The Ontario Trucking Association is confident today’s announcement by Premier Wynne to double the portion of the fuel tax transferred to Toronto and other municipalities will eliminate plans for tolls on the Gardiner/DVP highways – at least until 2024.
Although the Premier refused to categorically rule out tolls in the province down the road, she believes the additional funding effectively eliminates provincial support for any current tolling proposals across the province for the time being. Specifically, the Premier stated that tolls would not be considered an option on the Gardiner/DVP unless road users had a viable alternative to the roadway – that transit alternative is scheduled to be completed until 2024.
Starting in 2019, the province will increase funding to municipalities through an enhancement of the existing gas tax program. The municipal share of the tax will double from the current two cents a litre to four cents by 2021. Cities and towns on the receiving end of the funding will be able to boost funding for major infrastructure upgrades and public vehicles, Wynne said.
Today’s announcement will help control rising costs of transporting goods to retailers and consumers in Toronto while also preventing other municipalities across the province from arbitrarily adopting their own tolling regimes, says OTA.
The association – which was at the forefront in urging the provincial government and City work at finding a way to use current funds already collected from road users to pay for the rebuilding of the Gardiner – applauded the news.
“It took a while to agree on a more favorable resolution than tolls, but we think this works,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “OTA applauds Premier Wynne, Minister Del Duca and Mayor Tory’s solution to this matter. This announcement redirects current tax funds where they are required and does not place more of a tax burden on road users.”
OTA estimates the Ontario trucking industry pays close to $2 billion a year in combined provincial diesel fuel taxes, carbon fees and driver/vehicle registration fees to the provincial government’s coffers.
“This is an example of good public policy. Dedicating current funds collected from road users to improve road conditions, improve traffic flows and vehicle transit times is a sound decision that will create a more livable and economically viable province,” added Laskowski.