Harper’s man faces truckers in riled riled west

EDMONTON — Alberta truckers recently grabbed the federal government’s ear and here’s what they had to say.

* Canada needs a National Highway Policy;

* The new federal bio-fuel mandate should be lifted if it’s not working;

* Depreciation rates for environmentally friendly trucks should be accelerated, and finally;

* If the Feds aren’t going to eliminate the diesel fuel excise tax they should at least use the money to help the trucking industry.

The appeals came during a summer meeting between the brass of the Alberta Motor Truck Association (AMTA), The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), and James Rajotte, the federal Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Leduc and chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

The truckers made cogent arguments for all four of their requests.

They conceded that even if there were good tax policy reasons for not eliminating the diesel fuel excise tax, there’s good reason to use the revenues for a “time-limited” fund to help lessen the blow from the biodiesel mandate.

That would make it a lot easier for truckers to invest in GHG-reducing technology, which is difficult to finance right now.

For the same reason, the group argued that if the Feds really wanted to achieve their stated GHG-reduction targets it should also introduce an accelerated CCA rate (as has already been done since 2008 for manufacturers and the railways) for new green house gas compliant tractors.

Also, according to the AMTA and CTA, Canada remains the only major industrialized country not to have a national highway program.

“This is an issue that needs to be addressed or Canada will once again find itself with an infrastructure gap,” the group told Rajotte.

It now remains to be seen whether he had his ears on or not.

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