Proposed diesel tax increase shouldn’t be used to fund transit: OTA
May 27, 2013
TORONTO, Ont. -- A plan laid out today by Metrolinx on how to fund transportation projects in the Toronto and Hamilton areas places too much emphasis on transit, according to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).
TORONTO, Ont. — A plan laid out today by Metrolinx on how to fund transportation projects in the Toronto and Hamilton areas places too much emphasis on transit, according to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).
The plan, called The Big Move, looked at how to generate some $20 billion in funding over the next decade. Among the recommendations are: a five cent/litre diesel and gas tax; a 1% increase in the HST provincially or regionally; an increase in regional development charges; and a variable regional business parking levy. Metrolinx also suggested creating a dedicated transportation trust fund, into which all funds raised through the Metrolinx investment strategy would be placed.
The OTA said it plans to play a key role in upcoming consultations on the plan. However, the association is already worried about the lack of focus on goods movement and the heavy focus on transit.
“Goods movement received only a passing, over-simplified glance in the Big Move,” said OTA president David Bradley. “An efficient system of roads, highways and bridges in the region and throughout the province is needed and all the monies raised from the industry by fuel taxes and commercial vehicle registration fees – which are in the process of being raised by 70% incidentally – should be dedicated to that purpose through a specific highway trust fund on a provincial basis.”
Bradley said the Metrolinx plan could see funds raised from the trucking industry through a diesel tax increase, used to fund transit.
“There is a question whether it is fair that truckers are asked to pay for transit,” he said. “Unlike motorists, who have a choice in terms of whether to take transit or continue to drive, truckers have no such choice. I understand the argument that transit can help alleviate highway congestion, but it depends on whether people will actually get out of their cars and take transit. Regardless, the costs of a new fuel tax will have to be passed along to shippers through fuel surcharges.”
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