Provincial budget doesn’t please Ontario truckers

by Array

TORONTO, Ontario: The Ontario budget, tabled by the minority Liberal government yesterday, didn’t come as too much of a surprise to the province’s truckers.

The Ontario Trucking Association expected the increase in transportation fees, as they were announced earlier this month by the Minister of Transportation.

A number of fees are being affected, including those for heavy commercial vehicle validation, commercial vehicle validation, motor vehicle and trailer permits, and commercial ten-day trip permits.

“Despite the government stating that the licence fee increases would be ‘modest and gradual’, the aggressiveness and speed of the increases are a lot for motor carriers to absorb in just one year,” said OTA president and CEO, David Bradley. “We prefer a more incremental schedule of the increases over several years and will continue to discuss this issue with the Ministry of Transportation.”

According to the budget document, these fees are needed to support infrastructure investments: “The Ministry of Transportation will spend more than $2.5 billion in 2012–13 to fulfill its mandate to provide a transportation network in Ontario that permits the free and safe movement of people and goods. These expenditures support investments in public transit, road user safety, and highway operations, maintenance and infrastructure.”

The OTA, however, views the government’s infrastructure investments differently. It claims “infrastructure spending will fall from $308 million to $278 million next year.”

It continues by saying “the cuts to highway spending appear to affect construction projects that have not yet begun, such as delaying some highway expansion and HOV projects. Projects already in the works, such as the Windsor Essex Parkway leading to the Windsor, Ontario-Detroit border and a Hwy 407 eastbound extension, will continue as planned.”

Further budget coverage is available here.