LONGUEUIL – Sunday morning, members of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) came out swinging.
“We realized by studying Bill 76, that there is a new tax that is about to hit all the drivers on the south shore and the north shore,” said CAQ MNA Nathalie Roy.
According to the CAQ, 66 off-island communities could soon impose a $45-per-vehicle tax to help fund public transit.
“It’s another way to get some money from the taxpayers but it’s wrong, we should not do that,” Roy said.
Montreal commuters already pay the $45 tax, which goes to help fund the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montreal’s transit agency.
In addition, both Montreal and off-island communities already pay $30 per vehicle to finance the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT).
But the CAQ argued that off-island residents don’t use public transportation as much as Montrealers.
“I live on the south shore, my colleagues live on the north shore and what we realized is in reality, drivers don’t use the public transportation,” said Roy. “They don’t use it because it doesn’t fit their needs. And we’re gonna have to pay more for services we don’t use.”
And some off-island residents seem to be on the same page.
“It frustrates me that the government guys get all kinds of money but you basically have your hands tied,” a Longueuil resident told Global News. “You need to drive.”
In a statement, CAA-Quebec also denounced the new tax.
“Once again motorists are an easy target,” said Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec’s vice-president of communication and public affairs. “They already contribute up to $1.4 billion per year in funding for public transit. It’s time to diversify funding sources.”
Global News tried to reach out to the Liberal Government for comment on Bill 76 and the new tax, but no one was available.