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If You Use the Roads, You Must Pay

Web posted on September 06, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Well, once again, the province has raised the fee to renew our licence plates and now it will be done every year. Thank you Premier Whine, the Queen of Greed. This constant assault on the average taxpayer must be stopped. It is outrageous that they are raising the rates at well above inflation while many people who use the roads do not have to pay. Remember this rip off when you are casting your ballot at the next election.

The current system is unacceptable must be changed. For once, I would like to make a simple system much more complicated. I have not lost my mind, so bear with me.

I would like to see all vehicles using roads and streets have provincially issued licence plates. This would include BICYCLES over a certain size, motorized bikes, and scooters. If they use the roads, they pay. (personally, I would like it made retroactive ten years, but that is not realistic) Bicycles used for deliveries must pay a premium commercial rate. It is time for these people to pay their share. The base fee would be $50 per year. First offence for no plates on a bicycle should be at least $500 doubling with each further offence. The next level would be for motorcycles (with quiet exhausts) paying an additional ten dollars per year. Compact and sub compact cars meeting a certain fuel economy standard would be charged $75 per year. These would be designated as base rates. All other categories would be considered premium. There should be categories for mid sized, full sized and luxury vehicles each increasing at a rate of not less than $50 per year. After a certain threshold the vehicle would be designated a gas guzzler and the increase would be at least additional $100 per year. (this is better than a carbon tax because it effects the offenders not the average person) The next category up would be non commercial trucks, this would includes pick ups, recreation vehicles and SUVs, (vans and mini vans would retain the current rates) again with a substantial increase per year. If you can afford heavy gas guzzlers, you can afford to pay. Buses and trucks used exclusively for commercial purposes (absolutely no personal use whatsoever) would retain the current system. Any vehicle with no emissions would pay the same rate as bicycles. The motorcycle rate would apply to hybrid vehicles that meet a certain (to be determined) mileage standard. I suppose the base rates could be open for negotiation, but they must remain well below the current rate.

I would then create a category for all non commercial vehicles that have been modified from factory standard. If you have made any modifications no matter how trivial, you will pay. The only exemption I would make is for mud/splash guards which should be mandatory on all vehicles. There would be sliding scale from ten dollars a year per minor modification, to $500 for each major modification such as those annoying loud mufflers. Loud sound systems would based on the wattage of the system over factory standard. I would suggest $25 per year per watt, above factory standard plus a $100 health care fee for hearing damage. If you can afford to modify your vehicle, you can afford to pay the extra fees.

I would exempt historical and restored vehicles older than 30 years. They would pay the current going rate plus a reasonable environmental fee as their emissions would probably exceed the current standards. Registered owners of show vehicles could buy special three or five day show passes to a maximum of twelve per year at a very reasonable rate, and would be exempt from the modification fees. They would not be allowed regular plates.

I would like the modified section be on the honour system, with very serious fines for cheating. Checks could be done at the Service Ontario location at renewal as most modifications are quite obvious One or two additional staff members could do this. If this does not work, some type of check system would have to be implemented with only the modified vehicles having to pay an additional substantial fee.

The base rates would not change for a minimum of ten years. The rest of the rates would increase at the inflation rate every January. I realize that this is a very complex system, but it would pay for itself very quickly. Additional revenue would be returned to the municipalities where the vehicles are registered. One half would be for public transit, and one half would be for infrastructure upkeep. In rural areas with no public transit they could use all the money for infrastructure upkeep.

I realize that this is a money grab, but it would reward the average owner, and make the rest pay. Any party deciding to use this formula would get my vote in the next election.

One more thing, the privatization of many Service Ontario locations should have never happened. Because they are not owned by the government, they must not be allowed to use the name Service Ontario. The new name they use must reflect that it is privatized operation, perhaps something like Disservice Ontario.

Labour Day marks the unofficial end of summer. We will see when Mother Nature decides that summer is over and by the looks of the long range forecast it could be a while. I suppose that this is better than the winter that wouldn't end. Enjoy the last long weekend of summer, be safe, and as always, don't drink and drive. It's back to school on Tuesday for the kids and teachers.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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