Tory's gas tax plan will help municipalities

    PC Leader announces details of $1 billion transportation plan to
    municipal leaders

    OTTAWA, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Party Leader John Tory
today further detailed the two-pronged approach a PC government will take to
help Ontario municipalities struggling to fund services through property
taxes. Tory's plan focuses on a massive investment in roads, bridges and
transit plus a commitment to address the costs of social services in
partnership with municipalities starting in 2008.
    "Our plan will see investment across the entire province, communities big
and small, urban and rural," said Tory. "It's the kind of partnership that
will be real because it gives all municipalities permanent access to a source
of revenue which will grow with the economy. As the province gains, so will
    Through the PC "Truth in Taxes" program which guarantees all gas and fuel
taxes collected are spent on transportation, a John Tory government will
increase permanent, annual funding for municipal transportation and transit by
$1.1 billion by 2011. The details of the program are:

    -   Approximately two cents of the gas tax ($300 million) will go to
        support roads and bridges in rural and northern municipalities. That
        will start with an immediate annual increase of $150 million in 2008.
    -   A further $800 million in gas and fuel tax money will go to municipal
        and regional transit. That will also start with an immediate
        $150 million increase in transit spending in the first year of a PC

    "This policy is the right thing to do for a lot of reasons," said Tory.
"It will remove a significant financial pressure from the municipal tax base.
It will give us essential transportation infrastructure, vital to economic
prosperity. It will fight gridlock - so people can be more productive and
spend more time with their families. It will reduce car trips and greenhouse
gases, which is important to all of us as we fight global warming."
    Tory said the second part of the PC approach to municipalities is also in
writing in the Party's platform, released in June. Tory has called for the
municipal review committee to finish its report by the end of the year and
make decisions based on that expert municipal advice in time for 2008
municipal budgets. PC policy is guided by two principles - that local property
taxes should be used principally for local needs; and a fix of provincial
municipal finances must be a long-term one with stable, reliable funding.
    "This timing will still ensure that relief for local taxpayers and
municipal governments will be on the way for the 2008 budget year - beginning
with the new 'Truth in Taxes' transportation money followed by steps that are
taken to upload social services costs," said Tory. "The financial imbalance
between the Province and the municipalities and the burden that this imbalance
places on municipal taxpayers is a serious problem that must be fixed, and we
must get started in time for 2008 budgets."

For further information:

For further information: Brendan Howe, (416) 325-0412

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