Is a gas tax hike on the way for Toronto and Hamilton?
Drivers in the Toronto and Hamilton area should be asked to pay more at the pump to help fund new public transit, a report by a government-appointed panel due to be released today recommends. The province should increase the gas tax by 5 cents per litre to pay for new transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, it says.
The hike in the current 14.7 cent per litre gas tax on unleaded fuel, which the report notes hasn't been raised in more than 20 years, would deliver around $800 million a year plus another $80 million through extra HST.
The report comes from a 13-member panel chaired by Ryerson University's Anne Golden that was tasked with finding ways to generate the roughly $2 billion needed every year for transit in Ontario.
In addition to the gas tax increase, the province should also collect taxes from corporations and developers that benefit from improved transportation infrastructure. The money raised from the proposed hike and other sources would be placed in a dedicated transit account and used as leverage to borrow additional money.
The additional tax would not be applied outside the GTHA.
The long-awaited Yonge relief line (don't call it the Downtown Relief Line) is one of the projects that would benefit from the new funding, which would be put towards the next phase of Big Move projects.
Earlier this year a separate report from Metrolinx backed a gas tax, a business parking levy, and an increase in development charges and HST.
The report will be presented to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who will decide how to proceed.
Is this a fair way of raising money for new transit? How do you expect the report will be received? Does a gas tax increase unfairly target drivers?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.