New spending should improve efficiencies at border: CTA

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is applauding Ottawa’s budget commitment of $433 million over five years to better deliver secure and efficient border services.

"In recent years the Canadian Trucking Alliance has encouraged the federal government to increase border efficiency through means such as improved staffing levels. Although not contained in the budget document, federal officials explained to CTA that the primary use for the additional funds is to hire more CBSA staff at key ports of entry to staff primary inspection booths," CTA said in a release late today.

CTA Chief Executive Officer David Bradley added that too often, CTA members face line ups coming back into Canada when primary inspection booths are closed. Staffing was often identified as the problem and that should be addressed by the 2005 budget allocation.

The federal government also indicated that in an upcoming budget, it would renew the $600 million Border Infrastructure Fund created in 2001.

"While this is a positive step" said Bradley, "it must be accompanied by a long-term strategic vision for Canada’s highways and the role they play in domestic and international trade."

Although Budget 2005 announced measures to accelerate Capital Cost Allowance rates to encourage environmentally friendly investments, they fell short of the mark with respect to the trucking industry, according to CTA.

"CTA has long-encouraged the federal government to adjust the CCA regime to encourage the penetration of cleaner truck engines into the marketplace. While I don’t question the steps taken in today’s Budget, most of the environmental measures are directed towards the reduction of GHG emissions. Therefore, there are no fiscal incentives provided for ongoing investments by the trucking industry in clean engine technology to eliminate harmful smog causing emissions" said Bradley.

Other tax measures of interest to CTA were the elimination of the corporate surtax by 2008, the phased reduction of the corporate income tax by 2 percentage points, and measures to increase RRSP deduction limits.

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