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Ontarians pay majority of road infrastructure costs

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October 17, 2013 by STAFF REPORT

Residents in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area paid almost $1 billion more in road taxes and fees from 2008 to 2010 than actual costs, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.

And province-wide, more than $7.5 billion in revenue was generated through taxes and fees on Ontario roads—such as construction, maintenance and policing—which covered between 70 to 90 per cent of costs on average.

The report, Where the Rubber Meets the Road: How Much Motorists Pay for the Road Infrastructure, was commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario in order to get a better understanding of who is footing road infrastructure bills.

One of the major challenges in addressing traffic congestion is determining who should pay the costs of additional road infrastructure, said Vijay Gill, director of policy research, Conference Board of Canada.

“Virtually all the discussion about congestion is related to the presumption that users of the road infrastructure are heavily subsidized by all taxpayers,” he said.

The report’s findings don’t remove policy options such as congestion charges from consideration, he said, but they do “shed new light on the conventional wisdom about who pays for road infrastructure.”

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