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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Road Tolls—Another Tax

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 4:01 PM

The impact of this tax grab is hidden in the supposedly low cost of $0.06 per kilometre or between $0.42 and $21.81 per toll, depending on the highway stretch.

The estimated cost on twinning the highways is $ 2.8 Billion which equates to an average cost of $7,236,842.11 per kilometre. I could not find a cost this high anywhere in Canada. We already pay some of the highest taxes in the country. We have Federal and Provincial gas tax, registration fees, licensing fees not to mention Provincial, Federal income tax, Property Tax, Tolls already in place and any applicable sin taxes plus whatever taxes I may not know about and of course HST in addition to these.

We all know how talented politicians are when it comes to squandering our hard earned tax dollars.  Adding a toll, to our after tax dollars, is just another way of taking more Tax dollars out of the pockets of already heavily burdened taxpayers.

User pay seems to be the general belief in Road tolls tax based on usage. There is no transit system on these routes so we don’t have a choice. If you use the road more than other people you already pay more in fuel tax. The user already has maintenance costs, snow tires, more frequent vehicle purchases, insurance premiums etc., all resulting in more HST collected.

Some people have raised the point that more wealthy people drive and therefore justify the toll. Although wealthy people drive so do lots of lower income working people. This is in essence a tax on an essential service necessary for well-being, which everyone should be able to access. A tax or fee on an essential service that is not based on ability to pay is regressive. I consider roads an essential service as I depend on them to travel from the Valley to the city for gainful employment for which taxes are collected.

I believe the twinned highways will reduce the number of collisions but could be offset by the increase in accidents on the secondary routes as congestion increases when people try to avoid the tolls.

Then there is the additional administration to be put in place, including additional people and technology required to monitor and collect the toll tax…Road tolls won’t give us the net revenue we need any time soon, nor will they address our most pressing operating budget issues. They will only bury us further in taxes. If efficiency is of no concern we could always use the transfer payments. This would only use 1.5 payments. —Richard

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