The Gallant Government in New Brunswick has stated publicly that tolls are on the table again as an option to generate more revenues.
But, asks the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association in a press release response: “Is the right move to reduce our deficit and stabilize the province? Is adding road tolls a viable solution considering our situation today? Is the cost benefit analysis so good that it would clear the path towards financial stability again?”
Jean-Marc Picard, APTA’s Executive Director stated, “Nobody is talking about an HST increase, why? It would be the smartest and most efficient solution to increase revenues! A simple 1% increase would generate $125 million in net revenue in the first year alone. If we mirror our neighbouring province, Nova Scotia, and raise it 2%, we would generate $250 million the first year, half the money the province is actually looking for to reduce the deficit. Not only that, it would be a move that’s good for business and a contribution from all citizens instead of one sector or industry. Tolls would generate maybe $20 million or so, but at what cost for citizens? How much would they have to pay to cross these tolls? As well, there would be an expectation from the population that this money would be to improve our roads!”
Picard says the trucking industry, which already pays “immensely” in terms of taxes and fees, would certainly be the largest contributor towards tolls. “Trucking has been a big part of New Brunswick for many years, an industry that has flourished in our province while others did not, and most of all, it is the base for three of the largest carriers in Canada.”
“In business or your household, the first thing you do when you spend more money than you make is control your costs, which is what the province should focus on immediately. Once they do that, let’s look at all those great opportunities to increase revenues and have a good return on investment. We understand why the province is looking at all opportunities and as a major industry, and employer in this province; we want to work with them to improve our financial situation and create some opportunities that will generate revenues.”