TORONTO, Ont. — A coalition of auto, truck and road builders says the municipal, provincial and federal governments should boost spending on Ontario’s roads because they are falling apart due to neglect.
The coalition, which calls itself the Municipal Roads Coalition, says this will ensure that the province’s economy isn’t hurt. The members say the province’s municipal road system has been seriously under-funded for more than a decade.
The coalition consists of the Canadian Automobile Association, Ontario; the Insurance Bureau of Canada; the Ontario Motor Coach Association; the Ontario Road Builders Association; and the Ontario Trucking Association.
Mark Arsenault, director of public and government affairs for the Ontario division of the Canadian Automobile Association, says poorly maintained and congested roads stifles the economy, hurts tourism, increases accidents and insurance rates, and forces workers into long commutes.
“There has been a steady decline in road maintenance and improvements in Ontario,” Arsenault said at a news conference on Oct. 8.
The Municipal Roads Coalition is just one of many who have come forward since the Ontario election on Oct. 2 to try to get on the spending priority list of the newly-elected Liberals.
“There’s a disproportionate amount of money that’s being collected from the motorist that is not being reinvested into roads and the infrastructure the motorist is paying for,” Arsenault said, pointing to the gas taxes taken in by the federal and provincial governments.
During the Ontario election campaign, now premier-elect Dalton McGuinty said that if he and his Liberals were elected, they would dedicate two cents a litre of the existing provincial gas tax to public transit in the Greater Toronto Area.
Arsenault suggested that although public transit is important, a portion of that money could go towards repairing Ontario’s roads.
To highlight to politicians the state of the province’s roads, the coalition is launching a Web site, www.worstroads.ca, where Ontarians can vote for the worst road in the province. The top 20 worst roads will be announced in December.
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