The Phantom Tollbooth, part 2

tolls.jpg

At council this evening Toronto’s “bold and honest” Mayor is poised to condone highway robbery (his words) on the DVP.

Back in 2011 I wrote a post about road tolls and how they have played out in the province.

But you can sleep well knowing that this time it will be different and Tory personally will oversee the reserving of these new tolls for transit.

You know, kind of like how the gas tax works.  As a permanent source of federal funding $2 Billion is allocated to municipalities for public transit, highways and local roads and bridges.

But it doesn’t stop there. No gas tax money can also be tapped into for a wide range of uses that outweigh roads and transit, these include:

wastewater infrastructure
drinking water
solid waste management
community energy systems
capacity building
local and regional airports
short-line rail
short-sea shipping
disaster mitigation
broadband and connectivity
brownfield redevelopment
culture
tourism
sport
recreation

What doesn’t fall into this list exactly?

Yes, tax money paid at the pump can be siphoned off you to pay for culture, sport and recreation because it’s way sexier to pay for all these things then make sure you haven’t eroded your source of funding for cobbled together things like “SmartTrack”.

WTF?

Snuck in the bottom of the Toronto Star’s coverage is a reference to this coincides with the recent US election:

With (Donald) Trump’s election, it looks like it could open up more for private financing, and the user-pay concept (is) perhaps gaining more momentum.

This couldn’t come at a better time for Aurora.

Congestion at Yonge & Wellington hasn’t been successfully addressed by 30 years of councils, and the most recent efforts to deny turning at some hours of the day is going to result in sweet fuck all.

If the town seriously wanted Industrial Parkway to work as a bypass why not install tolls on Yonge street.

Can’t be done you say.

Actually, it can.  Aurora operates its stretch of Yonge street, not the Region.  This was the loophole that allowed Mayor La De Dawe to bring forward a motion to traffic calm a stretch of it with ridiculous bump-outs and patios.

If the big picture idea is to keep traffic away from the downtown core then tolls look to be an ideal way of accomplishing this.  You want to take your car into the historic downtown core well then cough up $2 for the privilege of gawking at all the For Lease signs as you drive through.

In one foul swoop Aurora could be rid of both its traffic, and parking problems simply by excluding those who are unwilling, or unable to pay-to-play.

Oh, and what to do with all those sweet, sweet tolls?

They could pay for the silencing of the train whistles in no time.

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