If Doug Ford actually comes through with his 10 cent per litre savings on gas - will that savings come out of the hide of municipal transit?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2018



With the provincial election out of the way – we will figure out just what kind of a government we are going to have in the weeks and months ahead.

The political focus now shifts to the municipal sector. The 2018 election is going to be a lot different that the one that took place in 2014.

There is an excellent collection of candidates across the board for the municipal side. There is next to nothing new on the Board if Education side – we will leave that to a future news story.

What Burlington is now seeing is a group of younger people who are smart and want to see things done differently. They care about their city in a much different way than most of the current council.  They are open to new ideas and they are putting new ideas forward.

Several have excellent web sites. Some of the candidates are digging into their own wallets and self -funding their campaigns.

It is a little difficult to keep up with all the campaigns. The Gazette is continually scanning the various candidate web sites and looking for imaginative ideas and solutions to problems the city faces put forward by some of the candidates.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner, candidate for the ward 2 city council seat.

Roland Tanner, a candidate in ward 2 and one of the people involved in the creation of the Shape Burlington Report in 2010 has some thoughts on how the city is going to fund transit.

The first big plus is that Tanner actually wants to see transit funded – not something one could say about the current council.

In a report he released on his web site (https://rolandtanner.ca/) Tanner said: “Thanks in large part to community groups like Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST), which came into being to protest against transit funding and service cuts made in 2012, Burlington City Council has recently been indicating an increased commitment to investment in Burlington Transit, hand in hand with commitments of $45 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments for Burlington alone. As a result, the Burlington Transit Users’ Forum was characterized by cautious optimism in April.

Tanner want to be sure that the incoming provincial government commits to not reducing the 2 cent gas tax transfer to municipalities?

Tanner points out that those funds “could be threatened by the 10 cent gas tax promised by the incoming provincial government. The 10 cent cut will reduce the overall gas tax received by the province from 14 cents a litre to 4 cents. Of that 4 cents, the province is obliged to pass 2 cents per litre to Ontario municipalities. That means 50% of the remaining gas tax will be going to the cities, not the province. Is it realistic to think the provincial government will be willing to let that continue to happen?

Tanner cropped

Roland Tanner – a member of the Shape Burlington report committee.

There is in in the conclusion Tanner makes that the 10 cent per litre savings Doug Ford said he would give citizens has the potential to come out of the hide of the transit sector.

Tanner asked City Hall to provide exact details of the financial implications of the gas tax transfer being repealed, and they kindly provided them. In the 2017-18 fiscal year gas tax funding for Burlington amounted to: $2,262,568

Tanner concludes that if the gas tax funding from the province is changed the city would have to increase taxes by 1.47 percent, in order to keep transit funding static.

He adds that: “If Burlington is to grow successfully, it is essential that Burlington Transit receives the investment it needs to provide a better service. City Hall should be acting as soon as possible to ask the provincial government to commit to maintaining the municipal gas tax transfer at 2 cents per litre, and oppose any attempt to download provincial government cuts onto municipalities.”

In a May Toronto Star Letter to the Editor Tanner write:

Until the City of Burlington adopts a much more courageous approach to citizen engagement, Burlington will keep finding itself in a cycle of worsening resentment and distrust towards City Hall and council. Such an approach was recommended by the 2010 Shape Burlington Report, which called on City Hall to ‘re-invent itself’ in order to empower citizen-led entities – community councils, advisory committees and panels chosen by civic lottery – that act a ‘”on ramps” to participation’ for people who otherwise don’t get involved city affairs.

A previous Progressive Conservative government downloaded the cost of a a bunch of services to the municipal sector.  Are we about to see this happen again?

Contacting Tanner:

Web site: https://rolandtanner.ca/

Email  roland@rolandtanner.ca

Telephone  289 259 4023

Facebook:  https://facebook.com/roland4ward2

Follow on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/roland4ward2

Related links:

The Shape Burlington Report.

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1 comment to If Doug Ford actually comes through with his 10 cent per litre savings on gas – will that savings come out of the hide of municipal transit?

  • Penny

    I agree with Mr. Tanners suggestion that transit will probably be negatively affected if the gas tax funding to cities is changed.

    My question is how much of this funding actually ended up in providing more buses for transit? I have been led to believe that a good part of this money went to”shave and pave” for roads.

    Any time an organization or City is dependant on funding in the form of a grant or tax rebate from a government there is the possibility that this could be gone.

    A more realistic approach would be budgeting this through taxpayer dollars, and saying no to some of the legacy projects promoted by some Ward Councillors.