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A New Dedicated Infrastructure Trust Fund Would Widen Roads,Said OTA

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Core prompt: A new dedicated infrastructure trust fund would widen roads, expand provincial highways and boost infrastructure overall, says the Ontar

A new dedicated infrastructure trust fund would widen roads, expand provincial highways and boost infrastructure overall, says the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

With the new dedicated trust fund - called the Trillium Trust - revenue gains from asset sales would be placed and used to finance key public infrastructure priorities such as public transit, highways, hospitals and schools.

OTA President David Bradley says the establishment of a dedicated infrastructure trust fund and the requirement to develop an infrastructure plan are good ideas.

“We’d have preferred to see the creation of a specific highway trust fund with revenues from the provincial diesel fuel tax and vehicle and driver registration fees dedicated to it, but this is a move in the right direction.”

According to the 2013 Ontario economic plan, the province will invest to expand provincial highways, including widening Highway 417 in Ottawa and Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, and extending Highway 407 east through Durham Region. More high-occupancy toll (HOV/HOT) lanes in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) as well.

It won’t be easy though. So far, costs of congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton GTHA are highlighted as exacting a major toll on the economy figures cited from the CD Howe Institute - at about $7.5 billion per year. 

The plan also included  ideas of “pay or play” tax incentives, such as a special corporate tax that could be eliminated or reduced through investments in new equipment; and a payroll tax (similar to that which exists in Quebec, a number of US states and France) that could be eliminated or reduced by employer investments in employee training and/or by funding training programs.

But what does that all mean to truck drivers who rely on these roads?

“We’ll need to learn more about what the government is considering to ensure the trucking industry can take full advantage and is not treated unfairly,” Bradley said. “The very thought of a payroll tax is concerning, especially as the truck driver occupation does not qualify for some of the other offsetting training funds available to other industries.”

 
 
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