OTA Wants Tax Hike To Benefit Roads, Heavy Utility Trucks Plated

TORONTO — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has said it is against the proposed use of a new diesel fuel tax hike. The OTA is also trying to bring certain truck licensing exemptions to the forefront of the provincial transportation discussion.

The proposed five-cent per litre diesel fuel tax is a part of Metrolinx’s, an agency of the government of Ontario, plan to fund massive public transit expansions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). 

“The trucking industry believes in paying its fair share for the infrastructure it uses. However, Metrolinx is a transit plan; it does not address the equally compelling need to maintain and upgrade the region’s or the province’s network of roads, highways and bridges,” says OTA’s president and CEO, David Bradley.

The OTA would like to see revenues from commercial diesel fuel taxes go towards supporting and expanding roads, bridges and highways in the province.

“That’s where the trucking industry’s fuel tax dollars should be going,” Bradley says. “Truckers should not be expected to pay for transit. Unlike motorists who have a choice in terms of whether to drive or take transit, truckers have no such choice.”

The association also points to the fact that truckers have already faced a 70 percent increase in commercial plate fees and says that a huge number of heavy utility trucks — such as mobile cranes, vacuum trucks, concrete pumping trucks, water trucks and more — are exempt from the standard licensing and registration requirements.

According to the OTA, the lost revenue from these vehicles is approximately $50 million a year.

The OTA explains, “The exemption appears to go back to an old law exempting road-building machines from provincial registration.” Bradley went on to say, “These vehicles are not asphalt spreaders, bulldozers and the like, which are clearly road-building machines that operate exclusively in construction zones.”

The OTA says the regional diesel fuel tax hike would be very problematic, saying “it would impact the competitiveness of GTHA trucking companies and could cause some to re-locate outside the boundaries of the region. It exempts carriers from contributing towards the infrastructure costs who are based outside of the region (and from outside of the province) but who operate into, out of and through the region every day.”

“We want to play a constructive role in the conversation about how to pay for transportation infrastructure,” says Bradley. “The premier is commended for making gridlock a priority of her government, but we need to use this opportunity to take a system-wide view, to build trust and to do it right.”

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