TRANSPORTATION TABLE ADDRESS#2
The Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalitionis an association of past and present concerned bicycle and foot messengersin the city of Toronto. We, like similar bike messenger associations fromall over the world, are working to improve the quality of our workspace.We are affiliated with the International Federation of Bike Messenger Associationswhich reaches from the North America to Europe, Australia and Japan. Earlierthis year we studied the political, economic and social consequences ofsmog and the findings are available in our report entitled "Chokingus to death".
As noted in the Options Paper, green housegas emissions and smog are inter-related. And that's why our study of smogled us to a study of green house gas emissions. Our members spend moretime in direct exposure to greenhouse gas emissions from transportationsources than any other sector in society. Over the last twenty years ourmembers have gained unique and important expertise not only on emissionsbut also on roads, traffic and congestion in urban spaces.
This expertise has led us to some similarrecommendations as the Options Paper. It has also led us to the solutions.Foot and bicycle messengers have already solved some of the problems fromGHG emissions. We exist despite subsidies for automobiles. We exist despitethe misinformation about our industry and sustainable transportation ingeneral. We exist because we provide the fastest and most efficient servicein urban areas. We do it faster than cars and trucks and with virtuallyno GHG emissions.
The success of enviro-friendly couriersmust be encouraged to expand to other sectors of urban transportation.The only way that can happen is to remove "unintended" subsidies and taxbiases.
The most promising and cost effective measuresin the Passenger transport package point to "early actions that would increasepublic awareness and send signals to change travel behaviour, primarilyin urban areas." They not only account for 7% of Canada's Kyoto targetin transportation but they actually produce financial savings of about$100 per tonne.
Most of those savings come from the levelingof the playing field on the tax treatment of employer provided transitand parking benefits. In other words according to this report, the bestpath from Canada to take is to remove "unintended" car biased legislationand policies. The report also highlights the importance of awarenesssince many promising and most promising measures are voluntary.
We must “level the playing field” on alltransportation tax treatments. A similar bias that must be removed hasalready been confirmed by the courts of Canada. The Income Tax Act mustbe amended to reflect the Courts' decision that the additional portionof food consumed by bicycle and foot couriers be permitted as a deductionfrom income. In addition a further incentive should be enacted to encouragethe use of sustainable transportation and to allow us to continue to contributeto the reduction of GHG's without punishment from the tax system. Manyresources are being wasted by human powered employees to fight RevenueCanada on a tax deduction that has been justified by the courts.
The Passenger Transport package stressesthat “enhanced driver education” is a means to reduce GHG. This shouldgo further by discouraging “driver miseducation.” Education of driverswill not only decrease GHG’s but will have beneficial effects on many socialand financial aspects of life in Canada.
We must combat the miseducation of divers through the advertising practices of the automobile industry. Carusage should be portrayed honestly without legal loopholes that allow microscopicprint in advertisements to shield advertisers from liability.
We must educate drivers on the full costof their driving habits. Many special interest groups point the fact thatnot all the money collected from fuel and road taxes goes to build roads.As a result misinformed drivers pressure governments to build more roadswhich prove to be an increasing pressure on GHG emissions. Drivers mustbe educated as to the true costs paid by society in order to keep themdriving. Drivers must be made aware that they pay only 25% of the fullcost of their driving.
What we always hear is the province ofOntario collects $2.7 billion a year in fuel taxes. It will spend about$930 million on highway construction this year. What we never hearis that according to a 1995 study, the associated costs of the car forwhich all Ontario's residents must pay is at least $8.3 billion dollars.(Beyond the Car, Essays on the Auto Culture, Sue Zielinski and Gordon Laird(eds.), Steel Rail Press, 1995)
That means that cars and highways are subsidizedby general tax dollars in the amount of $4.7 billion. And that's why thisOptions Paper clearly shows that the entire transportation portion of Canada'sKyoto target could be achieved by removing a small portion of the automobilesubsidy through an increase in fuel taxes.
In addition an analysis of the most recentstudy by the Texas Transportation Institute revealed that even though roadbuilding has outpaced population growth congestion and gridlock has alsoincreased. The study confirms the growing body of data that building newroads increases car usage, gridlock and thereby increases GHG emissions.
What we must avoid is a reliance on technologyto solve our GHG emissions. While making vehicles more fuel efficient isimportant, history has shown that it is the volume of vehicle usage thatis the major contributor to GHG emissions.
Measures such as Intelligent Traffic Systemsaren’t as effective and their benefits have likely been overestimated.If ITS measures are successful they will temporarily reduce congestionand increase traffic flow. As a result intelligent transportation systemswill not only increase vehicle usage but will also provide further subsidiesto car usage and will discourage more economical and sustainable meansof transportation.
However there is existing technology toallow for cleaner fuel. Ontario's gas is the dirtiest in the industrializedworld. If Oil companies can provide cleaner gas to other regions they shouldbe legislated to provide the same quality to Ontario.
In conclusion we believe that the mostpromising measures to reduce GHG emissions in Canada are those that levelthe playing filed for subsidies and biases in the transportation sector.And those measures are specifically ones that reduce car usage across thecountry but most heavily in urban areas.