APTA blasts Saint John proposal to raise $1M from truck permits

by Abdul Latheef

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Saint John has come under fire over a proposal to generate $1 million through permit fees from heavy vehicles hauling goods in the city amid the fight against Covid-19.

The proposal is contained in a long-term financial sustainability plan presented to the city council last week.  The plan, aimed at closing a $10-million budget shortfall, will come up for council debate early next month.

The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) quickly criticized the move, saying more tax is the last thing the industry needs, especially at this time when businesses are suffering under the pandemic.

“Trucking is an essential service, the lifeblood of local economies, and the cornerstone of Atlantic Canada’s Covid-19 response and recovery, which makes the City of Saint John’s consideration to impose this on trucking a monumentally bad idea,” it said.

APTA executive director Jean-Marc Picard said the industry already pays more than its fair share.

“Fuel taxes, excise taxes, small business taxes, licensing fees, property taxes, and the list goes on.”

Trucks move freight to and from the Saint John region, and are key to helping businesses get their goods in and out of the city.

“This will only make Saint John’s businesses less competitive, and have a negative impact on economic growth for the city,” the association said.

“This new proposal will hurt trucking, and costs will be passed on to customers.”

In an email to Today’s Trucking, the city said it is aware of the industry concerns.

“We are listening to those concerns and will meet with industry stakeholders for their feedback so that we can take their observations into account as we move forward,” it said.

“The city will be meeting with the trucking association in the next few days.”

The city added that heavy trucking is also recognized for having a disproportional impact on public costs related to roads and traffic management.

  • This story has been updated with the city’s commitment to meet with APTA.

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  • This is backwards thinking from the city of St. John’s. A short term cash grab that will result in higher costs to clients and end users ‘long-term’, further hurting the local economy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this is a bad decision.

  • Absolutely ridiculous policy..
    They can’t see the forest for the trees. This is bad policy at any time let alone during current economic disaster. The city has to look internally…cut back, downsize support proportionally to the size of city
    Some percs may just have to.go!

  • Remember when diesel was less in price than gas then the taxes pushed it higher in price so where did the revenue go that trucks and companies have been paying certainly not on the streets of Saint John. Not a good plan !

  • One simple solution and no need for “political” blah blah:
    Refuse to serve that city, do not accept loads to and/or from St.John.

  • It’s a travesty that heavy trucks, especially Sunbury Transport, refuse to use the Saint John 4 lane Rt1 Throughway E & W and Harbour Bridge and to travel trough our City Streets with over 16 intersecting streets and 2 major intersections. This adds to the unnecessary traffic, noise and air pollution and safety concerns. This is after the City approved large upscale residential developments along the route to the pulp mill. Common Saint John, use common sense and grow a set..