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Gas Tax Should Fund the TTC

If you drive you have undoubtedly been hit by the increased cost of oil. You maybe someone who wants to see tax cuts when it comes to buying your gas -but don't be so hasty. Cutting gas taxes can be akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

It seems that everyone wants lower gas prices, surprisingly so do the NDP. I don't think people who are demanding a tax cut have really thought this through. What gets me is that if that gas tax goes away - how will we reward alternative transit? Will we have the infrastructure to accommodate new transit riders in Toronto?

Instead of calling for an end to the gas tax what we should be doing is re-directing the tax to promote alternatives to using a car. The gas we buy today can be turned into savings later. Drivers are a determined bunch and they will not give up their autos until a viable alternative exists (as in the TTC/GO needs to run more frequently and to more places) or the cost of driving outweighs the benefits.

The day of gas costing $2.00 a liter is inevitable and could soon be upon us. We should be prepared to for that day. Instead of putting the gas tax into the general tax coffers, the tax should be exclusive to promoting alternative forms of transit. For every dollar earned from the gas-tax a dollar should be invested in transit. London is basically doing that so why can't we?

Cutting the gas tax is just a stopgap solution to the real issue - rising oil prices. Sure, cutting the tax will save us now, but that won't stop the price of a barrel of oil naturally increasing. Even if there are no more hurricanes or wars in the Middle East a barrel of oil will continue to increase in price. Cutting the gas tax could win one election, but loose the next.

When oil gets too expensive where will the drivers turn? A transit system needs to be there, and it needs to be good. Thus what we should be doing with the gas tax is to devote it to public transit or alternative modes of transit. Sure, the TTC is getting some more funds from the government, but that is not nearly enough.

The government thankfully is leaning towards not cutting the gas tax.


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