Canadian Consulting Engineer

B.C. will dedicate fuel tax raise to improving roads

February 17, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Consulting Engineers of British Columbia has strongly endorsed the B.C. Premier's decision to dedicate a fuel tax e...

Consulting Engineers of British Columbia has strongly endorsed the B.C. Premier’s decision to dedicate a fuel tax exclusively to maintaining the transportation infrastructure. The Association represents 100 engineering firms in the province, many of whom are involved in designing roads and highways.
In his state of the province address given February 12, 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell said he would increase the fuel tax by 3.5 cents per litre, and all the revenue would be used to improve transportation infrastructure. Campbell said. "Every penny of the increased fuel tax revenue will be invested in the transportation improvements communities need to help them realize their full economic potential."
Among the specific spending projects Campbell mentioned was an allocation of $609 million over three years to connect B.C.’s “heartland” communities. Of that figure, $37 million will be dedicated to roads supporting the B.C. oil and gas industry.
Campbell also suggested the province will seek federal help to carry out a $670 million upgrade of the Trans-Canada Highway through Kicking Horse Canyon. And he said they will be doing improvements on highways in the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and to the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. The government intends to build a new bridge across Lake Okanagan at Kelowna, and they will help the city of Cranbrook complete its airport expansion.
Consulting Engineers of British Columbia is fully behind the increased investment in transpiration. A press release from the association says: “Through the work of our members we are intimately familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of our provincial transportation network of roads, ferries, rail and airports. The sad fact is that our transportation system has suffered from many years of underfunding, with the result that each year the average condition of our infrastructure deteriorates and the level of congestion increases.”
The association is fully behind the user-pay approach to maintaining road systems: “It is … absolutely vital that a dedicated source of funding be implemented, based on a user-pay concept such as a fuel tax, highway tools or a combination of both.”


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