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CTA makes budget recommendations to feds

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is appealing the feds to consider the trucking industry's nee...

TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is appealing the feds to consider the trucking industry’s needs in the 2006 federal budget.

The lobby group recently met with the federal Finance Committee to ensure the trucking industry won’t be forgotten during the formation of the next budget. The CTA told the committee the trucking industry should receive incentives for investing in environmentally-friendly technologies such as smog-free trucks, ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and anti-idling devices.

The need to invest in border crossings and highways was also urged by the CTA.

“A glorious opportunity exists to ensure a more rapid uptake of new smog-free truck engines which begin to come on the market at the end of 2006,” CTA CEO David Bradley said during his appearance before the federal government’s Standing Committee on Finance.

Bradley suggested accelerating CCA rates, pointing out U.S. trucking companies can write off the cost of a tractor twice as quickly as their Canadian counterparts, making it easier to re-equip their fleets.

Bradley also took the opportunity to point out Canada is still the only G7 country that doesn’t have a national highway strategy. He said only five cents of every dollar collected in fuel taxes is allocated to the maintenance and expansionion of Canada’s highway system.

“While the federal government has been investing about $250 million a year in highways on an ad hoc basis, the US will be investing almost C$300 billion over the next six years,” said Bradley. “Our political leaders continue to expound upon the need to compete and capitalize on trade opportunities with the emerging Asian economies, which are making enormous investments in their highway infrastructure. Sure, China and India are playing catch-up but it is also true that we are falling behind.”

In addition, Bradley insisted a long-term funded strategy for border crossing infrastructure is required.

The CTA also voiced its support for the existing rebate program for in-cab heating and cooling systems, but urged the feds to take it a step further. Bradley suggested increasing the rebate from 19 to 50 per cent of the purchase price. He also said Canada should increase the allowable meal deductibility to bring us more in line with the U.S.

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