David Miller: for whom the bell (and road) tolls

David Miller: for whom the bell (and road) tolls

Lame duck or just lame? (Image: Shaun Merritt) 

With the news that Metrolinx is going ahead with a scaled-down version of Transit City, Mayor David Miller says that what Toronto needs is a broad discussion about how to pay for transit—including tolls for roads.

The National Post reports:

“There’s a municipal election in the fall, there’s a provincial election next year. Why are they trying to put that off? Let’s have the discussion now,” Mr. Miller said yesterday, in his latest attempt to pressure the provincial government to stick to an earlier construction schedule. “Metrolinx has had proposals before the board for at least three years on how to fund transit. I think the province should bring that forward and bring it forward by October at the latest so that we can get the proposals on the table, have the debate and find a solution and build the transit.”

A cynic might say that the time to discuss road tolls seems awfully similar to the time an increasingly desperate Miller has left in office. But this is an idea whose time seems to have come: first Sarah Thomson raised it as part of her platform, then John Tory started banging the drum (and how weird is it that Miller and Tory are now on the same page?)—all of which confirms that the city is so desperate for money that serious thinkers are open to trying anything and everything that will fill the coffers. These proposals still probably aren’t going anywhere: the public seems to be more in the torches-and-pitchforks mood than sober-assessment-of-fiscal-needs.

On the other hand, for those who like watching a good angry mob, a public debate over road tolls could be a lot of fun. So speak up, Miller, Tory, Thomson, and pass the popcorn.

• Time to discuss road tolls: Miller [National Post]