My proposal is very simple and it does involve the gasoline and diesel tax. It amounts to dedicating 15% of the gas and diesel oil tax to a highway funding pool. This pool would be available to the provinces on the condition that they match it dollar for dollar. In this way, it is user pay because the taxes are only paid for by the people who buy gas and diesel oil. It will leave 85% for the Minister of Finance to put in general revenues. It will allow long term planning by the provinces so they can plan five, ten and fifteen years ahead and know they will have funding available.
A tax of 15% on gas and diesel fuel yields about $700 million a year. If that is matched with the provinces' equal contribution, it would come to about $1.4 billion a year to go into highways. Spread over 10 to 12 years, that would restore our highway system, our bridges and our main transportation system to the level it should be as identified by the auditor general.
It would not mean any new taxes. It would provide safe highways. It would make us globally competitive and would certainly address our transportation needs. User pay is politically acceptable. It is a great plan. It is nice and simple. I advocate this as my proposal.
Before I close my remarks, I wish everybody a merry Christmas and a happy new year to the staff, all members of parliament here today and all citizens watching on television.