OTTAWA, Ont. — The feds introduced a much-anticipated budget yesterday that was rich in infrastructure spending.
Missing, however, was a reduction of the federal excise tax on diesel, which was promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during last year’s election campaign.
Nearly $12 billion will be spent on roads, bridges and border crossings, which was lauded by the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
“The trucking industry welcomes the increased investment in highways, bridges and border crossings announced in the budget,” says David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. “We are especially pleased that a number of the specifically mentioned projects were contained on a list of infrastructure priorities compiled by CTA.”
Also catching the CTA’s eye was the establishment of a Canadian Secured Credit Facility, which Bradley hopes will help fleets obtain the credit they need to buy equipment.
“Investment in tractors and trailers has come to an almost complete halt,” he said. “This is mainly a reflection of the state of the market for freight transportation service, but also a reflection of tight credit. If this budget and the stimulus package being introduced in the United States do provide a boost in economic activity, carriers will need to begin re-equipping their fleets and if the creation of the credit facility helps the industry to do that, it will be a good thing.”
The credit initiative will feature $12 billion in funding for the purchase of vehicles and equipment.
Some of the highlights of the budget for the trucking industry include: $130 million to twin the Trans-Canada through Banff National Park; $212 million to renew the Champlain Bridge in Montreal; $15 million for the international bridges at Sarnia, Ont. and Fort Erie, Ont.; and $42 million to rehabilitate various bridges.
Meanwhile, provincial-federal partnerships will result in further road and bridge upgrades in various regions of Canada. Border services at Prescott, Ont. as well as Huntingdon, Kingsgate and the Pacific Highway crossing will share $80 million in funding.