Transfer of revenues from the tax on gasoline
to Quebec municipalities:
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal reiterates the parameters for the optimal, efficient sharing of funds
Montreal, February 2, 2005 On behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the presentation by the Honourable John Godfrey, Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities) outlining the major steps leading to the conclusion of agreements with the provinces and territories allowing the allocation of gas tax funds. The Board of Trade is pleased to see that the federal government is respecting its commitment to provide concrete financial assistance to the country's cities.
In the wake of this announcement, the Board of Trade would like to remind the Quebec government of the parameters it believes should guide the optimal, efficient sharing of funds among Quebec municipalities.
First of all, it is important that this transfer of funds, which targets municipalities, actually provide net assistance to them. In our opinion, it would be unacceptable for the Quebec government to take advantage of the arrival of these new funds to reduce its commitments to municipalities, declared Isabelle Hudon, interim President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The Board of Trade also considers it essential that the formula for sharing these funds among Quebec municipalities take into account the particular needs of the metropolis and of Quebec 's major urban centres.
It would make sense to adopt a strategic approach to transferring the gas tax funds and to try to maximize returns in terms of creating wealth for all Quebecers. From this point of view, investing in infrastructures increasing the competitiveness of the metropolis the economic engine of Quebec would seem to us to be in everybody's interest, especially since the strong economic performance of the metropolis has a direct impact on the Quebec government's ability to redistribute wealth, continued Hudon.
The Board of Trade also expects the Quebec government to acknowledge the key role of public transit as an infrastructure of sustainable urban development and to distribute some of the transferred funds in accordance with its use.
The Board of Trade hopes, moreover, that the major cities will be treated as true partners in the redistribution and use of funds transferred by the government. We expect that Montreal will be able to allocate the gas tax revenues based on its priorities for sustainable infrastructures, added Hudon.
For the Board of Trade, the funding of cities must be in line with the vitality and economic growth they generate. This is, moreover, the only way Montreal will finally have the means to realize its ambitions and fully play its role as a world-class metropolis, concluded Hudon.
Finally, the Board of Trade believes it would be unproductive for the priorities of the metropolis to be forced to compete with the fundamentally different priorities of much smaller municipalities.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants and businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec 's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015