Metro Vancouver's revival of a proposal to slap a levy on shipping containers moving through the region might give cash-strapped homeowners and commuters a break. But the idea of taxing container traffic to pay for roads and transit isn't likely to sit well with industry.
The provincial government is already on record as opposing the idea and businesses say the levy would be an unfair burden.
Still, there is something to be said for the idea touted by former Port Moody city manager Gaetan Royer, who is now a planning manager with Metro Vancouver. Not only would even a small levy generate millions for projects such as the Evergreen Line but the policy could give incentives to dealing in high-value cargo because higher taxes could be directed to empty containers or lower-value commodities. What's more, it would be a disincentive to putting more slow-moving container trucks on the road.
But there is a downside. Most containers are shipped by rail and the import and export business is already hurting from the recession. Maybe in a good year, it would fly.
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