April 25, 2012
Mayor Rob Ford’s City Hall will be debating road tolls and a sales tax whether he wants to or not.
Councillor Josh Matlow said Wednesday he will be asking city councillors to consider either road tolls or a regional sales tax as a way to build subways and improve transit in Toronto and across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
“Essentially, rather than just say ‘Let’s build subways’ let’s propose a real way to fund them along with regional transit,” Matlow said.
Last fall, council turned down even studying the road toll idea but Matlow is trying again. His initial motion, if approved by council, would ask the city to study both road tolls and a sales tax and work with neighbouring municipalities to hash out a plan.
Councillor James Pasternak said he believes there is support on council to have staff study road tolls.
Pasternak said Matlow contacted him and vowed to push the road tolls issue.
“He will be the standard-bearer for this item,” Pasternak said.
Pasternak wants staff to study road tolls for non-Toronto residents.
“It is my position that Torontonians are already paying their fair share,” he said.
While he said he’s still undecided on road tolls themselves, Pasternak said he doesn’t believe they would discourage people from using their car and they would help build a better transit system.
“It’s a small price to pay,” he said.
TTC chair Karen Stintz doubted councillors would be ready to talk about road tolls.
“Under the City of Toronto Act that is not an authority we have,” Stintz said.
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he doesn’t think the City of Toronto or the GTA is ready for road tolls.
“Today, no, I don’t think it would be supported,” he said.
But De Baeremaeker said the city does need a “valid adult conversation” about how to pay for transit.
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