March 27, 2006

Quebec

As part of a new financial partnership with municipalities, Quebec Finance Minister Michel Audet announced a new $1.5-billion allocation over the next three years to maintain and renew transportation infrastructure and equipment. Priority projects will focus on public transit, as part of Quebec's effort to reduce greenhouse gases and promote sustainable development. Examples include: renovating stations and replacing aging cars in Montreal's M├ętro subway system; developing a new commuter train service in northeastern Montreal; and setting up maintenance facilities for Quebec City's capital transport network.

The provincial budget offers a number of incentives to encourage greater use of transit and cleaner energy. Public transit authorities will be allowed a full refund of the fuel tax they pay, and fuel taxes paid on the purchase of biodiesel fuel will be reimbursed.

The government will also refund up to $1,000 of the provincial sales tax paid on the purchase of the most fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles.

As a tax incentive for businesses that defray all or part of the cost of their employees' transit passes, employers who do so will be able to deduct double the amount paid; for employees, this will be a non-taxable benefit.

Audet noted that Quebec's forest sector is one where sustainability and economic development must co-exist harmoniously. To ensure this, his budget provides $925 million in new funding over four years. Specific allocations include a $425-million loan envelop to help forest companies accelerate modernization of their operations and a refundable tax credit for the construction and major repair of forest access roads and bridges.

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