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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Five questions with Dalton McGuinty

TORONTO, Ont. -- Truck News recently submitted five trucking industry-related questions to each of the candidates v...

Dalton McGuinty responds to a series of trucking-related questions posed by Truck News.
Dalton McGuinty responds to a series of trucking-related questions posed by Truck News.

TORONTO, Ont. — Truck News recently submitted five trucking industry-related questions to each of the candidates vying for the spot of Ontario Premier in the Oct. 10 provincial election.

Although no responses had been received before the October issues press deadline, current Premier Dalton McGuinty recently submitted his answers to Truck News. Responses from Conservative leader John Tory and NDP leader Howard Hampton will also be posted on, if and when they are received.

1. The current Ontario government is proceeding with a controversial plan that would require heavy trucks to activate mechanical speed governors limiting their speed to 105 km/h. What is your partys position on this policy?

McGuinty: This government has been a leader in road safety and will keep looking for ways to make our highways safer. On July 2, our government became a national leader when we announced that we would mandate speed limiters. Quebec has since followed suit. Speed limiters help to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and can help improve safety on our roads. The Ontario Trucking Association supports this initiative.

2. Ninety percent of Ontarios exports are destined for the US and at least 80% of the value of Ontarios trade with the US is transported by truck. If elected, how will your government improve border infrastructure and help facilitate the smooth flow of goods across Ontario/US border crossings?

McGuinty: Our highways and border crossings are vital to sustaining and supporting economic growth by carrying goods to market and large values of trade to the US. This government has partnered with the
federal government and other stakeholders to invest more than $800 million in highways and roads to improve border crossings at Windsor, Sarnia-Point Edward, Sault Ste. Marie and the Niagara frontier. The governments of Canada, the United States, Ontario and Michigan are working together on the planning for a new border crossing, access road, and plazas in the Windsor-Detroit area. Finally, we are developing an Action Plan for an Intelligent Border Crossing with the federal government to apply innovative technology at Ontarios border crossings and optimize the use of the existing infrastructure.

3. Ontarios professional drivers, and professional drivers passing through the province often complain about a lack of suitable rest stops in the province. If elected, will your government invest in providing the provinces professional drivers with more, and better-equipped, rest areas?

McGuinty: Our government recently announced the beginning of a procurement process to redevelop all 23 of Ontarios service centres. These rest areas are part of a commitment to road safety, truck safety and the
prevention of driver fatigue. This project will lead to improved amenities along two of the busiest highways in North America.

4. A recent study by NRCan has suggested that allowing Long combination vehicles in eastern Ontario has the potential to reduce fuel use by 54 million litres per year while eliminating 151 kilotonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Quebec and some Western Canadian provinces already allow the use of LCVs. Where does your party stand on the issue of allowing LCVs on Ontarios roads?

McGuinty: Our Liberal government is always working to help the trucking industry become more efficient and to improve road safety. We continue to monitor the use of LCVs in other jurisdictions. We need to balance the concerns that auto users have about sharing the road with longer trucks, and the need for the efficient and sustainable movement of goods across this province and into the US.

5. A common complaint within the trucking industry is that not all fuel tax revenue collected by the federal and provincial governments is actually reinvested into highway infrastructure. What is your partys position in terms of the collection and disbursement of fuel taxes?

McGuinty: In 2007/08, our Liberal government will invest more than $1.7 billion in highway infrastructure across Ontario. This will enable the ministry to maintain, improve and expand the provinces highway network. Since 2003, we have invested over $6 billion in our highways and roads, repairing or building over 2,200 kilometres of highways and roads. If re-elected, we will continue to make major investments in our road infrastructure in the future. Our platform commits to a $60-billion, 10-year infrastructure plan that includes roads and bridges.

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