Careful on carbon tax: Metro Van

Regional government report says levy supports shift to transportation alternatives

Metro Vancouver politicians want the province to take another 90 days planning the future of B.C.’s four-year-old carbon tax and not rush to reject further increases or axe the tax altogether.

“We don’t want to go backwards on the carbon tax,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said.

The board is also reminding Victoria that it already supports the carbon tax.

A Metro report says the carbon tax helps minimize the region’s contribution to climate change and supports a shift to transportation alternatives by making single-occupancy vehicle travel more expensive.

But Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin, vice-chair of Metro’s environment committee, doesn’t support further carbon tax hikes.

“We’re getting taxed to death here on gas,” she said.  “Leave it where it’s at and go from there.

“Is it doing any good? We don’t know. To keep increasing it doesn’t make any sense in my mind, given the gas taxes we pay to TransLink.”

B.C. is the only jurisdiction in North America that puts a price on carbon emissions through a carbon tax, which has been steadily raised since 2008.

On July 1 it climbed to $30 per tonne of greenhouse gases emitted, or 7.2 cents per litre of gasoline and $1.50 per gigajoule of natural gas.

The province’s review is gathering public input on the tax ahead of the government’s 2013 budget deliberations.

Options under consideration are whether the tax should go up further, be frozen or cut – and whether any further increases should go to initiatives like transit expansion rather than tax relief.

The carbon tax raises $300 million a year in Metro Vancouver.