Metrolinx Report Calls for Gas Tax, HST Hike

Higher costs are proposed to fuel a new 25-year plan to ease congestion in the GTHA

By James Maiangowi, Staff Writer

A proposal by Metrolinx, a transportation agency that manages the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas in Ontario, would see the average resident household pay $477 more a year in taxes to fund its $50-billion Big Move regional transportation strategy.

Metrolinx unveiled its final list of proposed taxes and fees on Monday. The Metrolinx plan would see taxpayers pay most of the $2 billion a year needed for the plan, with calls for a five-cent-per-litre fuel tax and a one-percent increase in the HST.

[pullquote]The Metrolinx plan would see taxpayers pay most of the $2 billion a year needed for the plan[/pullquote]

Chairman of Metrolinx, Robert Prichard, acknowledged the significance of the tax increase, but stressed the benefits of the plan’s recommendations.

“We’re very aware $477 for a family is a substantial amount of money. But we believe it’s more than offset by the benefits in terms of their commute time, in terms of their quality of life,” he said.

Prichard emphasized the report’s 24 recommendations were based on “evidence, reason, analysis, and experience of other jurisdictions,” but cautioned it would take citizen support to make the plan happen.

The Big Move strategy aims to reduce the average commute time in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area from its projected peak of 109 minutes in 2031 by 32 minutes. The average 2031 commute time would be 77 minutes instead.


Courtesy of Metrolinx

While Metrolinx’s report was received positively in some quarters, most notably by Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, both Toronto mayor Rob Ford and Tim Hudak’s provincial Conservatives expressed their disapproval.

“What I do not support is the province’s plan to slap new taxes on the back of hardworking families in this great province,” Ford said Tuesday.

“I will not support any of these new taxes on the residents of Toronto who are telling me, ‘We just can’t afford it.’ They’ve said it over and over and over to me.”

James Maiangowi is a student journalist living in Toronto.










Show more