OTA is encouraged the Ministry of Transportation continues to move forward with its review of the Highway Traffic Act’s definition of a road-building machine (RBM) and has submitted comments toward the process.
OTA pointed out for several years, RBMs – many of which use the roadway system alongside traditional tractor-trailers for commercial purposes – are exempted from many obligations under the HTA and other legislation that relies on the HTA for vehicle classifications.
OTA was successful in working the with Ontario government, which included a measure in the 2014 provincial budget to close the loophole.
OTA’s submitted comments are as follows:
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) applauds the measure to close a long-standing loophole which exempted certain heavy trucks from having to be plated and subjected to commercial vehicle registration fees and provincial fuel taxes. OTA understands and appreciates that when first introduced, the exemption was appropriate for certain road maintenance vehicles because these vehicles operated at very low speeds on the roadway/shoulder during highway construction or maintenance. However, over the years, the types of vehicles taking advantage of the exemption has broadened to include vehicles built on truck chassis which are not used exclusively for road building (such as hydrovac trucks, water tank trucks, concrete pumpers, mobile cranes and other utility and heavy application trucks that use the roadway system extensively). As a result, the operators of these vehicles have escaped paying for permits and licence plates, commercial vehicle registration fees, Drive Clean, provincial fuel taxes and insurance. They have also been able to avoid safety inspections, CVOR and speed limiter requirements. OTA believes a truck is a truck and that no matter what commercial enterprise a truck is in, that vehicle should contribute to paying fees and taxes that eventually make their way back into infrastructure budgets. All road users and their owners should pay their fair share of the costs of building and maintaining infrastructure. OTA commends the Province for bringing tax fairness to the commercial trucking sector and closing this loophole.