By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday May 28, 2013
Metrolinx report recommends Transit Revenue Tools
Ontario’s transportation agency is recommending a five-cents-a-litre regional gas tax and a one percentage point increase in the sales tax to help fund public transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
They are among four new fees Metrolinx is proposing in a report Monday to raise $2 billion a year for transit.
They include a 25 cents per day business off-street parking levy and a 15 per cent increase in development charges.
Metrolinx says the increase in the HST to 14 per cent from the current 13 per cent would bring in $1.3 billion a year if applied only in the GTHA.
But the Metrolinx report says that due to the administration and collection of HST at the federal and provincial levels, the province may find it necessary to introduce the increase across Ontario.
The report says if that happens, revenue collected outside of the GTHA would be exclusively directed to priorities outside of the region.
The agency says the gas tax and HST hikes would cost the average household in the region about $477 a year.
Premier Kathleen Wynne will use the report to determine which levies she’ll choose to raise the billions of dollars needed to fund what’s being called The Big Move.
Wynne has already ruled out hiking property taxes, but is in favour of creating so-called high occupancy toll lanes.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, currently embroiled in a scandal over allegations of crack cocaine use which he denies, opposes all the levies. (Source: Global News)