ON: Moving the needle on reduced load periods
A June 25 meeting between CPA members and the ON Ministry of Transportation (MTO) was very successful, with MTO staff being directed to move the needle on developing a harmonized, updated policy on reduced load periods for all sectors and municipalities. They have recognized that the Highway Traffic Act section hasn’t changed since 1975, but the industry has.
Jacco Bos, Budget Propane, Dan Kelly, Dowler-Karn and CPA chair and Marcelline Riddell, director of government relations for Ontario met with MTO staff in St. Catharines. Ian Freeman, director, Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch and Andrew Chase, manager, Carrier Safety Policy Office were present and Team Lead Joe Lynch participated via phone.
In the meeting, Kelly expressed the desire for the propane industry to be exempted while recognizing it is probably not politically palatable for the government and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), particularly as it relates to the cost of infrastructure degradation. Bos suggested implementing alternative per axle load weights of 6,700 kg/axle during reduced load periods to provide a workable and manageable restriction. Both Bos and Kelly provided context around current business challenges and the spotty nature of enforcement.
MTO staff thanked the CPA for providing data and confirmed they are working towards effecting changes in time for the next reduced load period. They will continue to work on the file with plans to consult more broadly with industry associations including CPA, AMO, and ON Federation of Agriculture as well as other impacted stakeholders. A common theme was the lack of data on impact of the existing policy and how changes could improve, or at least not further erode, infrastructure. Currently, they are briefing their third minister in a year on the portfolio. They have suggested CPA follows up at the end of summer if the Association has not heard from them. In the meantime, discussions with stakeholders and AMO will continue to ensure proper solutions are proposed and supported.