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CTA takes pre-budget submissions to Parliament Hill

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) continued its push for incentives for green fleets when invo...

OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) continued its push for incentives for green fleets when involved in pre-budget consultations with the federal government this week.

The CTA urged the federal Finance Committee to introduce incentives for trucking companies that invest in the new smog-free enviroTrucks with EPA07 engines. The alliance also pushed for the harmonization of the federal excise tax on diesel with the GST. The feds will take both suggestions into consideration while drafting the new federal budget, expected to be released early in 2008.

Bradley explained the CTAs enviroTruck initiative could improve the industrys fuel efficiency by 20%, saving nearly 1.5 billion litres of diesel per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by four million tonnes. Thats based on only half the new tractor-trailer units sold in Canada adopting the full enviroTruck package which includes aerodynamic devices, anti-idling equipment and other fuel-optimizing options.

This is not a pipe dream, said Bradley. The equipment and the technology for the trucking industry to be smog-free and to significantly reduce its contribution to GHG are here now; what we need is for government to work with industry to provide the added incentive that will enable the industry to invest in the new equipment and to replace its aging fleet more quickly.

The CTA recommended launching a rebate program and accelerating the capital cost allowances, the rate at which truckers can write off their tractors and trailers for depreciation purposes.

Bradley added it is high time the federal government took advantage of its healthy fiscal situation by eliminating the regressive excise taxes on commercial diesel fuel, which were introduced in the mid-1980s specifically to raise money to reduce the prevailing deficits governments were recording at the time, by enveloping the diesel tax into the GST.

Recently, the federal government indicated its desire to have the provinces that still have sales/consumption taxes on business inputs, to harmonize those taxes with the GST, the CTA said in a release.

To be consistent and fair, the federal government needs to look at its own archaic way taxing commercial fuel in the transportation industry, Bradley said. The taxation of business inputs is a critical issue for Canadian trucking companies who, like their customers in the manufacturing sector, are grappling to stay competitive and improve their efficiency and productivity in the face of the high value of the Canadian dollar. General reductions in corporate income tax rates are always helpful, but in low margin industries like trucking, it is the high level of taxation on our investment in fuel and equipment which really need to be addressed.

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