Trucking groups call on province to use fuel taxes to fund infrastructure

BRAMPTON, Ont. – The woeful state of infrastructure in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area would not be so woeful, if money already collected from the trucking industry – and road users in general – went towards repairing and building infrastructure.

The point was made by Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski and Canadian Courier and Logistics Association president David Turnbull today at the second annual Moving Goods and People conference.

Laskowski pointed out the fees and fuel taxes collected from the trucking industry by the province of Ontario could fund between two-thirds and the total amount of its roads and maintenance budget.

Turnbull, a former provincial transport minister, said “I suggest all types of taxes from operating vehicles on the road should be dedicated to road and transit infrastructure renewal and expansion.”

He also said road tolls should only be allowed on net new capacity.

Greg Kraliz, national transportation manager for Nestle, said the province can also help improve the movement of goods by making long combination vehicle (LCV) access less onerous.

“When I look at LCVs on the surface, it looks fantastic,” he said. “As we engage our transportation partners, some of the things they push back on are the cost of the permits, the engineering costs, the start-up costs involved in getting that permit and layout on that specific LCV route.”

Kraliz also wondered if dedicated truck lanes could be a viable option in Ontario.

“There has been lots of expansion on the QEW with respect to commuter lanes. Could we do something for trucks, maybe alternate the use of specific lanes for trucks?” he asked.

He also said further investment in short-rail between Milton and Vaughn would be useful. Nestle sends out 14,000 trailer loads a year from its Brampton distribution centre and having a reliable short-rail option would eliminate a lot of congestion from local roads, Kraliz said.

Speakers also address concerns about various carbon cap-and-trade initiatives and how they will impact transportation costs. Laskowski said in Ontario, the OTA was successful in getting the province to funnel some of the money collected through higher fuel taxes back to the industry so it can invest in more environmentally friendly alternatives. Much of the funding will go towards encouraging the adoption of natural gas-fueled vehicles.

“My main message to municipalities is, natural gas is a bit of a wild card,” Laskowski said. “The government is doing the right thing but the truck industry needs the right infrastructure and you can play a part by working with various natural gas companies to get natural gas infrastructure into your region.”

Speakers also suggested Ontario should look to be a pioneer in developing autonomous vehicle technologies.

“I think Ontario should strive to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicles,” said Turnbull.

It was a sentiment echoed by provincial transport minister Steven Del Duca, who noted during a keynote address that Ontario is the first province to set up a framework for the testing of autonomous vehicles on its roads.

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • The resources we have in canada is improperly and lavishly spend by politician with out responsible to the canadian requirement .The Liberal government has acted as if they have been elected by the third world specially extremist effected country , calling the refugees spending in the all thouse result in non productive use of available resources.There is highest unemployment My question is is there any way to stop these wrong done to ,

  • I agree with Turnbull that “Ontario should strive to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicles”, and I laud Minister DelDuca for promoting an AV agenda but we need to deploy more than develop or test. Many groups are developing and testing, too few are deploying. Deployment incents development. Of course test during deployment, we want safety and reliability, but make the end goal deployment, not a science report. Read the October 27, 2016 report: Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation. Describes ways to start with what we now have, and expand as technology improves. A similar approach would be possible for goods transport.

  • I agree with this write up. About time it is addressed. No reason, on how the the infrastructure of the hiways is let go. The twining of hiways 11/17 should also be brought up. As they are the land bridge from east to west and are behind the times with services available for commercial use ie. Rest stops etc.