CAA's ongoing leadership helps achieve dedicated funding for transportation in provincial budget

THORNHILL, ON, May 3, 2013 /CNW/ - CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is pleased that the 2013 provincial budget reflects a number of critical issues that the auto club has been raising with the province for a decade.

As a leading transportation advocate, CAA SCO has repeatedly called on the province to establish dedicated funding for road infrastructure and establish regulation over the towing industry while also addressing critical issues around gridlock.

CAA SCO is encouraged by the commitment to a number of improvements to Ontario's road network, including the expansion of Highway 427 through York Region, and that the plans for establishing additional high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on several 400 series highways will resume after being halted during last year's budget.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa's inaugural budget also references plans to convert selected HOV lanes in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) into high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in the future. While no time lines or costs were listed, CAA SCO believes that this initiative will give individual commuters an option.

"Transitioning select HOV lanes into HOT lanes will continue to enable vehicles with two or more people to use the lane for free, and charge individual drivers who voluntarily choose these lanes. This provides drivers with choice, while also maintaining toll-free lanes for all motorists to use," said Elliott Silverstein, Government Relations Manager, CAA SCO. 

Meanwhile, with the Metrolinx report on revenue sources scheduled for release at the end of the month, the budget recommends that any new revenue collected to fund the Big Move should be dedicated back to transportation projects, a measure that CAA SCO has long advocated for.

"The efforts listed in the budget are a good first step; however any new money that is collected to fund the Big Move must be dedicated to these infrastructure projects. Our members have overwhelmingly agreed that any new funds collected to pay for transportation projects must be dedicated," said Silverstein.

"We are pleased that the Finance Minister mentioned that revenue tools should not unfairly impact one type of commuter over another. With several revenue tools already shortlisted by Metrolinx, CAA SCO and its members overwhelmingly agree, with 72% of those polled saying that the source for funds for new and expanded transportation should be shared among consumers and businesses," added Silverstein.

The budget also noted that the government is committed to further study of several initiatives including provincial oversight of the towing industry. CAA SCO applauds this effort and is eager to work with the government to help modernize the towing industry, while ensuring there is sufficient consumer protection and an enhancement of safety for tow truck drivers and motorists alike. 

CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club offering roadside services, automotive care, travel and insurance. There are more than 1.9 million CAA members in South Central Ontario and over 5.6 million members in Canada. We're more than Roadside Assistance. We're Life-side Assistance.

SOURCE: CAA South Central Ontario

For further information:

Media contact: Silvana Aceto, Media and PR Specialist, CAA SCO, sace@caasco.ca, Office: (905) 771-3194, Cell: (416) 209-4930 or Jeff LeMoine, Communications Specialist, jlem@caasco.ca, Office: (905) 771-4709, Cell: (416) 254-0641.

Follow  @CAASCO_News on Twitter for regular updates on wait times, other news and information.


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