Industry leaders applaud approval of Tory’s toll plan

Item date: 
December 19, 2016
Item context: 

Martin Collier was interviewed for this article. For further information, see our December 13 press release.

By ANGELA GISMONDI
 
Now that Toronto Mayor John Tory’s toll plan for the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) has been given the green light by council, members of the construction industry state they are eager to see what comes next, with several in strong support of the idea...
 
Martin Collier, founder of Transport Futures, commended the mayor for taking a leadership role and attaining council support.
 
"That's such an important part of making road pricing happen in Canada, you need that political leadership, knowledge and understanding," he said...
 
A road toll of $2 would raise more than $200 million for the City of Toronto every year, Tory stated when he announced the plan at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in September.
 
That money would be dedicated exclusively to pay for the $33 billion in unfunded infrastructure and transit projects in the city.
 
However, the $2 flat rate Tory has suggested would not ease traffic congestion, Collier claims. He recommends dynamic pricing instead.
 
"It evens out the flow," said Collier.
 
"It's a different price at different times of the day... it depends on the level of congestion. When you start using dynamic pricing, some people will leave sooner, some people will take transit. If we can get some diversion, people will get that reliable trip."
 
He also said the rate should be more comparable to the Highway 407 Electronic Toll Route or a TTC token.
 
"John Tory, the province, are trying to catch up on 20 years of not building multi-modal infrastructure but we've got to start somewhere and this is a way of getting the money to build it," Collier commented.
 
Stakeholders shared the view that money needs to be earmarked specifically for transit and transportation projects.
 
"This money is coming from transportation, it's being paid by drivers and it should go back into the transportation system to make the drive and transit and active transportation easier for people to get around," said Collier. "You will get broader support if it doesn't go into general revenue."...
 
While all the details are not yet known, a staff report on how the tolls will be structured and the technology that will be used is expected next year. A final decision will not be made until next year and it needs approval by the provincial government...
 
If the tolls are approved, they could be phased in starting in 2019 and would be fully implemented by 2024. Collier hopes it will be rolled out sooner and that the provincial government should help make that happen.
 
"We're just saying you've got to move faster than that because a big thing is to get money for infrastructure now," said Collier. "We think 2019 is doable."