Road Today - - Toll Talk -

The On­tario Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion says its car­rier mem­bers will not to be re­cep­tive to pay­ing a toll or fees to re­pair an ex­ist­ing es­sen­tial road­way such as the Gar­diner Ex­press­way and DVP.

“We es­ti­mate the On­tario truck­ing in­dus­try pays over $1.2 bil­lion a year in com­bined pro­vin­cial diesel fuel taxes and driver/ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion fees to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s cof­fers. Ad­di­tion­ally, the in­dus­try adds about a bil­lion dol­lars a year na­tion­ally to the fed­eral gov­ern­ments’ gen­eral rev­enues through the fed­eral ex­cise tax on diesel, with a sig­nif­i­cant share of that gen­er­ated by On­tario’s car­ri­ers,” said OTA pres­i­dent Stephen Laskowski.

“The in­dus­try ac­knowl­edges these ex­press­ways are owned and op­er­ated by the City of Toronto, but gov­ern­ments at all lev­els need to un­der­stand that the road users’ ca­pac­ity to keep pay­ing more in taxes and fees is reach­ing a crit­i­cal point.”

The Gar­diner/dvp is an im­por­tant piece of eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture for the na­tion and prov­ince and should be treated as such, says OTA. Ot­tawa, Queen’s Park and the City of Toronto need to first ex­am­ine how to col­lec­tively use the cur­rent funds col­lected by all road users at the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral lev­els to help pay for this im­por­tant mu­nic­i­pal road in­fra­struc­ture project that has pro­vin­cial and na­tional im­pli­ca­tions.

The DVP and Gar­diner are vi­tal routes for mo­tor car­ri­ers de­liv­er­ing daily goods to con­sumers and busi­nesses in the down­town core. De­pend­ing on the time of day, trucks on the Gar­diner and DVP can make up to 9 per­cent of to­tal traf­fic.

In a re­cent OTA sur­vey, car­rier mem­bers voiced strong op­po­si­tion to pay­ing a toll or other forms of fees to re­con­struct the Gar­diner/ DVP. The in­dus­try was more in­clined to sup­port, as an al­ter­na­tive, an ex­ten­sion of the prov­ince’s HOT lane con­cept on the ex­press­ways.

“OTA has long rec­og­nized that for new road in­fra­struc­ture projects to ma­te­ri­al­ize, the in­dus­try may have to ex­am­ine and be will­ing to ac­cept al­ter­na­tive fi­nanc­ing mech­a­nisms to achieve the ben­e­fits of new bridges and road­ways,” added Laskowski. “The Gar­diner and DVP are not new. Their cur­rent state of dis­re­pair and the lack of pub­lic funds to fi­nance them is sym­bolic of how we as a na­tion have failed to im­ple­ment and bud­get for fu­ture in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments, which sup­port ev­ery as­pect of our econ­omy.”

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