The HST is going to give the trucking industry a boost in improving truck safety and reducing harmful smog and GHG emissions.
Those are two unique reasons why the B.C. Trucking Association supports the HST, in addition to the oft-cited public policy rationales of improving B.C.’s competitiveness, stimulating job creation and enhancing our economic future.
So, what’s the link?
Simply put, the availability of input tax credits associated with the HST will reduce the effective tax on new investments in BC by 40%.
This, in turn, will encourage trucking companies to invest in trucks, trailers, safety and energy efficient technologies.
By the time the HST is introduced in July 2010, many trucking companies will have deferred investments in new equipment for several years due to recessionary pressures.
Since the economy will be recovering and there will be pent-up demand for new equipment, the HST will grease the wheels of renewal.
The timing of the HST couldn’t be better for trucking.
Trucks manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2010 will have to meet a new emission standard that will make them virtually smog-free. Most of the new engines will also be more fuel-efficient, thus reducing GHGs.
Input tax credits will also make several expensive energy-efficient technologies, such as aerodynamic devices and low-rolling resistance tires, more affordable.
Similarly, there are new advanced safety technologies such as vehicle stability systems that reduce rollovers and electronic on-board recorders that monitor driver hours of work that will be more affordable.
Safety technologies and energy efficiency devices aren’t limited to new purchases.
These can also be installed on existing equipment.
“Input tax credits” sounds technical and boring -and not particularly useful or productive.
But in the hands of the trucking industry, ITCs will be parlayed into sound investments in new technologies, equipment and facilities that will help us to be safer and greener while improving our productivity and efforts to help the B.C. economy rebound. •
-Paul R. Landry is president and CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association.