Some motorists who live off the island of Montreal will be required to start paying $50 extra every year for the registration of their car, as Montreal drivers fees will be increasing in 2021. The new charge comes as government officials attempt to find new ways to fund the buses, trains and metro services. The changes also have the aim of encouraging people in the community to use transit services, both to alleviate traffic and improve air quality in the city.
While people living in Montreal already pay the extra charges, the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) approved new legislation on Thursday that will require all drivers in the neighbouring suburbs to pay the fee too. This increase in price will aim to generate an extra $100 million every year that will support the city’s public transport services.
At present, there are 82 communities under the wing of the CMM, which will all have to fork out for the extra fees by 2021. The $100 million that will be gained from the price-hike will be used to fund a number of public transport projects, including an extension of Montreal’s Metro system and the implementation of bus-only lanes. The changes were suggested earlier this year, following a recommendation from the transportation commission.
Speaking in a statement, the CMM said that it had become necessary to locate extra funding for transport in the area. The statement said “As current municipal revenues are largely based on property taxes, new sources are needed to cover the rising costs of maintaining and developing public transit systems.”
In response to criticism of the price increase, Laval Mayor Marc Demers down-played the charges. “People want an improvement in public transit and we must find a way to finance this," said Demers. He added “We are talking about $1 a week. We are talking about a tax that aims to alleviate traffic congestion, improve public transit and, of course, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of air."
According to the CMM, as Montreal commits to hiking the registration prices, other cities in Quebec, such as Sherbrooke and Gatineau, are also considering increasing fees to help fund public transit in their communities.
This comes as the Ontario government also proposed raising vehicle fees across the province, at a 2 percent increase over the next five years. The reaction to this increase has been largely negative.