Clark, Horgan Disagree on Use of Carbon Tax Revenue for Green Transportation
In an article in the Vancouver Sun, Premier Christy Clark and Opposition Leader John Horgan are taking opposite positions on what to do with revenue from an increase in the Carbon Tax.
A Liberal government won’t spend that money, said the Premier. “The only way you’d ever see any carbon tax increase in British Columbia would be if it truly was revenue neutral,”
Horgan says, “You discourage the consumption or the creation of (greenhouse gas emissions) by pricing them, and also take any revenues from that and drive it into further reducing the dependence on them. And I think that’s something the public goes, ‘Well that makes sense.’”
NDP leader Horgan said he’d follow the Alberta NDP government’s new carbon tax plan, which earmarks much of the estimated $3 billion in new revenue in that province for energy-efficiency investments like expanded public transit.
While the Alberta plan specifically includes cycling and walking, so far Horgan has not stated publicly that they support using Carbon Tax revenue for cycling. We are following up with him to help ensure BC follows Alberta's lead.
Certainly, a Carbon Tax is not the only possible source of funding for cycling and walking. The $1 billion over ten years could come from a variety of sources including a reallocation of transportation budget, predicted budget surpluses, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
Still, funding is also needed for transit. Using some of the Carbon Tax to provide people with transportation choices does seem like a good idea. Also rather puzzling that they would take positions before the Climate Leadership Plan public input period that will begin soon.
Part of the success of the Carbon Tax could be due to the large increase in transit in the Lower Mainland including the opening of the Canada Line. Without a lot more funding for sustainable transportation, any increase in the Carbon Tax is less likely to be as successful in reducing transportation related emissions.
Photograph by: CHAD HIPOLITO , THE CANADIAN PRESS
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates