Car transportation costs continue to rise

Car transportation is costing Quebeckers more and more: a total of $43 billion was spent in 2015, including government spending on the road network and private household spending on their car. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Trajectoire Québec and presented jointly with the David Suzuki Foundation.

This amount, which was $33 billion in 1995 (in constant dollars), would have increased by 32.6% in 20 years.

The study aims to denounce this significant increase in road expenditures, which are still geared towards owning private automobiles rather than public transit.

It stresses, however, that motorists pay most of these costs. In fact, spending by households with a car was $36.9 billion in 2015. This expense item comes in second place, after housing and before food.

Quebec households’ expenditures in this area were 28.8 billion in 1995, an increase of 27.7% in 20 years, caused in particular by the rise in the price of fuel.

Trajectoire Québec aims to promote citizens’ rights in public transportation in Quebec. The David Suzuki Foundation advocates for conservation and environmental protection.

Significant increase in government spending

Public spending on transportation at all three levels of government increased from $ 4 billion in 1995 to $ 6.6 billion in 2015, an increase of 68.9%. The province of Quebec alone spent $ 3 billion on road infrastructure in 2015.

The study says that of these billions paid in 2015, one-third was paid by the amounts paid to the state by motorists, whether it is for example through gasoline taxes, or fees for gasoline. registration or driving license. Another third of the $6.6 billion would have been assumed by freight carriers, while the rest would have been from taxes.

The significant increase in government investment in transportation, which has occurred particularly over the last 10 years, is a result of an awareness of the deterioration of public infrastructure, the report also notes .

While they have allowed for the renovation of existing roads, these expenditures have also been used to expand the road network, something the report authors deplore. This expansion of the road network would have generated average expenditures of $1.15 billion from 2007 to 2013, according to the study, compared to an average of 275 million in the six previous years.

Through its interventions and its financial model, the State encourages the growth of the car fleet and the increase in the number of kilometers traveled, which goes against its efforts to combat climate change.

Extract of the report

The “externalities”

In addition to deploring the significant financial costs generated by the use of the automobile, the study also denounces the non-direct costs associated with it.

In particular, it assesses the “social” costs of automobile transportation – such as accidents, congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise – at $ 7.6 billion in 2015, or close to $ 1,000. per capita, “largely attributable to accidents and congestion for local transportation”.

“In short, by focusing on the road supply, Quebec is inducing an increased demand which causes the increase in system costs,” concludes the document, which suggests rethinking governance in this area and financing the road network. , which should be subordinated to “various direct pricing measures” of motorists.

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