Road tolls, parking fees needed to pay for Sheppard subway, Chong report concludes

Item date: 
February 2, 2012
Item context: 

Although the headline states that tolls and parking fees will help finance Toronto's Sheppard subway extension, TTC chair Karen Stintz says that these mobility pricing measures could be used to fund "across the region.” Although this isn't what Gordon Chong had in mind, Stintz's observation makes sense since tolls and parking should be part of a comprehensive GTA pricing scheme that is overseen by Metrolinx -- not Toronto on its own.

By DAVID RIDER with files from TESS KALINOWSKI

... (A report by Gordon) Chong makes an unabashedly political argument for the superiority of subways over surface light rail transit and suggests a number of “revenue tools” to raise billions of dollars over 50 years to get the Sheppard line built.

The tools, suggested by management consultant KPMG, include tax increment financing, new charges on property developments and the sale of city-owned land and “air rights” above it.

But the tax-averse, car-friendly Ford would also have to embrace a combination of “road pricing” (zone-based tolls, expressway tolls, and vehicle-kilometre-travelled fees); parking pricing (parking sales tax; parking space levy); a special regional sales tax; a special gas tax; a passenger vehicle charge and an employee/payroll tax...

Councillor Josh Matlow predicted Thursday “the Chong report will not be a significant factor in the next steps in Toronto’s transit planning.” Road tolls are worth examining, but Chong’s report as a whole is unrealistic and hinged on “maybe-possiblies,” he said.

“The majority of councillors recognize the mayor does not have a realistic or fiscally responsible plan. We’re going to be moving on a very clear, unambiguous plan” using the provincial funds, he said. “The mayor had a chance to drive the train, through compromise, but it’s passing him by.”...

(TTC chair Karen) Stintz dismissed Chong’s report as “not a plan for a Sheppard subway. It’s a discussion paper on how transit should be funded across the region,” because the revenue tools would be used across the GTA.

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