I read a very good article by Royson James of the Toronto Star with his take on how to make the city of Toronto a great city. I agreed with a lot of his points but where he lost me was the renewed suggestion of road tolls in Toronto.
Road tolls are the convenient answer for most politicians now-a-days who are not creative enough to come up with actual solutions to our transit problems.
The TTC runs an annual deficit which is a tough thing to believe when you take in account that it is a service that the public pays for. However the annual fares collected only pay for about 71% of the expenses to run the TTC. The rest of the short fall comes from tax dollars from property taxes, the Toronto land transfer tax and the Toronto license renewal fee (tax).
The major highways are congested in Toronto and I agree that it would be wonderful if Toronto had a transit system in place to allow more riders to ditch the car and ride the TTC but robbing drivers with toll roads is not the answer.
I can agree that nobody likes the idea of road tolls, but my issue is that I don’t believe that tolls should be created on highways and roadways that were previously built with tax payer dollars.
A generation before me paid for the QEW and Gardiner Expressway as well as the DVP and Hwy 427. Imagine having paid a builder to build you the house which you live in, only to have the builder come back to you 20 years later to say that he needs to charge you some more so that he can pay off some other expenses.
When the 407 was built as a toll road, I had no issues.
It was a new highway being built with the intention of toll roads and I as a driver had the choice or either taking the new highway and paying for the privilege to drive on it, with at that time less traffic, or continue to sit with the other people on the 401. To this day I have not driven the 407 unless as an unwilling passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
If they were to create a double decker highway as I have previously suggested, the new section should definitely be tolled to pay for the cost. However the existing route should remain toll free to allow for drivers to have a choice.
When fare hikes are mentioned to help reduce the TTC deficit, people argue that the cost is prohibitive to the riders. This is a not a free service and if riders want more subways and better service, either they have to pay for it through their fares, or non property owners who take the TTC need to be taxed.
There are spending abuses at Toronto city hall at every turn, solve those issues first, then try some creative thinking when it comes to how to improve this city. Road tolls are just another tax instilled on the already exhausted taxpayer.
from your own site.