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Montreal vehicle registration rates will almost triple next year

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Vehicle registration in Montreal is likely about to be a lot more expensive.

The Montreal metropolitan community (CMM) said on Thursday that its members voted for the vehicle registration rate to rise to $150 next year, almost tripling the rate from $59.

The CMM said it was forced to adopt the resolution bringing in the Jan. 1 rate hike "to increase the share of motorists in the financing of the metropolitan network."

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said she wants to make the increase as low as possible.

"We know it's difficult," Plante told CTV News. "A lot of families are struggling financially, so our goal is not to add to it, but, at the same time, we know that we need to take care of the public transport network in the entire area."

The hike is subject to additional funds from the Quebec government, which announced it would be chipping in $200 million in 2024, which is $38 million less than it was in 2023.

The CMM says that amount is far from the $561 million the metropolis needs to finance public transportation on the island.

The vehicle registration fee hike is meant to make up the shortfall, the CMM says.

Opposition party Ensemble Montreal agrees that raising vehicle registration rates is necessary, but "certainly not so drastically."

"Of course, motorists have to contribute more to public transit, just as riders do through fare increases," said opposition leader Aref Salem. "However, we mustn't forget that residents of outlying boroughs currently have very few alternatives for getting rid of their cars. This draconian increase punishes motorists who have no other choice in terms of public transport."

Salem added he was surprised the CMM acted so quickly to implement the increase, as the mayors in the Greater Montreal Area are still negotiating with Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault, and the Commission sur les Finances et l'Administration de la Ville de Montréal is currently holding pre-budget consultations on public transit funding.

"The Mayor of Montreal, who chairs the CMM, should have the consideration to wait for the Commission's recommendations before moving ahead with this measure," said Salem.

The CMM said in its release that the motorists' share of funding for public transport is declining to around five per cent.

"The CMM must therefore look for other solutions to diversify the sources of revenue paid to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to finance the development, operation and maintenance of the public transit network, without increasing municipal contributions or resorting to property taxation," the CMM said.

Part of the total cost

The vehicle registration tax is just one part of the entire cost of vehicle registration for passenger vehicles.

For a passenger vehicle that weighs 3,000 kg. or less, the following fees apply as per the Quebec auto insurance board (SAAQ):

  • Vehicle registration fee: $133
  • Insurance contribution: $66.16
  • Insurance contribution tax: $5.96
  • Charge: $5.20
  • Public transit contribution: $30
  • Passenger vehicle registration tax: $59 (potentially rising to $150)

Total costs range from $210.32 to $299.32, depending on fees for luxury vehicles, large cylinder capacity and other factors.

Not about to get any better for public transit

The CMM said that though the 2025 budget will be helped by the vehicle registration rate hike, the public transportation network is facing significant bills in the coming years.

The CMM said the shortfalls will be as follows:

  • $604.5 million in 2026
  • $670.4 million in 2027
  • $697.8 million in 2028

"Legislative changes, time and transitional assistance will be needed before significant savings can be generated, enabling a way out of the public transit funding crisis," the CMM said.

The CMM (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal) is a planning, coordinating and financing body for 82 municipalities in the Greater Montreal Area that is responsible for land-use planning, economic development, social housing, public transit and the environment.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is the CMM president and Longueuil Mayor Catherine Fournier is vice-president.

Laval Mayor Stephane Boyer, Deux-Montagnes Mayor Denis Martin, Mercier Mayor Lise Michaud and Montreal councillors Dominique Ollivier, Sylvain Ouellet and Luc Rabouin make up the rest of the executive committee. 

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