VICTORIA, B.C. — Arguing that trucking gets a free ride when it comes to using infrastructure, a railway group is petitioning Ottawa to remove a “tax handicap” on the railway companies.
“Rail pays all the costs of its own corridors, including property taxes, while the trucking competition doesn’t,” says Bill Rowat, president and chief executive officer of the Railway Association of Canada.
“Current government tax and regulatory policies, though, give Canadian rail a 52-per cent tax handicap, compared with U.S. railroads,”
Arguing that the policy change would develop a forward-looking transportation policy, Rowat, speaking before the WESTAC annual meeting and conference, added Canada is more dependent on trade than any other G-7 country.
“But many of its public policies don’t reinforce that regional economic reality or national strategic strength,” says Rowat. “Government policies either improve competitiveness, or weaken it. Right now, as far as rail transport is concerned, many of Canada’s public policies fail the test. They don’t have to fail in the future.”
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