New Report from OCC Reveals GTHA Business Opinion on Transit Revenue Tools

A coalition of GTHA chambers of commerce and boards of trade release results of GTHA-wide consultations on how to fund new transportation infrastructure.

TORONTO, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), in partnership with other GTHA chambers of commerce and boards of trade, released the results of a GTHA-wide consultation of businesses on how to fund The Big Move, the province's transportation plan to relieve congestion in the region.

The results are consolidated in a new report, The $2 billion Question: GTHA Business Opinion on Funding The Big Move. The report is intended to inform Metrolinx's recommendations to the provincial government, due at the end of May.

The report reveals a clear consensus among GTHA businesses that new revenue tools are required to fund The Big Move. According to a recent OCC survey, 66 percent of GTHA businesses support the need for new revenue tools.

"Businesses understand that the status quo is no longer an option and that the case for better transportation is overwhelming," said Allan O'Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. "The question is no longer 'if', but 'how' to fund new infrastructure in the GTHA."

The report identifies three 'non-starters' from the business perspective: an employer payroll tax, a property tax, and a vehicle kilometres travelled fee.

"Businesses made it loud and clear that an employer payroll tax would hurt job creation at a particularly sensitive time in our economic recovery," said O'Dette. "It could also incent businesses to set up shop outside of the region."

Opinion was split on a number of 'medium potential' tools, including a commercial parking levy, a sales tax, high occupancy toll lanes, development charges, land value capture, and a transit fare increase.

High potential tools were those where a large majority of businesses voiced support. They include highway tolls and a fuel tax.

The report proposes several design parameters for each of the medium and high potential tools as a means of drumming up support.

The report sets out several conditions if new revenue tools are to be implemented. For example, revenues will need to be dedicated to transportation improvements and not absorbed into general revenue. Further, the tools must not hurt the region's overall economic competitiveness.

Face-to-face consultations were held with more than 250 businesses in 10 sessions across the GTHA. In addition, the OCC surveyed its membership in the GTHA and throughout the province regarding their preferences.

Earlier today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of GTHA chambers of commerce and boards of trade released "The $2 billion Question: Business Opinion on Funding The Big Move."

Read the report here: http://occ.on.ca/assets/The-2Billion-Question_online.pdf

SOURCE: Ontario Chamber of Commerce

For further information:

Neville McGuire, Manager of Communications
Telephone: 416-482-5222 ext. 2410
Email: nevillemcguire@occ.on.ca


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