Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Jeff Gray, The Globe and Mail
December 22, 2008
Just as Toronto’s below-the-radar dialogue over road tolls starts to show signs of moving beyond guaranteed-death-wish status for politicians, a likely recession arrives and threatens to put that progress into reverse.
Tolls, or “road pricing” as the experts call it, will always make politicians itchy. Metrolinx, the province’s Toronto-area transportation planning body, put off bringing up tolls to pay for its $50-billion master plan until 2013, although its board of local politicians now wants to start a “conversation” on the concept and other ideas such as special parking taxes.
But European road-pricing experts at a recent Toronto conference – sponsored by Transport Canada but then disavowed by the minister the next day – suggested some new ways to convince wary citizens of the merits of tackling traffic congestion with a pay-as-you-drive toll plan.