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Community Charter revisions please B.C. trucking industry

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Changes have been made to B.C.'s Community Charter legislation, that protect carriers from exces...

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Changes have been made to B.C.’s Community Charter legislation, that protect carriers from excessive taxation by municipalities.

The controversial legislation, introduced last year, provided the province’s municipalities with more power to tax carriers for road damage, impose highway tolls and increase fuel taxes. The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) said essentially the charter could have resulted in more than 200 different motor carrier taxing authorities, creating confusion and added expenses for the trucking industry.

The province has heeded the BCTA’s advice, and revised some of the provisions within the charter. For instance, municipalities will no longer be allowed to toll highways. They will also be restricted from regulating motor carriers in terms of rates or fleet sizes. Municipalities will still be able to increase fuel taxes, but only if the additional revenue goes directly towards transportation improvements, and only if a referendum and consultation with local businesses have been completed. In addition, municipalities will only be able to seek compensation from carriers for damage to infrastructure if they can prove specific damage to highways was caused by a specific piece of equipment.

The BCTA was one of about 26 business organizations that fought the charter. It was a costly process, however, and the BCTA is asking its members to chip in towards its share of the $150,000 legal bill. The BCTA was responsible for about $2,500 and is now trying to raise an additional $2,500 to cover the remainder of the legal costs. To contribute towards this goal, contact Louise Yako at 604-888-5319.

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