Innovative B.C. starts the road-pricing revolution (Andrew Coyne, The Regina Leader-Post Dec. 13, 2014)
Also discussed here: The shocking truth about B.C.’s carbon tax: It works (Ross Beaty, Richard Lipsey and Stewart Elgie, the Globe and Mail, Jul. 09 2014)
Today we review news that Vancouver area Mayors have decided to ask their voters to agree by referendum to two new “taxes” – a sales tax and a comprehensive road-pricing plan – that would be a first for any Canadian city, collect revenue from other than municipal property tax and virtually eliminate traffic congestion. One downside is that implementation would only come in 5 to 8 years - would the next elected civic administrations be up to the challenge? As jurisdictional children, the municipalities would also need to get provincial approval. There is reason to expect a positive response as B.C. is also the first province to have implemented a successful carbon tax on consumer goods 6 years ago, reaffirmed in a recent provincial election, and given citizens the lowest personal income taxes in Canada.
“a group of Vancouver-area mayors,…will put the package to the region's voters in a referendum next spring.. Lower Mainlanders will have it within their power to bring about a revolution in public policy - three of them:
*the first time a proposal to increase taxes was put directly to voters in Canada, via a referendum or plebiscite
*the first municipal sales tax in Canadian history…about $125 per household annually, and earmarked for the mayors' transit plan.. a much-needed shift in the municipal tax base: away from property taxes
*the first comprehensive system of road tolls - what the mayors call "mobility pricing" - in the world. .. all cars, all roads, all the time, adjusted dynamically in response to traffic conditions and collected electronically via on-board GPS-based transponders..
[and] a Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to oversee its planning and implementation within five to eight years."
“At a stroke, it would effectively abolish congestion, by common consensus the worst of Canada's urban blights”
“B.C.’s tax, implemented in 2008, covers most types of fuel use and carbon emissions. It started out low ($10 per tonne of carbon dioxide), then rose gradually to the current $30 per tonne, which works out to about 7 cents per litre of gas. .. Since the tax came in, fuel use in B.C. has dropped by 16 per cent; in the rest of Canada, it’s risen by 3 per cent ”
“B.C. now has the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada (with additional cuts benefiting low-income and rural residents) and one of the lowest corporate rates in North America”