Trucking group shrugs-off first Martin budget

OTTAWA, (March 24, 2004) — The Canadian Trucking Alliance announced yesterday it was quite unimpressed with Prime Minister Paul Martin’s first budget as leader of the governing Liberal Party.

“A rather uninspiring and underwhelming document,” that hardly addresses any major trucking issues, is how CTA CEO David Bradley described yesterday’s budget.

While the budget reinforced months of indications that the government is willing to share a portion of gas tax revenues with municipalities, the CTA says the plan is short on specifics, and there is no indication the consultation process for such a plan includes road users. “Discussions involving the future use of the gas tax for municipal and provincial projects must include a fair and balanced mechanism for consultation with the trucking industry and other road users,” said Bradley in a press release.

CTA was also disappointed that more was not done to improve the industry’s competitiveness by accelerating CCA rates for trucking equipment. “When it comes to our ability to write off equipment, the Canadian trucking industry is at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to US carriers”, added Bradley. “This budget recognizes the importance of CCA rates as it relates to global competitiveness but does little to improve Canada’s situation now beyond accelerating the rates for computer equipment.”

As for the border, the budget makes references to spend an additional $605 million over the next five years for security, increased intelligence, border protection, and enhanced co-ordination of systems, information, threat assessments and emergency response. “Whether any of this money will find its way to helping trucks move more efficiently across the border is unclear,” the CTA said.

Total government spending will be held to $183.3 billion, an increase of 4.4 per cent. The surplus for the fiscal year that ends March 31 will be $1.9 billion, another chip against the $510 billion federal debt.

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