OTA urges government to continue funding trucking-friendly programs

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TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association is calling for the government to stay the course with funding on several initiatives ahead of next year’s budget.

In a pre-budget submission to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance, OTA vice-president Stephen Laskowski stressed the government should not waver in its commitment to certain programs supported by the trucking industry.

“With our own members showing a higher degree of uncertainty in the markets, we fully understand provincial revenues will remain constrained and items for inclusion in the upcoming budget will be impacted,” Laskowski said. “What OTA is primarily asking for in this budget is that the government maintains its past commitments to ensure stability for our sector.”

Among the initiatives the OTA urged the government to hold steady on is the HST, which Laskowski called “the single most important tax policy measure introduced by the legislature in recent memory,” and, “undoubtedly a much fairer system” for businesses.

The OTA also recommended the province maintain its investment in highway and bridge infrastructure, and to prioritize projects that affect trade routes to domestic and international markets, such as the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) process.

Also present at the Committee hearing was Deanna Pagnan, OTA director of policy and government relations, who pointed out the impact of the predicted driver shortage on the supply of freight transportation. She proposed the association and government work closely together to find ways to increase carrier participation in the Ontario Apprenticeship Program.

“Through the program, potential truck drivers are guaranteed they are receiving industry-accepted standards and will have a job once they complete their training,” she said.

One area the OTA suggested the province could expand its investment on is the environment. With Transport Canada echoing the US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to regulate the fuel efficiency of heavy trucks by up to 20%, the OTA says a combination of accepted measures will likely meet the requirement, from aerodynamically redesigned components and add-on devices to adoption of hybrid and liquefied natural gas technology.

Although the OTA says it supports consumer choice and is content the regulation itself will not force carriers to purchase this equipment, Laskowski points out that “if the governments of Canada and Ontario hope to produce quicker and significant greenhouse gas reductions, the tax system needs to be able to maximize on the regulation’s impact,” through, he added, incentives and accelerated capital cost allowance rates for greenhouse gas-certified equipment.

“We believe that with these measures in place we can make the Ontario trucking industry the North American leader in GHG reductions and green transportation.”

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