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Tolls For Drivers In Montreal? Here's Why You Could Soon Pay For Every Kilometre

More electric vehicles on the road has slashed the city's gas tax income.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A car on Highway 40 East near  Montreal.

A car on Highway 40 East near Montreal.

Montreal could soon be switching gears when it comes to how it funds public transit. The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) announced on Thursday it is studying the possibility of replacing the gas tax with a per-kilometre toll for local drivers.

Right now, the city charges an average 69-cent gas tax per litre of unleaded. The rate breaks down to a 19-cent provincial tax, 10-cent federal tax,17-cent GST/TVQ tax, and 3-cent Montreal tax, according to Gas Buddy.

While Montreal has one of the highest gas tax rates in the country, the financing source has become less secure in recent years, shrinking at least 0.6% annually as more residents invest in electric vehicles.

"Municipalities must prepare for a reduction in gas tax revenues in the coming years. However, this tax is mainly used to finance our public transit network, which needs major investments to ensure its development, operation and maintenance," said Montreal Mayor and CMM President Valérie Plante.

A 2019 report by the CMM transport commission found tolls were a more efficient and stable funding strategy that would generate consistent funding. Road tolls were also found to be a fairer financing option than the gas tax.

"At a time of climate change, when everyone agrees on the importance of taking strong action, consensus on per-kilometre pricing is emerging among public transit partners. We must now find the best way to implement it and this feasibility study is the step that will allow us to get there," Plante said.

The CMM study will investigate the best way to apply a kilometre-based pricing system in Montreal, including which tech to use, how to manage the new model and possible economic and social impacts. The city's review will run from January to August 2023.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Sofia Misenheimer
    MTL Blog, Associate Editor
    Sofia Misenheimer is an Associate Editor for MTL Blog focused on gas prices in Montreal and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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