The STM is calling on the government to introduce tax incentives to encourage the use of public transit
Montreal, 22 january 2003 The members of the board of directors of the Société de transport de Montréal have approved a resolution calling on the federal and provincial governments to introduce fiscal measures for both individuals and companies to encourage the use of public transit.
Since 1995, the STM has supported the steps taken by the Canadian Urban Transit Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to obtain tax credits such as those that exist for parking provided by an employer. To date, despite the support of members of parliament from all parties, despite surveys demonstrating that the economic benefits would greatly outweigh the costs, and despite the fact that similar measures have been successfully implemented in the United States, the governments have declined to intervene.
Surveys conducted in 1998 indicated that public transit in the greater Montreal area had lost 17% of its market share to automobile use, a trend that continues today. According to Marvin Rotrand, vice-chairman of the board, "we must act immediately to stop this trend. We are convinced that if the governments were to adopt tax measures giving credits to companies and individuals who use public transit, they would benefit from major spin-off effects such as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction in road congestion and its consequences, a reduction in expenditures for road construction and maintenance, in short, an improvement in the citizens quality of life. In fact, analysis carried out for the reveals that the benefits resulting from tax credits (including the savings related to road construction, parking and congestion) would be at least 3 to 7 times higher than the costs. These are sufficient reasons to encourage the governments to modify their income tax laws. Its a necessary choice and one that would contribute to meeting the commitments of the Kyoto Protocol", concluded Mr. Rotrand.