11.24.2016 08:37 AM

If they put a toll on political bullshit, they’d make way more money

So, this:

Toronto Mayor John Tory is set to endorse a controversial introduction of road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway to raise $300 million a year for his cash-starved government, the Star has learned. Tory is expected to make the daring declaration in a luncheon speech shortly after the Thursday release of city staff reports recommending highway tolling, along with other so-called revenue tools including a new tax on hotel stays.

Reminded me of this:


I came up with www.millerhighwayrobbery.ca in 2003, when I was helping out on John Tory’s first mayoral campaign.  He thought it was a great idea, back then.  And, once elected, Miller refused to go ahead with tolls on the DVP or Gardiner.  So I guess we won that debate.

Anyway.  I like John a lot.  And I’m sure he’ll have focus-grouped talking points ready to go on this truly whiplash-inducing flip-flop – circumstances have changed, I’m not afraid to admit when I was wrong, less than a cup of coffee a day, the alternative is the apocalypse, look at me I’m finally being decisive about something, blah blah blah – and I’m sure he’ll have some cyclists who’ll buy it, hook, line and sinker.

So, I’ll leave it to other folks to get really, really pissed off about this (and there’ll be plenty of those folks, believe me).  Me, I will simply say that (a) www.ToryHighwayRobbery.ca plus (b) the fact that SmartTrack is never, ever, ever going to happen may well lead to something else entirely in 2010.

Something like this.


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    Peter says:

    Consumption taxes can sometimes make a lot of sense if there is a public interest in reducing demand. However, the scary phrase “cash-strapped government” suggests enlightened policy-making isn’t the prime motivation here.

    and I’m sure he’ll have some cyclists who’ll buy it, hook, line and sinker.

    No doubt. Maybe the ghost of Ford will visit him in the wee hours, point out there aren’t enough of them and suggest he crack his conservative curmudgeon opposition by taxing cyclists too. That would be sweet to watch.

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      Matt says:

      Put tolls on the bike lanes!

      I’d like to see a politician have the guts to suggest cyclists who use public roads be forced to pass a safety course, get a cyclist licence and register their bicycles.

      Say $20 a year of the licence and $20 a year for the registration.

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    ABB says:

    They have many other revenue options — raising the property tax rates (bringing them closer in line to other GTA municipalities like Mississauga), bring back the car license tax, raise the land transfer surtax, etc. etc. What kind of toll-gathering infrastructure will be needed? What will be the cost for that in support, compliance enforcement, etc? I would generally prefer to see taxes raised through efficient mechanisms that are already in place, or via proven mechanisms already administered by the province, fed, etc. GOOD LUCK MR. MAYOR.

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    jay says:

    I wonder if he’ll get Patrick Brown’s endorsement–after all, toll roads aren’t a social conservative issue.

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      Robert Viera says:

      When Patrick Brown’s uncle, Joe Tascona, was an MPP in the Harris government, he said that the PCs would never sell Highway 407. Shortly thereafter, they leased it to a private consortium for 99 years.

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    Nicole says:

    Mark Towhey has been tweeting that Doug Ford should be thanking Tory for this because it gets him elected as mayor. And unless there is some kind of exception for City of Toronto residents, this will simply enrage those who don’t live in the downtown core and don’t have easy access to a subway line. This will be downtown elites vs “regular folk” all over again.

    Not to mention the downtown streets will be packed by people and trucks trying to avoid the toll. No one is going to be happy in this scenario.

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      Jonathan Giggs says:

      John Tory usually snatches defeat from the jaws of victory before he is elected, not after!

      Not sure this will help if the money is spent on more one-stop subways or the added cost of not tearing down Gardiner East.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      Downtown streets are already clogged to the hilt. Overflowing past capacity already. People will not take 2 hours in traffic to avoid a $2 10-minute ride.

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    Innocent III says:

    I take your point. It’s like he campaigned on a promise to scrap the HST or to avoid wage and price controls.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    People generally, don’t like to share their hard-earned money with the public purse. The guy’s got guts. He’ll need ’em in his next job…

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    Steve T says:

    OK, but flip-flop notwithstanding, what’s the problem with toll roads? They impose a tax on the people who use the service, they disincentivize private car usage (or at a minimum, incentive car-pooling), and they allow funding of worthwhile projects.

    This is my concern with many allegedly “free” things in our society (like healthcare). They aren’t really free, and by not directly associating the expense with the activity, people aren’t properly motivated to make effective use of the service.

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    Matt says:

    Given the province has to OK tolls, Wynne is going to wear some of this too. Certainly won’t help her popularity numbers.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    Hm. Road tolls will probably happen, now that the transportation market is tottering in Toronto. because they can, and are a good and useful device. But that photo of Tory & Ford still remains priceless. He will cringe for the rest of his life whenever he is reminded of it, I bet.

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