N.B. tax hike no good for anyone: APTA

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MONCTON, N.B. — The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) is warning a 12.4 per cent increase in the New Brunswick diesel fuel tax will be bad news for everyone right down to the consumer.

The diesel jump, coupled with a 22 per cent increase in the province’s gasoline tax, was contained in the New Brunswick government’s 2002-03 capital budget unveiled late last week.

“New Brunswickers will take a double hit in the pocketbook as a result of this tax increase,” says Ralph Boyd, president of the APTA. “Not only are consumers being hit at the pumps, but they will also see a rise in the price of their consumables due to the hike in the province’s diesel fuel tax.”

Boyd stresses while 1.7 cents per litre may not sound like a lot, it translates into an annual increase of $1200 for each truck operating in the province.

“We have no choice but to pass this increase along,” he says, also adding, “We were blindsided by this. This was done without any consultation with our industry and it is a hard pill to swallow.”

However, the fleet group is applauding the province’s decision to segregate all funds collected from provincial fuel taxes into an annually audited “Road Improvement Fund”, which will be used solely for road improvements and construction.

“We have been pressuring the federal and provincial governments to do this for years,” explains Boyd. “Let’s hope this Road Improvement Fund will be maintained on a permanent basis.”

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