Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this week a promise of $29-billion in new spending on subways, highways and bridges over the next 10 years.
The pledge is aimed at reducing ever-worsening gridlock.
According to reports, roughly half the money will come from redirecting 7.5 cents per litre from current gas-tax revenues, plus the HST paid on the tax. The rest will be raised through new “revenue tools” – which could include taxes, tolls or asset sales – to be unveiled in the provincial budget expected next month.
OTA responded by saying the plan, if it happens, appears better than some of the previously suggested alternatives:
“Assuming the allocation of 7 cents per litre that is being allocated from the provincial gasoline tax is also applicable to the provincial diesel fuel tax, it is a better solution than some of the other so-called revenue tools that have been talked about and is more consistent with long-standing OTA policy,” says OTA president David Bradley. “OTA has always argued that the diesel fuel tax, is a road user tax, and should be dedicated to highway infrastructure as opposed to being funneled into the black hole of general revenues. The Premier’s announcement appears to be consistent with that direction. She also announced that two dedicated infrastructure funds would be established – one for transit in the GTHA and one for transportation infrastructure (including roads and bridges) in the rest of the province.
“That too is consistent with OTA policy. We were concerned about diesel taxes going solely to transit in the GTHA. According to the Premier’s comments yesterday, the two trust funds would be relatively equal in terms of share of the tax revenues. Of course, we still have to wait for the provincial budget to see the details and to learn what other revenue tools will be introduced.”