for whom should the roads toll?

By Frank Touby –

It’s sad that Mayor David Miller has not only imploded as a politician, but also had his hopes dashed of leaving that legacy he (and we) sacrificed so much to create.
The province has said it’s “delaying” billions of dollars pledged to help complete Miller’s Transit City scheme.

Focused on his dream of dedicated streetcar lines to nearly everywhere, Miller substantially abandoned the basics that are needed to keep the city livable. The boring everyday infrastructure that we depend upon continues to erode. Things like the ancient underground plumbing, street cleaning, putting up toll booths on entrances to the city, enough buses (electric or not) etc., were given short shrift while his war on the automobile included such convoluted notions as spending $1 billion (in real terms) to demolish the vital Downtown stretch of the Gardiner Expressway. Many innovative ideas have been presented to make that elevated roadway a spectacular creation. Such as a green roof, facilities and buildings beneath it, etc.

Many people will always want to drive for various necessary reasons (in increasingly “green” cars). It wasn’t  mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson who first came up with the tollgate solution to our finances, though she garnered her Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame with the proposal. Many before her have promoted that idea and for a lot less than the unworkable $5 a shot during rush hour that Thomson proposed. At the right price, 24-hour-a-day tolls should discourage drivers from seeking non-tolled routes into the city and produce significant revenues we need.

It might even be that it makes more sense to collect a toll on trips out of the city…or perhaps both ways.
Toronto is heavily used by individuals who live in other municipalities and who pay nothing for stressing our infrastructure.
It’s right that they contribute to save Torontonians the unfair full burden of the city’s costs.