Tremblay announces new car tax proposal
Published Thursday, November 4, 2010 7:10PM EDT
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay called a news conference Thursday to announce a proposed new tax on vehicle registrations without mentioning how much the tax would cost motorists.
"If you want to use your car," Tremblay says, "it's going to cost you a little bit more."
The tax is similar to a wildly unpopular one recently implemented in Toronto that played a big role in the recent mayoral election win of Rob Ford.
Outgoing mayor David Miller's administration implemented a $60 tax on all vehicle registrations and $30 on motorcycle registrations that brought in an estimated $40 million to city coffers annually but outraged motorists.
Ford promised to eliminate the tax, helping him to a landslide victory by nearly 100,000 votes.
Tremblay did not say how much the proposed new Montreal vehicle registration tax would cost, but he did say the revenue would be pumped into a public transit system that has skyrocketing new costs with stagnant revenues.
"We cannot accelerate investments in public transit if we don't have a new source of revenue," Tremblay said. "We can't do it though property taxes."
The new tax would only apply to Montreal residents, with Tremblay re-affirming his desire to institute a toll system on the city's bridges and tunnels to collect revenue from off-island residents who drive to work in the city.
In addition to Montreal, the city's de-merged municipalities are also talking about asking permission from the provincial government to charge the same tax to its residents.
"It's a chicken or the egg thing," Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said. "If we want to improve public transit to the West Island, we have to fund it."
The current $500 million budget for public transit in Montreal is not sufficient for the planned metro line extensions and other improvements the Tremblay administration has pushed for in recent years.
"It is what is called a Hobson's choice, in other words, no choice," Trent said. "They either get an increase in their property taxes or they get an increase in regards to owning their car."