Not much for trucking in federal budget: CTA

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The CTA has deemed today’s federal budget to be "a rather uninspiring and underwhelming document."

The CTA criticized the government for taking little specific action on infrastructure except for promising in the budget to “work with provinces to share with municipalities a portion of gas tax revenues, or determine other fiscal mechanisms that achieve the same goals.”

Nowhere is it indicated in the budget that stakeholders the road users who pay the taxes will be invited to participate in the decision-making process, CTA officials said.

"Canada remains the only major industrial country in the world not to have a national highway program,” said CTA CEO David Bradley. "And, watch out for more talk of tolls and road pricing.

"Discussions involving the future use of the gas tax for municipal and provincial projects must include a fair and balanced mechanism for consultation with the trucking industry and other road users.”

In other areas of the budget, CTA was disappointed that more was not done to improve the industry’s competitiveness by accelerating CCA rates for trucking equipment. A commitment was made to identify further opportunities to better align CCA rates to the useful life of assets to support productivity growth in future budgets.

"When it comes to our ability to write off equipment, the Canadian trucking industry is at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to U.S. carriers,” said Bradley. "This budget recognizes the importance of CCA rates as it relates to global competitiveness but does little to improve Canada’s situation now beyond accelerating the rates for computer equipment."

There were some references to security and borders. Over the next five years an additional $605 million will be spent to address security priorities such as intelligence, border protection, marine and cyber-security and enhanced co-ordination of systems, information, threat assessments and emergency response. But whether any of this money will find its way to helping trucks move more efficiently across the border is unclear, CTA officials pointed out.
The budget papers state that since the 2003 budget a further $286 million has been allocated from the security contingency reserve for the development and implementation of key border management programs such as FAST, NEXUS and IBET.

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