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By NATALIE ALCOBA
Mayor Rob Ford remains steadfastly opposed to road tolls, but may be open to other revenue tools suggested in a newly penned report on how Toronto can build the Sheppard subway he championed during his election campaign.
Even Dr. Gordon Chong, the author of Toronto Transit: Back on Track, backed away considerably from the politically toxic notion of charging drivers a fee to use roads, telling reporters later in the day it puts a “strain on my heart.”
He says tolls are not necessary to make the numbers work — his report reportedly outlines several other “revenue tools,” including parking taxes or levies, special regional sales tax, a special gas tax and other methods of road pricing. An official in the Mayor’s office confirmed Mr. Ford is still against tolls, but is “willing to have a discussion” about parking taxes, for example.
“The essential message is it’s doable,” Dr. Chong said of the Sheppard subway. “It’s not as expensive as the TTC had estimated.”...
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he was “leery” of parking taxes and tolls. “We’ve got to find the money, whether the province and federal government have to be partners, that could be, and private enterprise certainly could step up and help out, too,” he said...