Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Montreal introducing car tax based on number of cylinders

Good idea I think:

Resident Montreal motorists can expect to be hit next year with a vehicle tax based on the number of cylinders they have under the hood, and that charge will be capped at an “average maximum” of $50 annually, according to documents tabled at Montreal city hall this week.

From the Gazette. Predictably, a some people are up in arms about this, but one of their objections is interesting:

“It is inequitable and unfair that in 2011 a special $50 tax on (vehicle) registrations be imposed only on residents of the island of Montreal,” Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel said in a communiqué, noting that such a tax ought to be applied to all motorists in the Montreal Metropolitan Community, an affiliation of 82 Montreal-area municipalities extending from Mirabel in the north to Richelieu in the south and including the cities of Longueuil and Laval.

Setting aside the rather obvious point that Montreal doesn't have jurisdiction outside the island, it could be argued too that people on the island have less actual need for cars. The city has excellent public transit, and is reasonably friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

One quibble, though; it would probably make more sense to base the tax on displacement, rather than cylinders per se. If the tax goes through as described above, a GM pickup truck with a 2.9 litre Vortec four will be cheaper to register than a VW with a 2.5 litre five, which seems rather at odds with the intent of the law.

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