regionally raise diesel taxes by five cents per litre, with funds going towards transit initiatives in the Toronto and Hamilton areas.
“The trucking industry believes in paying its fair share for the infrastructure it uses. However, Metrolinx is a transit plan; it does not address the equally compelling need to maintain and upgrade the region’s or the province’s network of roads, highways and bridges,” said OTA president and CEO, David Bradley.
The OTA contends that tax revenues generated from commercial diesel fuel taxes and heavy truck registrations should be allocated to a dedicated provincial trust fund for road infrastructure.
“That’s where the trucking industry’s fuel tax dollars should be going,” Bradley said. “Truckers should not be expected to pay for transit. Unlike motorists who have a choice in terms of whether to drive or take transit, truckers have no such choice.”
The OTA also pointed out Ontario’s truckers are dealing with a 70% increase in commercial plate fees. “No other sector has been subjected to such an increase in user fees,” Bradley claimed.
Meanwhile, many heavy truck users – including mobile cranes, vacuum trucks, concrete pumpers, water trucks, etc. – are exempted from normal registration and licensing requirements. The OTA suggested the province should look there for a source of funding, noting this omission could be costing about $50 million per year. The exemption, according to OTA, stems from an old law exempting road-building machines from paying provincial registration fees.
“These vehicles are not asphalt spreaders, bulldozers and the like, which are clearly road-building machines that operate exclusively in construction zones,” Bradley says. “These are trucks; they serve many commercial purposes and customers, they operate on provincial highways and they impose wear and tear on the public infrastructure like any other motor vehicle. The only difference is they don’t pay anything,” Bradley argued. “Fifty million dollars would buy a lot of infrastructure; we have a hard time accepting that some trucks should pay more while others pay nothing. From a tax point of view these non-contributing trucks enjoy the same tax status as bicycles.”
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