Ontario transit proposal could cost each household $477 a year

Ontario transit proposal could cost each household $477 a year

Fees proposed by Metrolinx for GTA, Hamilton areas include HST increase, parking levy

Ontario transit proposal could cost each household $477 a year

A final report released today by Ontario's transportation agency, Metrolinx, recommends new fees to raise $2 billion annually for public transit in the Greater Toronto Area and the Hamilton area.

If adopted, the proposed fees could amount to each household paying about $477 more in annual taxes, Metrolinx says. The estimate is based on a 2.66 person household, driving an average distance of 12,670 kilometres per year.

"We're very aware that $477 for a family is a substantial amount of money but we believe it's more than offset by the benefits," Metrolinx chairman Robert Prichard said.

The benefits would be relieving GTHA congestion while building a regional system to support an integrated regional economy, Metrolinx says.

Progressive Conservative transportation critic Frank Klees said the cost for residents is simply too high.

"They are not going to get our support to go after the consumer for more taxes because you can dress this up as a revenue tool as much as you want. Put lipstick on the pig, it's still a pig," he said.

Among the final set of revenue tools recommended to the provincial government are a new parking levy, development charges and a gas tax of five cents per litre.

The agency has also proposed a one per cent increase to the HST that would equal approximately 65 per cent of the billions being raised by the province.

A Metrolinx document explained that "due to the nature of the administration and collection of HST at the federal and provincial levels, the province may find it administratively necessary to introduce a percentage point HST increase provincewide, rather than just in the GTHA."

A family with two cars driving roughly 20,000 kilometres a year would pay $977 under the recommended tax hikes and fees.

The revenue tools will be reviewed by the Liberal government over the next few months, and put into legislation for a vote sometime in the future.

CBC News
Posted: May 27, 2013 7:11 AM ET