Oakville & GTA Chambers’ Report on The Big Move

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Oakville & GTA Chambers’ Report on The Big Move
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About the Author

Joanne Scattolon

Joanne Scattolon

Joanne Scattolon is the Manager, Donor Relations at Sheridan College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning. Her role is to manage a comprehensive Stewardship and Donor Recognition program for donors to Sheridan including Campaign, Major, Alumni, Annual and volunteers. Previously, Joanne was the communications manager for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

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Allan O'Dette, President & CEO of the OCC

Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC

Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with other GTHA chambers of commerce and boards of trade, released the results of a GTHA-wide consultation of businesses on how to fund The Big Move, the province’s transportation plan to relieve congestion in the region.

The results are consolidated in a new report, The $2 billion Question: GTHA Business Opinion on Funding The Big Move. The report is intended to inform Metrolinx’s recommendations to the provincial government, due at the end of May.

The report reveals a clear consensus among GTHA businesses that new revenue tools are inevitable to fund The Big Move. According to a recent OCC survey, 66 percent of GTHA businesses support the need for new revenue tools.

“Business understands that the status quo is no longer an option and that the case for better transportation is overwhelming,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “The question is no longer ‘if’, but ‘how’ to fund new infrastructure in the GTHA.”

“Business understands that the status quo is no longer an option and that the case for better transportation is overwhelming,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC.

“With the significant lack of transportation investment over the last several decades by successive governments, we find ourselves urgently needing to address this crisis,” commented Julia Hanna, chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce feel strongly that the provincial government must also look for efficiencies within its existing budget to help finance The Big Move.”

The report identifies three ‘non-starters’ from the business perspective: an employer payroll tax, a property tax, and a vehicle kilometres travelled fee. Businesses were concerned that an employer payroll tax would hurt job creation at a particularly sensitive time in the region’s economic recovery and that the tax could incent businesses to set up shop outside of the region.

The Big Move by Metrolinx

The Big Move by Metrolinx

Opinion was split on a number of ‘medium potential’ tools, including a commercial parking levy, a sales tax, high occupancy toll lanes, development charges, land value capture, and a transit fare increase.

High potential tools were those where a large majority of businesses voiced support. They include highway tolls and a fuel tax.

The report proposes several design parameters for each of the medium and high potential tools as a means of drumming up support.

Several conditions must be met if new revenue tools are to be implemented. For example, revenues will need to be dedicated to transportation improvements and not absorbed into general revenue. Further, the tools must not hurt the region’s overall economic competitiveness.

Face-to-face consultations were held with more than 250 businesses in 10 sessions across the GTHA. In addition, the OCC surveyed its membership in the GTHA and throughout the province regarding their preferences.

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