Canadian Trucking Alliance

Canadian Trucking Alliance

November 02, 2005 09:54 ET

Canadian Trucking Alliance: Trucking Alliance Makes Recommendations for Federal Budget 2006

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 2, 2005) -

Truckers tell Finance Committee budget should encourage investment in new, smog-free engines, highways and border crossings

Incentives for investment in environment-improving technologies such as new smog-free trucks, ultra-clean diesel fuel and anti-idling devices, as well as funded, long-term strategies for building new highways and border crossings should be included in the next federal budget, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which represents more than 4,500 trucking companies across Canada.

"A glorious opportunity exists to ensure a more rapid uptake of new smog-free truck engines which begin to come on the market at the end of 2006," CTA CEO David Bradley said today during his appearance before the federal government's Standing Committee on Finance, conducting 2006 pre-budget consultations in Toronto. CTA is calling for faster write-offs (capital consumption allowance rates) for the new technology that will virtually eliminate the emission of nitrous oxides and particulate matter, both of which cause smog. Accelerated CCA rates (US trucking companies can write off the cost of a tractor twice as quickly as their Canadian counterparts) make it easier for trucking companies to re-equip their fleets.

Bradley also decried the fact that "even though 90% of all consumer products and food stuffs and almost two-thirds of Canada's trade with the US moves over the road by truck, Canada remains the only G-7 country NOT to have a national highway strategy." Only five cents of every dollar collected in federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel makes its way back into maintenance and expansion of the highway system, said Bradley, who called on the federal government to put a meaningful portion of the $6 billion it collects each year in excise taxes on fuel into a National Highway Trust Fund. "While the federal government has been investing about $250 million a year in highways on an ad hoc basis, the US will be investing almost C$300 billion over the next six years," said Bradley, adding "Our political leaders continue to expound upon the need to compete and capitalize on trade opportunities with the emerging Asian economies, which are making enormous investments in their highway infrastructure. Sure, China and India are playing catch-up it is also true that we are falling behind."

A long-term, funded strategy for border crossing infrastructure is also needed, said Bradley, who acknowledged that the federal government's new Gateways strategy sounds promising but added a review of the environmental process needs to be undertaken to ensure that after funding announcements are made that construction actually begins within reasonable time frames. "Windsor - the world's single most important gateway for land trade, between the world's two largest trading partners - is the best imaginable example of where the combination of federal, provincial and municipal politics and the stifling strictures of the environmental assessment process, has stymied progress towards constructing a second crossing. The EA process has become more about protecting property values than environmental concerns," said Bradley. According to CTA, if the federal government doesn't start earmarking federal excise taxes on fuel for highway/border funding, then those taxes should be repealed and harmonized with the GST. "Excise taxes are an old-fashioned way of taxing consumption that were introduced in the 1980s to fight the deficit. Now the government is generating surpluses and the taxes serve no policy purpose whatsoever," said Bradley.

In its submission CTA also called for enhancements to the rebate program for in-cab heating and cooling systems by increasing it from 19 to 50 per cent of the purchase price of he approved devices; lower relative taxation of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel which will be introduced in 2006; and parity between the allowable level of meal deductibility for US truck drivers (80% in 2007) and Canadian truck drivers (50%).

Canadian Trucking Alliance

130 Slater Street
Suite 1025
Ottawa K1P 6E2
Tel: (613) 236-9426

555 Dixon Road
Toronto M9W 1H8
Tel: (416) 249-7401

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is a federation of the seven Canadian provincial trucking associations representing over 4,000 motor carriers and is dedicated to serving the national and international interests of Canadian motor carriers.

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