Public transportation | New revenues of nearly a billion proposed to Quebec

Nearly a billion dollars are within Quebec’s reach to better finance public transportation, according to a group of organizations, which calls for indexing taxes on fuel and registration in addition to increasing revenues from the carbon market.


“We are in solution mode today. We need to give public transport a boost,” said the coordinator of the Alliance for the Financing of Collective Transport in Quebec (TRANSIT), Samuel Pagé-Plouffe, on Thursday during a press conference in Montreal.

He estimates that an “annual potential” of 694 million could first be obtained by indexing taxes on registration and fuel. These two taxes have not been indexed since 1992 and 2013, respectively.

Another sum estimated at more than 279 million per year could also be gained by increasing the share of carbon market revenues dedicated to public transport from 25 to 50%, maintains the Alliance. This pro rata, which was formerly 66%, had been lowered to 25% in 2022 by a ministerial decree.

In its Plan for a Green Economy 2023-2028, Quebec estimated anticipated revenues from the carbon exchange at 6.7 billion, including 664 million to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles and 318 million for the installation of charging stations. “If we just dedicated these specific revenues, we would already have 196 million available,” notes Mr. Pagé-Plouffe.

In the longer term, his group says the fuel tax could be replaced by a per-kilometer pricing system or tolls.

“What we need is to accelerate everything that is legislative,” argued the climate action coordinator at the National Group of Regional Environmental Councils (RNCREQ), Gabriel Laroque. He denounces the government’s “administrative slowness” “which causes very costly delays, especially for the smallest players in public transport”.

Do not relive the “psychodrama”

The Alliance presented its demands as a new phase of negotiations will soon begin between transport companies, cities and the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault. The objective is to arrive at a “recurring and predictable” funding framework over five years.

In 2023, the negotiations ended abruptly, after weeks of tough exchanges in the public arena. “We absolutely must not relive this psychodrama,” warned the general director of Trajectoire Québec, Sarah V. Doyon, who is campaigning for a minimum increase in the service offering of 7% in 2025, across Quebec. .

These organizations are also asking Quebec, as the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has already done, to allow transporters to carry out real estate projects around their networks, in order to generate more revenue.

“In Vancouver, they already have a real estate division. It has three effects: they can generate income, it accelerates less costly interventions for the housing crisis and it allows better use of urban infrastructure around metro stations,” recalled the professor of urban studies and member of the group, Florence Junca-Adenot.

The expert calls on the authorities to draw more inspiration from the example of Vancouver, where the company TransLink imposes a tax on gasoline of 18.5 cents per liter, which made it possible to reach 425 million in 2022. In Montreal , this tax is three cents per liter; it only made it possible to obtain 89.5 million in the same year.

“What we can do in British Columbia, we can do in Quebec,” illustrated Mme Junca-Adenot, also welcoming the implementation of a parking tax and the expansion of price discounts in the Western Canadian metropolis.

70-30

The coalition finally hopes that the Legault government respects its commitment, which was made during its election in 2018, to rebalance investments in the road network and that of transport. In the next decade, investments in the Quebec Infrastructure Plan (PQI) are of the order of 31.5 billion in the road network compared to 13.8 billion in public transport, which is still roughly equivalent to a ratio of 70% -30 %. “All investments in the road network should be in asset maintenance. We stop developing it,” argued Mr. Pagé-Plouffe.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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