Truck News


Trash talk on tolls

WINDSOR, Ont. - Windsor city council is investigating whether it has the right to levy tolls against trucks hauling Toronto garbage through Canada's Motor City en route to landfills near Detroit, Mich...

WINDSOR, Ont. – Windsor city council is investigating whether it has the right to levy tolls against trucks hauling Toronto garbage through Canada’s Motor City en route to landfills near Detroit, Mich.

The trucks use Huron Church Road, a city thoroughfare that connects Hwy. 401 to the international span that is the Ambassador Bridge. Some 13,000 trucks use the road every day, making it North America’s busiest truck corridor, and it’s local taxpayers that are left to finance repairs to the route.

It’s but the latest sidebar to the controversy surrounding Toronto’s plans to dispose of trash. While protesters have balked at the use of a rail line to ship waste to an abandoned open pit iron mine near Kirkland Lake, Ont., a plan to be debatd by Toronto city council in early October would also see some of the garbage diverted to a Michigan landfill. This is on top of an existing waste stream from Toronto that is currently hauled to a landfill outside Detroit.

Some 45 Verspeeten Cartage trucks per day now carry waste across the Ambassador Bridge to the Arbor Hills Landfill operated by Onyx. The entire contract (landfill and trucking charges) is worth just over $55 per tonne – or about $25 million per year, based on 450,000 tonnes.

Under the new plan to be decided this month, Toronto waste would be hauled and disposed in the former Adams Mine by a consortium known as Rail Cycle North. But private-sector waste could also be shipped by truck to the Carleton Farms Landfill in Wayne County, Mich., about 50 km from the Ambassador Bridge. As much as 300,000 tonnes would be shipped, beginning in early 2001.

“Toronto makes a decision to send their garbage to Michigan, right?” said Windors councillor Brian Masse in his call for a toll. “They end up sending all those extra trucks down here. They do it because it’s cheaper for them. At the same time the cost (accrues) to the City of Windsor. It’s a quality-of-life issue for residents, as well as ongoing operating and maintenance costs.”

Because Huron Church is a municipal road, the city is responsible for maintenance – something that has stuck in the craw of city officials who say the vast majority of traffic is internationally bound and does not originate or end in Windsor. Provincial and federal officials have also acknowledged the problem, but have yet to decide how to ease Windsor’s financial pain or announce an alternative border route.

Masse suggests the city may have the power to tax, through a section of Ontario’s Municipal Act which allows fees against a waste hauler using city infrastructure such as roads. However, city lawyer Pat Brode said the section “appears not to be wide enough” to permit a levy against trucks just passing through. He said the section supports a levy if trucks are hauling to a local, municipally owned facility such as a dump.

“The act defines a waste management system as something owned, operated or controlled by the municipality itself. So if you have one of those facilities you can levy fees for the operation of it,” Brode told Truck News. The legal department’s report still has to go to city council. n

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