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OTA calls for toll road user protection

TORONTO, Ont. -- OTA chief David Bradley has called upon Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to establish a Toll-Road U...

TORONTO, Ont. — OTA chief David Bradley has called upon Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to establish a Toll-Road Users Protection Act.

The Act would protect road user rights in legislation and establishes the parameters under which the provincial government would create new toll roads.

Bradley made the call following media reports that Premier McGuinty plans to use tolls to build new roads and highways in Ontario. He has called for the following seven principles to be enshrined in legislation regarding toll-roads:

1. Significant new highway expansion only – Tolls must only be imposed on (a) new highway projects; and (b) to pay the costs of construction not ongoing maintenance.

2. Free alternative routes must exist – A viable non-tolled alternate route must exist for all road users.

3. Public-private partnerships should be a means of building new infrastructure at no cost to the government, not as a source of additional revenue

4. Miles travelled on toll roads should not be taxed – Road users should receive provincial fuel tax refunds for the miles operated on toll roads to avoid double taxation.

5. Highway users must be heard – All points of view need to be considered when making policy. The government must give consideration to the needs of highway users, not just the concerns of government officials, highway builders and financiers.

6. All economic impacts must be considered – Transportation is a significant component of the cost of goods produced and sold in Ontario. Unless there are tangible time/congestion savings from new infrastructure, tolls will simply make Ontario exports less competitive. No road or highway should be tolled without an economic impact analysis.

7. Trucks must have access to new roads.

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