Motorists in rural and small-town Ontario will continue to subsidize big cities while seeing no predictable funding returned to their own communities to fix crumbling roads and bridges.
“The high cost of gas is bad enough,” said Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott after a bill was defeated that would have forced the provincial government to share gas tax revenues with rural and small-town Ontario.
“But what’s worse is that every penny of the provincial gas tax we pay goes to support big-city transit projects, while our communities get nothing.”
Ontario Liberal MPPs, including many from rural ridings, last week voted down a private member’s bill that would have shared revenue from Ontario’s 14.7 cents per litre gas tax among all municipalities – rural and urban. Federal gas tax revenues are already shared among all municipalities.
“It’s truly baffling that the Liberals would vote against this basic measure of fairness for the people of their communities,” said Arnott, who noted that Premier Dalton McGuinty might not have allowed his Liberal members a free vote on the issue.
“Our municipalities have asked for stable and predictable funding to fix our roads and bridges,” said Arnott. “This bill would have gone a long way to provide that.”
He also noted that Puslinch Township and Erin were both shut out of recently announced funding under the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative.
“I’m still trying to get explanations and answers as to why those communities were shut out,” said Arnott as the legislature debated the gas tax bill on May 1.
He also noted the lack of an appeals process or debriefing process for municipalities to which the McGuinty government denied funding.