David Miller: for whom the bell (and road) tolls
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]
One thought on “David Miller: for whom the bell (and road) tolls”
I don’t think the issue of road tolls is a cry of desperation for more money – rather, and as Ms. Thomson’s policy outlines, it’s a way for the city to generate more funds so it can HELP ITSELF fund a public transit city. The city can’t keep going to the feds or the province for more cash – they have much more pressing issues than the long commutes Torontonian’s endure on a day to day basis.
And at the end of the day, every other world city that consider’s itself a mega-city, has some kind of road tolls or driving restrictions (such as the controversial odds-evens license plates scheme) in place.
So why should Toronto be shy on this issue? People want change in the city – but at the same time, change will not come if you don’t look at, or heavens forbid openly discuss controversial issues such as road tolls as complementary sources of revenue for our city’s transit ambitions. Be it subways or not, we need a more reliable transit system in coordination with road tolls, to decrease traffic congestion. The benefits are plenty over the long term if one invests enough time researching existing empirical evidence.
Comments are closed.